Recently our Lifestyle team traveled to the magestic South Island of New Zealand to Queenstown, one of our most favourite destinations in the world. Renowned for stylish digs, sublime local fare and the kind of scenery that made the country a movie star, New Zealand’s South Island also boasts a cast of highly affordable luxury lodging, activities and dining experiences.
Queenstown is surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu. The natural beauty and unique energy of the region creates the perfect backdrop for a holiday full of adventure, exploration or relaxation. The region is world-famous for its fun and adventure, known to be the birthplace of many iconic activities including snowsports, bungy jumping, shotover and jetboating. Other activities guaranteed to get your blood pumping include white water rafting, ziplining, 4×4 off-roading, paragliding, hiking, biking trails and skydiving.
If a more passive is approach is what you have in mind, there are daily boat cruises, premium cellar doors for wine tasting or completely indulge in some relaxation at one of Queenstown spa and wellness centres. This is a destination that offers travelers something all year round, no longer should it only be considered as a winter retreat. Our Lifestyle team have prepared our favourite places to eat, sleep, relax or do!
Air New Zealand, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia operate daily flights to Queenstown or connecting flights can be made from Christchurch within NZ.
Accommodation in Queenstown, New Zealand, caters to every taste and accommodation need; whether your travelling with friends, as a couple or as a family the hospitality is always warm and welcoming.
A Touch of Spice has vast private collection of hand-picked luxury accommodation that includes some of New Zealand’s finest residences. We have an exclusive package available for our members for the Ariki Apartment from a Touch of Spice for Winter. Package includes:
* A five night stay for up to six people at one of their premium city centre properties; Ariki Apartment
* 4WD car rental which includes GPS, snow chains and a ski rack
* Complimentary in-house ski fitting for convenience when renting equipment
* Complimentary bottle of Central Otago wine
* Heat and serve meal waiting on arrival
* All bathroom amenities, linen and towels
* The Touch of Spice concierge services with value add recommendations; spa upgrades; early dine discounts; complimentary drink or 2 for 1 offers
Package price: $7,250 (saving over $900) – only $245 per person, per day, based on six people
The Rees Hotel Queenstown
Showcasing breathtaking panoramic lake and alpine views, The Rees Hotel Queenstown is a sophisticated five star hotel situated right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, just a gentle walk to Queenstown’s town centre. The Rees Hotel offers a variety of spacious and luxurious accommodation options including 60 hotel rooms and 90 apartments all with private balconies overlooking the spectacular views across Lake Wakatipu to the Remarkable Mountain range. When you wake up in the morning and open your blinds to this breathtaking view, you will pinch yourself.
The hotel features include a fine dining restaurant with an award winning chef, an extensive wine cellar, library, courtesy shuttle to/from Queenstown town centre, free high speed Wi-Fi, gymnasium, undercover parking and private wharf. The Rees Hotel epitomises southern hospitality at its finest.
Hotel St Mortiz Queenstown – MGallery Collection by Sofitel
Idyllically situated in the heart of Queenstown and with wonderful views overlooking Lake Wakatipu to The Remarkables mountain range, Hotel St Moritz embodies the spirit of its location. Blending understated luxury with warmth, Hotel St Moritz offers a choice of rooms and suites, each beautifully appointed to cleverly blend timeless classics with modern essentials.
The hotel is just an 11-minute walk from the Skyline Gondola and 17 km from Coronet Peak ski area. The warm, modern rooms offer Wi-Fi (fee) and flat-screens, as well as minifridges, microwaves, and tea and coffeemakers. Some have balconies and/or lake views, while suites include kitchenettes, washer/dryers and living rooms. There’s an elegant lake-view restaurant and a bar with regular live music, in addition to a chic lounge area with a stone fireplace. After a long day of skiing and adventure there is a sauna and outdoor hot tubs.
Eichardt’s Private Hotel
Many hotels claim to be a home away from home but Eichardt’s absolutely nails it with its hallways decorated with antique chest of drawers, chairs clad in tattered fabric and giant wall clocks – a brilliant touch from interior designer Virginia Fisher. This is as boutique as it gets: there are only five suites – so few that the doors don’t bear any numbers. Each one is spacious, however, and features a living room with a gas fireplace, a super-king-sized bed with possum-fur throw and a large white-marble bathroom with two deep sinks and premium Natural Earth amenities.
Not all suites have balconies but all guests have access to The Parlour, a tastefully designed lounge with a balcony and complimentary brandy, whisky and sherry. It’s the perfect perch to take in the Queenstown buzz: tourists posing for pictures, adventurists on speedboats and – on a clear day – the sky-blue lake and towering mountains, with just the right amount of cottony clouds descending upon their peaks.
Located on Marine Parade is Queenstown’s most prized real-estate strip, right on Lake Wakatipu.
Suites – Eichardt’s premiere luxury accommodation offering featuring expansive views over Lake Wakatipu and surrounding mountain ranges. These opulent suites invite guests to soak up a sense of quiet before exploring one of the world’s truly remarkable locations.
Lakefront Apartments – Eichardt’s Lakefront Apartments offer guests flexible and luxurious accommodation, each with stunning lake and mountain views. The interior design has been carefully created by world renowned New Zealand designer Virginia Fisher.
The Residence – The property boasts a gorgeous European kitchen, complete with Nespresso machine and everything you can imagine to create culinary delights, or if you wish to relax we can organise a chef to cook you a private dinner.
As you walk into this hotel’s lobby with its grand spiral staircase and piano, you feel a sense of calm that belies its location – right behind Queenstown’s busiest thoroughfare, Shotover Street.
There are other eye-catching flourishes, too – impressive artworks on the wall, for instance, or gleaming chandeliers that hang off its high ceilings. But the real draw is in the hotel’s Prestige suites. Perfect for long stays and families, these are apartment-sized abodes that each feature a fully equipped kitchen, marble bathroom with a spa and Hermès toiletries, and a balcony offering city, lake and mountain views.
There’s an on-site spa, too, recently relaunched as a den of serious indulgence. Relax your muscles in the hammam-style steam room before submitting to the LeSpa Deep Relax Ritual – 150 minutes of full-body exfoliation, massage and facial. This 5-star hotel in central Queenstown is close to an array of exciting activities for local and international tourists alike.
Located a short drive from Queenstown, you will find the stunning Matakauri Lodge. The luxe lodge and its eleven (11) luxurious rooms was designed by Virginia Fisher. The self-contained Owner’s Cottage with four bedrooms and balconies has majestic views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. A
The Main Lodge offers numerous spaces with stylish lounges and roaring open fires, their Remarkables Patio, Library and courtyard; all spaces to lose yourself and relax. Other special facilities include: The Spa located on the edge of a beautiful pine forest, with uninterrupted views to Lake Wakatipu and Cecil Peak, Fitness Centre and sauna, Luxurious outdoor infinity pool and jacuzzi.
With a mountain backdrop, this sprawling, upscale resort is just 3 km from downtown Arrowtown. Milbrook is just 20 km from the Coronet Peak Ski Area, 20 minuets from Queenstown and 15 minuets from the airport, all easily accessed with their complimentary shuffle service and airport transfers
Offering garden or golf course views, the polished rooms come with sitting areas, balconies or patios and flat-screen TVs, as well as minibars and free Wi-Fi. Suites add fireplaces and living rooms, and most have kitchens. Rustic-chic cottages are also offered.
The resort has 4 restaurants, including fine dining in a historic mill house. There are indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, plus a fitness centre, a refined spa, 36 holes of golf, and event facilities.
Azur Lodge Hotel
Located on a steep hillside two miles west of Queenstown is the luxury boutique hotel Azur Lodge featuring nine contemporary private villas all with stunning, uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables range and Cecil and Walter Peaks, Azur lodge is know for privacy. The lodges nine villas were designed to let you absorb the incredible views in chic luxury, each with its own private deck and lounge area, gas fire place, LCD television andDVD/CD stereo system. The Azur bathrooms include dual vanities, rain forest shower heads and spa tubs positioned in the window to be enjoyed either indoor or outdoor. The super king beds are dressed with the finest 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets milled in Germany, pillows and duvets filled with pure goose down.
Azur Lodge is the place to relax in front of one of three fireplaces, enjoy quite time with a book from the library and a coffee or wine in the afternoon. Refreshments are served throughout the afternoon and evening cocktails are the time to enjoy a drink with your partner or to meet other guests in the Hotel.
Places to eat – Breakfast
Nestled into the hills with views of the Remarkables, you’ll find one of Queestown’s best cafés Bespoke Kitchen. Owners Rae Ellis, Michelle Freeman and Chris Bile are well known in the cafe scene in Queenstown, with the success of Vudu Cafe and Vudu Cafe and Larder, both also in Queenstown. Open daily from 8 am.
The Chop Shop Food Merchants in Arrowtown – offers breakfast, lunch and brunch 7 days a week. Positioned in a back alley, the café is a little secret for locals and those luckily in the know. The Chop Shop Food Merchants has a menu of great food, healthy options and a warm atmosphere all set in a quirky contemporary décor.
Coffee -Joe’s Garage
Tucked away in Searle Lane in the heart of town, Joe’s Garage serves superb coffee from 7am every day. Catering for every kind of caffeine fix, from flat whites to Americanos. Extremely popular with locals, Joe’s Garage is the perfect spot for holidaying families as it has ample seating, a kids’ menu and a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere.
Places to Eat & Drink – Lunch / Dinner / Cocktails
Casual lunch- Fergburger
For a quintessential Queenstown experience, join the queue and grab a famous Ferburger. When its your time to order, it’s hard to go past the original Fergburger, although the Bombay Chicken burger is just as tempting. With the Fergburger Bakery located right next turn, fresh buns are in abundance for hungry diners. With limited seating, it’s best to pick up your order and then grab a secluded spot, a short walk away, down by Lake Wakatipu. A hot tip is to order online and skip the queues.
Dinner and drinks – Little Blackwood
Located in the Steamer Wharf by the water at Lake Wakatipu, Little Blackwood is a cosy spot for a relaxed, casual dinner and drinks. Order an artisan cheese and meat board or divvy up a number of delectable share plates. On a chilly Queenstown evening, sit by the fireplace; or, if the sun is still shining, find a spot on the deck and enjoy live music on selected evenings.
No5 Church Lane is iconic with the locals for its world-class cocktail list and outstanding locally-sourced Mediterranean style cuisine – a bar with a difference. Whether a local or visiting, No5 will tentalize your taste buds with delicious selection of cocktails, fine champagnes, local and international wines and some of the tastiest dishes in Queenstown; including their versatile mezze style plates perfectly portioned for sharing.
One to add to your dining list in Queenstown is treasured favourite, Botswana Butchery located in a beautiful Archers Cottage right on Lake Wakatipu foreshore. This well established gem oozes class and comfort. You can chose to sit downstairs and take in the breathtaking view of the lake or dine upstairs in one of the private dining rooms.
To compliment the innovative menu with a strong emphasis on fine cut beef is an extensive wine list showcasing an array of New Zealand’s best.
Internationally recognised Michelin starred chef Josh Emett’s and local restauranteur Fleur Caulton’s Rata is a modern dining room and bar is discreetly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown. Rātā is an absolute highlight on the Queenstown dining scene and one that takes inspiration from the southern landscape and everything that epitomizes New Zealand. Passionate about creating a restaurant that encompasses that hard to find ‘real’ restaurant experience, Rātā is a relaxed eating-house with a neighbourhood feel, great service and delicious food. Rātā is a great place to unwind, with several dining spaces including a sunny courtyard and a bar perfect for all day eating.
Lunch, dinner and bar grazing is served at Rātā. The menu showcases Josh’s impeccable cooking skills. Queenstown’s cooler climate lends itself to Josh’s love of slow cooked dishes and robust flavours, the discipline of his Michelin star background ensures elegant well balanced and inspired cuisine.
True South Dining Room at The Rees Hotel is an award-winning elegant dining experience. Executive Chef and rising culinary star, Ben Batterbury, has cultivated a strong following with this culinary mastery. “There is no better place to sample the excellent local produce than The Rees Hotel True South Dining Room.” – Valli Little, Delicious Magazine
True South’s pride in their region is expressed with a menu of dishes based mainly on local produce from Central Otago, allowing them to support local suppliers , buy the freshest of seasonal produce for an outstanding menu. The calibre of Ben’s skill has seen him win excellence awards from Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Ora King Salmon.
Sasso is set in a historic stone-clad cottage, an apt setting for Sal Grant’s fine Italian cuisine. After a long day of skiing or taking in the sites of Queenstown, you will have worked up an appetite to enjoy authentic Italian pizza, a hearty venison osso buco r a 5 course menu. “Sasso believe that cooking Italian cuisine is a craft and we serve our food with passion”.
Known as the best steakhouse in Queenstown, Jervois Steak House’s meats are the star attraction, the outpost of Simon Gault’s Auckland meat emporium. The menu is sourced from the very best beef and lamb producers. The quality beef is carefully selected from the highest pedigree and defined by breed and feed. So you will find dishes like the Signature Prime Rib, selected from the finest 150-day grain fed Black Angus that has been dry aged then patiently roasted in their special oven. Or the Jervois cut eye fillet on the bone, farmed on the West Coast, which gives this animal an unmatched tenderness and flavour that can only come from cattle fed on New Zealand’s magnificent grasslands. For the more adventurous carnivore, the steak tartare is a classic, executed to perfection, as is the Caesar salad with its Lolin anchovy and 55 minute egg. The one accompaniment that in our view is mandatory, is the legendary onion rings that can adorn any of the menu choices. Quality cocktails and an expansive wine list add to the upmarket casual vibe.
Madam Woo is a spacious, brightly lit restaurant with an electric energy and Malaysian-style hawker fare on the menu. Fluffy roti canai is accompanied by sweet and sticky pulled pork – but instead of being served side by side, the pork is lumped over the roti – perfect for the kids to roll up and devour. Make sure you try at least one dish from the menu’s Leong’s Family Favourites section – a selection of chef Jane Leong’s mother’s recipes. A favourite is the fall-apart beef rendang – slow cooked and served with nasi lemak. Must try dishes from our dining include; pulled sticky pork hawker roll, shredded duck and cabbage salad and Madam redangs beef curry – absolute crowd pleaser dishes.
At the end of Cow Lane, is The Bunker a former ski garage that has an extremely inviting atmosphere; all dark wood, dim lights, low ceilings and roaring fires – perfect for a date night. In the kitchen, head chef Vincent Good has mastered the art of hearty winter fare. His hare two ways – seared and done as a ragout with kumara and port wine jus is comfort food at its best. So, too, is the Fiordland venison with sautéed green beans, almonds and black berries. As hidden away as this place might be, don’t take your chances – it’s best to book ahead at the 20-seater restaurant.
Wine Tasting and Dining
The Gibbston Valley, also known as the ‘Valley of the Vines’, is one of the most scenic wine growing areas in the region. The high altitude is subject to cold winters, hot dry summers and a huge night-to-day temperature range, conditions ideal for producing pinot noir; chardonnay, pinot gris, riesling and sauvignon blanc.
Amisfield Winery & Bistro
Amisfield is a specialist producer of premium Central Otago Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Methode Traditionelle. Their award winning Bistro offers a daily changing a la carte menu and the “Trust the Chef” signature menu with dishes selected by their chef based on fresh produce and ingredients available on the day. Their menu is an expression of local seasonal ingredients elegantly prepared, and an outstanding compliment to their wines.
Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like taking the plunge from a plane and it would be hard to find a more picturesque place to do so than Queenstown. NZone Skydive offers 9000-foot, 12,000-foot and, for the ultimate daredevil, 15,000-foot tandem jumps over the Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu.
Just a 10-minute drive north of Queenstown, the Shotover Jet ride is a must do. Speeding down the Shotover River, marvel at the surroundings of the Shotover Canyons, with its unblemished water and staggering rock walls. Each Jet boats carries a maximum of 14 passengers and depart every 15 minutes so it’s an easy fit into your itinerary.
For the quintessential Queenstown experience, bungee-jump off “The Ledge”. Allow 10 minutes for the Gondola cable car near the centre of town to take you to your departure point 400 metres above ground – then let the real fun begin. AJ Hackett Bungy will have you dive, twist, flip or jump off The Ledge, ensuring an unforgettable experience. During the Winter months, AJ Hackett now offer night jumps.
Helicopter to the top
If height pushes your buttons, embark on a helicopter ride from Queenstown. For those short on time, book The Remarkables flight which is a 20 minute flight soaring 1538 metres above Queenstown, with the opportunity to land in snow in winter. If time is no object, then book the Milford Sound flight for a 90 minutes of nothing short of amazing flying over sights in Fiordland National Park, including Milford Sound and Mitre Peak.
Relatively new on the Queenstown action sports scene, Flyboard Queenstown really is something else. You strap your feet onto the flyboard., also known as rocket boots and, with the power of a jet ski connected via a 13-metre hose to the flyboard, you have the power to fly on Lake Wakatipu. Choose between the Hero Flight – 20 minutes or the Super Hero Flight – 35 minutes. Flyboard Queenstown operates from November 1 to April 30.
Coronet peak is a 25 minutes drive from Queenstown and operates from 13 June – 4 October.
The Remarkables is a 45 minute drive from Queenstown and operates from 13 June – 27 September.
Cardrona is a 60 minute drive from Queenstown and operates from 13 June – 11 October.
Treble Cone is a 90 minute drive from Queestown and operates from 13 June – 27 September.
Both Coronet Peak – 20 mins from Queenstown & The Remarkables – 35 mins from Queenstown are part of The Mountain Collective for regular skiers.
Spa and Wellness
Sofitel Spa – So Spa is an oasis, located centrally in Sofitel Queenstown. Enter an oasis of calm where body, mind and spirit merge. So Spa – voted the World’s Best Hotel Spa by Travel + Leisure magazine. So Spa’s highlight is their emphasis on balance and rejuvenation, utilising exclusive French and New Zealand product ranges.
Milbrook Spa – The luxurious spa at the Millbrook Resort has been named the best of the best, taking out the coveted title of ‘New Zealand’s Leading Spa Resort’ at the World Travel Awards. From the moment you enter the welcome area you will automatically relax. Located in an idyllic position, the quiet and spacious treatment rooms, post treatment relaxation rooms and superb outdoor relaxation areas provide a peaceful environment to relax and be pampered.
The Millbrook Spa has been voted in the Top Ten Hotel Spas in the World by luxury lifestyle website gayot.com and recommended by Conde Naste Traveller magazine.
Spend a lazy morning or afternoon exploring the treasures of the historic gold mining town, Arrowtown. Located just a 20 minute drive north of Queenstown. Built on the banks of the Arrow River, once a rich source of gold in the 1860’s, it is now a sophisticated, multi-cultural town catering to the tastes of locals and visitors from around the globe.
Enjoy time exploring the streets and lanes lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, galleries and pick up some sweet treats from The Remarkables Sweet Shop enjoy the time exploring the streets and lanes.
Arrowtown is also recognised as the walking and biking centre of the Wakatipu and the many walking trails and cycle tracks of the area either start or finish in the town.
There are six golf courses in Queenstown, all within a 25 minute drive, with a course for every golfer. Whether it’s the lush immaculately groomed greens of a resort course or a simple fairway with rugged mountain peaks as a backdrop.
Courses include; Queenstown Golf Club, The Hills Golf Club, Arrowtown Golf Club, Queenstown Golf Club and two smaller clubs – Kingston Golf Club and Frankton Golf Club.
Jacks Point – Surrounded by mountain ranges and the backdrop of The Remarkables, Jacks Point is one of the most spectacular golf course in the world and welcome to golfers of all levels, and plays long off the back tees at over 7,200 yards.
Working with nature, not against it. The course weaves through tussock grasslands, dramatic rock outcrops, steep bluffs and native bush. Travelling time is 15 minutes from Queenstown.
Millbrook Resort Golf Course
Located at Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown, the course is set in a natural alpine amphitheatre against the backdrop of the Remarkables Mountain Range.
This award winning golf course was also voted Best Golf Hotel in New Zealand at the inaugural World Golf Awards 2014 – it’s a must for your bucket list. Designed by renowned professional and master golfer Sir Bob Charles, and renovated by Greg Turner in October 2010 with the addition of the Coronet Nine, Millbrook offers a 27-hole course brilliantly conceived and shaped from the rugged mountain landscape. Travelling time is 20 minutes from Queenstown.
Packing List for your trip to Queenstown in Winter:
- Snowgear – waterproof jacket, hiking pants
- Puffy vest and or jacket
- Jeans – at least two pairs of thick denim jeans
- Warm socks or cashmere socks
- Knitwear – pack the warmest knitwear and wooly jumpers
- Layers – long sleeve tops, cashmere sweaters, light pullovers to build warm layers
- Scarves – coloured or patterned scarves to change your look and perfect for layering
- Gloves – with waterproof outer lining and warm wooly or cashmere gloves
- Essentials – cold and flu tablets, tissues, sunglasses, sunscreen and a good moisturiser for your face and hands and balm for your lips
- Clean out the fridge
- Make a simple meal and pop in the freezer for your return – or have your lifestyle manager organise a food delivery for your first night back home
- Change all your bedding so you come home to a fresh bed
- Put the lights on timers so they are always coming on
- Have someone collect your mail & put out your rubbish bin each week
- Cancel the papers
- Have a friend call in every couple of days to check on the house
- Put all your plants together so it’s easy to water or put near your sprinklers
- Leave your dryer and washing machine doors open
- Let neighbours know you will be away and give them a contact number of a family member or friend should there be any issues while you are away
- Turn off all power points that aren’t needed
Remember your lifestyle manager is always there to help with any of the above if you don’t wish to impose on family or friends.