A hop, skip and a jump from Australia and only a measly 2 hour flight from Auckland, Queenstown is an escape destination like no other.
With a plethora of options to choose from, the hardest part of travelling to Queenstown is deciding what to do when you arrive. Receiving the best of all the seasons means that you can do almost any activity you could think of, from bungy jumping, to jet boating and helicopter rides there is a real sense of adrenaline surrounding the town. Alternatively, you can also just soak up the views, sip some fine wine, dine out until your heart is content and relax. The choice is yours.
Covering off everything on offer; with a pinch of adventure, a drop of wine (or two) and the much-needed ingredient of relaxation, this is our insider’s guide to 48 hours in the iconic resort town.
Most flights will get you into town around dinner time. After settling in, hit the streets, soak up the atmosphere and delve into the famous local cuisine. The iconic Fergburger is ideal for a cheeky feed or if you want to spoil yourself then make a booking at Rata Dining and try the Cloudy Bay Storm Clams!
Starting the day early, take advantage of your hotel breakfast, ideal for starting the day right with plenty of energy. Then hire a bike from Around the basin – Bike Queenstown, they have guided and self guided tours of the mountain trails and beyond, but for your quick Queenstown escape you can’t go past the winery tour. This unique little adventure will take you on a scenic bus tour to the quaint gold mining village of Arrowtown, this is where you disembark and then ride along the riverside until it’s time to visit the local wineries, bars, restaurants and breweries in the area for tasting sessions.
Once finished the team at Around The Basin will pick up you and all your new flavours of wine, beer and cheese that you collected along the way and take you back to Queenstown. Be sure to check out the local Pinot Noir’s, the area is known for them around the world and quite often you can taste really high-end Pinots at the cellar door tasting sessions for next to nothing!
Once back at your hotel, if it’s in the warmer months you will be able to go check out the amazing sunset over the mountains, if it’s winter then find a fireplace and get cozy while you wait for dinner time. Blue Kanu is hard to turn down for the finer end of the budget, offering a collision of Asian and Polynesian flavours that will make your taste buds melt. And for a $25 pint and plate deal you can’t go wrong with Big Fig, offering slow-cooked meals, homemade desserts and local charm.
Now, at this point of the weekend you might be tempted to taste the nightlife of Queenstown and who can blame you! If you are lucky enough to be in town when the rugby is on, it’s almost an essential part of your trip to soak up the atmosphere at any pub in town when the All Blacks perform the Haka, and fingers crossed a win. Otherwise, be sensible and get an early night’s sleep for the next day’s adventure. We will leave this one up to you!
Load up on breaky at the hotel then head out for a morning of ‘offroading! Offroad Adventures Queenstown have plenty of options for quad biking and 4wd buggies to explore the mountain area. If that’s not your style then heading out for a relaxing cruise on the TSS Earnslaw might be your thing. Be sure to take them up on their lunch options at one of the stops and enjoy the incredible local cuisine barbecued to perfection at a table with an unbeatable view! Or perhaps you might want something between these two levels of adrenaline, and if that’s the case take a short walk from town and check out the Skyline Gondola and Luge, they will make you smile from ear to ear as you zoom down luge tracks before catching the chairlift to do it all again—once is never enough! The views from the top are spectacular and it will only take an hour out of your day.
And if you have a bit of time before your flight leaves get your chill on at the Onsen Hot Pools. These private, spring-fed hot pools are located high on a cliff with retractable windows so you can take in some seriously breathtaking views.
If you are in town on a Saturday try the Creative Queenstown Arts & Crafts Market to enjoy the waterfront setting of Earnslaw Park or if you are visiting in the warmer months explore The Remarkables Market, a foodies heaven!
So as you can see Queenstown truly is one versatile holiday hub with world-class wine, endless opportunities and incredible cuisine. How would you spend your time?