The Southern Lakes area covers the regions around the great lakes of Wanaka, Queenstown, Lake Hawea and many smaller ones.
Nestled between the mountainous peaks of the Southern Alps the Southern Lakes area actually falls under the county of Otago but is usually referred to separately because of the size of Otago and the shear diversity of the region. Queenstown and Wanaka are the premium tourist resorts of New Zealand attracting many international visitors every year. The boast a huge variety of international standard places to eat, drink and party any night away plus accommodation options to match any budget.
Queenstown in particular is promoted as the adventure capital of New Zealand (if not the world), the famous home of Bungy Jumping, jet boating and such other adrenalin activities as canyon-swinging, arcing, and white water sledding. For those not that way inclined the Southern Lakes region boasts the world-renowned Gibbston Valley region famous for it's rich Pinot Noir wines as well as a large number of international quality golf courses.
There are heaps of classic mountain bike trails, rides for beginners or families, mountainous rides for experts and two developing Great Rides - the Around the Mountain Trail which makes it's way into Southland and The Queenstown Trail which takes in the wine region of Gibbston Valley and the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown.