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404km (250 miles) SW of Franz Josef; 263km (163 miles) SW of Mount Cook; 117km (73 miles) S of Wanaka; 172km (107 miles) NE of Te Anau

Queenstown has over 1 million visitors a year and you don't have to be a genius to figure out why. We've all heard the endless hype about it being the adventure capital of the world, and there are certainly enough crazy activities here to challenge the strongest, but Queenstown offers much more. Don't be put off by comments that it's touristy, un-Kiwi, crowded, and overrated. Sure, the streets are dominated by booking offices, but Queenstown has excellent shopping, restaurants, cafes, and clubs as well. And in many adrenalin-seeking ways, it encapsulates much of what New Zealand is about.

Famed for its international winter ski profile, Queenstown is also a brilliant spring, summer, and fall destination. This is when you get the best of its scenic beauty, easy walks, and endless opportunities to relax. Thrill seeking may be touted as the major attraction, but you can just as easily go fishing, golfing, gold panning, wine tasting, or boating. One thing is certain: You won't run out of things to do.

It seems as though the whole world suddenly wants to live in Queenstown, and the town has experienced a phenomenal growth in development in the last 10 years. The inner commercial area has several new retail, office, and restaurant complexes, with more under construction. Residential expansion is also obvious, although the current worldwide economic recession has stalled a number of major developments, including the new town of Five Mile, which was being developed near the airport at Frankton.