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Adventure Vacation Guide 2012: Queenstown, New Zealand
Just as I mentioned in the Adventure Vacation Guide to Chamonix, France, what separates an adventure destination from an adventure capital is the ability to get an adrenaline rush for all 365 days of the year. Although Queenstown may be closer to the South Pole than the Equator, it doesn't mean that there aren't adventure activities perfectly suited for every season of the year.
Also, as an added bonus, under the country's traveler-friendly Adventure Compensation Corporation program (ACC), many travelers to New Zealand are actually covered for any medical costs they may incur while inside of the country. Seriously. I'm not making this up. You hurt yourself, you're covered. End of story.
So now that you know that you're covered in the extremely unlikely event of an accident, what sort of adventures can you sniff out in Queenstown? How about throwing yourself off the Kawarau bridge at the AJ Hackett bungy center, the original bungy operation in New Zealand? Or maybe take a jet boat ride through canyons which are way too narrow at speeds which are way too fast?
Extreme sports aside, Queenstown is also within striking distance of Fiordland, the protected and mountainous region which is home to such treks as the Milford Track and the Routeborn Track, a trail which was recently chosen as one of the top ten treks in the world by Lonely Planet.
In the winter months, The Remarkables ski area stoically lurks on the craggy peaks that form the backdrop to the town, the Southern Alps providing some of the best skiing opportunities in the Southern Hemisphere. Lastly, with the New Zealand dollar currently holding steady at $.75 to the US dollar, it's also a somewhat a cheap way to get your thrills in 2012.
[flickr image via Or Hiltch]