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"Switzerland" Of New Zealand Offers Plenty Of Breath-Taking Mountain Views

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TWC News: "Switzerland" Of New Zealand Offers Plenty Of Breath-Taking Mountain Views
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You don't have to be a thrill-seeker to enjoy a trip to Queenstown, New Zealand, the self-proclaimed "adventure capital of the world." NY1's Valarie D'Elia filed the following report. We'll show you the city's softer side, up next in our Travel Report.

Queenstown on the south island of New Zealand bills itself as the "adventure capital of the world." But visitors don't need to pull a muscle in search of a softer side, with activities that can be a good fit for families with kids of all ages.

Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown can be considered the "Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere," surrounded by the aptly named Remarkables mountain range.

One of the best ways to take in the truly remarkable alpine scenery is onboard the 100-year-old TSS Earnslaw, the last in a long line of coal burning steamers. Watch as stokers feed the engines during the 90-minute cruise.

Queenstown is just a 20-minute drive to the gold mining village of Arrowtown, where visitors can try their hand at panning for gold, just for kicks.

Rental car operators, don't accidentally detour onto Skipper's Road, because the hairy drive is too high-risk. It's best to hook up with an outfitter who knows the twists and turns.

"It’s 20 miles long. The spectacular bit's about 10 miles long," says David Gatward Ferguson of Nomad Safaris. "It took the builders about 10 years to actually complete the whole thing, having to cut it into the hillside many hundreds of feet above the valley floor."

Queenstown is also a convenient base for New Zealand's most popular tourist attraction, Milford Sound.

As a guest of New Zealand tourism, I took a scenic flight, landing at what ranks as one of the world's most beautiful airports.

Cruises regularly take passengers through the magnificent fjord carved by glaciers.

"It's just sheer cliffs, it's deep, it's narrow and the mountains are so high. It's so close to the sea, it's straight up," says nature guide Blair Carruthers.

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