Stephen Linnell discovers there’s more to Queenstown, New Zealand than ski-ing and bungy jumping.
It is known as the epicentre of adrenalin-fuelled activities. And for good reason.
But if you’re like me and jumping out of a plane or from a perfectly good ledge into a rocky abyss is not your thing, then there’s still no shortage of amazing and interesting things to do in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Irresistible. Wondrous. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the views in and around Queenstown.
Built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu – an 80 kilometre stretch of crystal clear water – Queenstown’s scenic beauty rivals any location around the world.
Perhaps the best spot to take it all in is from Bob’s Peak, 450 metres above the township. From there, the ski fields of Coronet Peak extend to your north, while the iconic Remarkables mountain range fills your senses to the east.
To the southwest, Cecil and Walter Peaks rise almost in unison to give you a truly remarkable vista – one that you never tire of absorbing.
We took the gondola ride up Bob’s Peak, then zip-lined through the trees back down the mountain – an experience in itself.
The three-hour, six-line tour was the best and most exhilarating and fun way to return to the base of the mountain.
The Ziptrek Ecotour offers a two-hour, four-line starter tour, or the three-hour, six line tour. We found that to be the best, most exhilarating and fun way to return to the base of the mountain.
The longest line is 300 metres (they save the best until last), descending 30 storeys at speeds of up to 70 kilometres an hour
New Zealand’s Central Otago region is known for its distinct Pinot Noirs and white varietals. With so many tours to choose from, I started with lunch at Wild Earth, in the Kawarau Gorge, about a 40-minute drive from Queenstown.
Lunch was a serving of five dishes including salmon, chicken and pork – which was specifically created to match their range of wines. And it did not disappoint. The food was cooked beautifully in an old French wine barrel transformed into an outdoor barbecue.
From there, we travelled back to the Gibbston Valley Winery, home to New Zealand’s largest wine cave, and enjoyed some local cheese tasting.
The five-hour tour was certainly a highlight of the trip. Informative, delicious, addictive.
We found the dining experience in Queenstown almost as good as the surrounding views.
The Coyote Grill Mexican restaurant in Shotover St had the best churros dessert. With a side of vanilla ice cream, the churros were covered in a lemon and tequila sauce.
The Tanoshi Teppan and Sake Bar off Cow Lane quickly became a favourite. Order the grilled scallops with wasabi mayo.
If you’re really hungry, the Flame Bar & Grill along the waterfront on Beach Street will appease any appetite, particularly if you like pork ribs in a delicious sauce.
And for something more cultural, try the Blue Kanu, a “Polynasia” restaurant that blends Pacific and Asian style cultures and food. The ambience, décor and food make it memorable.
And of course, there is the Fergburger. Located in Shotover Street, it’s not hard to find. Just look for the long line of people outside crowding the footpath. Our 25-minute wait was worth it, though.
You just can’t go past a Fergburger in Queenstown.