Last year in November, I joined my boyfriend and his family on their trip to the South Island of New Zealand. It was my second trip to New Zealand and one I was looking forward to because my first time was for work on the North Island – Auckland and Wellington in particular – which is apparently not as pretty as the South.
I could tell how beautiful it might be as we flew through the Remarkables Range to land at Queenstown Airport. I had to stop myself from taking photos of the beautiful mountainous views when we stepped off the plane onto the tarmac.
Everywhere in Queenstown seemed to have picture postcard views of rolling green hills or deep blue lakes set against snow-capped, jagged edged mountains.
The town itself was very touristy and felt more like a ski resort nestled in the mountains. The population appeared to be fairly young and transient with lots of travellers working in the hospitality and retail industries. In fact, I think we encountered only one local New Zealander working in a shop during our whole stay. I was told by a local that the population changed depending on the activity for the season with summer attracting mountain bike riders and the winter attracting snow boarders and skiiers for example.
We stayed at a beautiful little part of the world called the Millbrook Resort where the boys played golf and my boyfriend’s mum and I enjoyed a spa treatment.
We also stayed a few nights at the trendy and chic Queenstown Boutique Hotel which had canapés and drinks in the evening.
We enjoyed so many beautiful meals during this trip (and I am thankful to my boyfriend’s mum for researching, organizing and booking them all!). Highlights included spicy curries at Saffron in Arrowtown…
pretty desserts at Kobe Cuisine…
a local produce board from the Postmaster Cafe in Arrowtown…
and breakfast at Bespoke Kitchen in Queenstown where I tried – and LOVED – my first ever chia pudding…
Other delicious meals included fine dining at the Millhouse Restaurant and slow cooked meats with duck fat potatoes and vegetables at the Botswana Butchery.
We also tried lots of delicious fudge from the Remarkables Lolly Shop in Arrowtown.
My boyfriend’s mum and I walked into Arrowtown – a historic gold mining town – through a peaceful forest with a lovely babbling brook. On the way, we stumbled upon a Chinese garden with a historical display of the early Chinese settlement in the area. Nearby was a gorgeous little gift shop/cafe serving all kinds of dishes from toasties to dumplings.
In Arrowtown we wandered around the boutiques and bought gifts for our friends and family, ate lunch and caught the resort shuttle bus back to our resort.
Queenstown Gondola Ride:
The ride was fast enough although a little scary, but the views were totally worth it. At the peak we took lots of photos on the cold and windy deck, warmed ourselves up with hot teas and coffees at the cafe inside before heading back down.
I love buying pieces that are different to those you can find back home. I went a little crazy at Glassons – which is in Australia but doesn’t have the same pieces – and bought two classic items from a NZ brand called ‘Storm’. The boys bought clothes from a trendy menswear store called Barkers.
Our flight was delayed both in, and out, of Queenstown by Qantas – about 1 hour on the way there and 6 hours on the way home. I think it was the weather conditions – but either way, expect some delays and consider yourself lucky if you get there on time.
In New Zealand itself, we hired cars which made it easier to get to places around Queenstown.
Have you been to Queenstown? What did you do?