Wandering Tale - Queenstown, New Zealand
Top 10 Tips for a quick get away to Queenstown.
If you’re looking for a bit more than your average weekend get away then listen up because this post is for you. A few months ago I decided to book a spur of the moment trip to Queenstown, New Zealand. I jumped online bought my ticket and took off the following weekend. I only had 4 days there but it was the perfect little get away and we managed to pack in so much with the little time we had.
So here’s my top 10 tips if you too are looking for a short but adventure filled get away.
TIP 1: Book a flight that lands in Queenstown during the day, as the view from the plane when you come into land is just breathtaking. I took about 100 photos just on the flight!
TIP 2: Spend sometime in the village of Queenstown itself. Walk through the shops, sit down by the waterside and have a go at Ultimate Frizbee in the Queenstown Gardens. It’s a beautiful town and everyone is lovely. It’s also a good way to research what you want to do over the next few days, as there are SO many tourist/info centres around.
TIP 3: Go to a beautiful little place called Arrowtown. This small village is only a 20minute drive out of Queenstown and has a real country town vibe to it. Complete with cute shops, cafes and of course the Sweets Shop that has every flavour of fudge imaginable that you can also taste test for free. Winner.
TIP 4: Hire a car. Not only does it make getting around easier but also all of the roads in Queenstown are absolutely stunning and pretty much straight out of a "road trip" travel search on Pinterest. So you’ll want to be able to control how often you can stop, to make the most of photo opportunities. If you do hire a car then a drive along the Crown-Range Road is a MUST. Even when it's foggy it's stunning.
TIP 5: If you’re not an adrenaline seeker and don’t feel like throwing yourself off a bridge or out of a plane, then I highly recommend going on one of the jet boats. There are quite a few different ones to choose from but they are all fairly similar and give you a nice little thrill without fearing for your life. It’s also a nice way to see the views from a different perspective. We did our jet boat ride along the Kawarau River in Otago, which is also the site of the Gold Fields Mining Center. After the boat ride you can have a wonder around the grounds here and learn all about New Zealand’s early history.
TIP 6: While you are in the Central Otago region why not check out some of the beautiful wineries and restaurants. This area is pretty special as it is the southernmost wine-growing region in the world. There are over 200 wineries within a 90-minute drive from Queenstown so you’d be silly not to stop at at least one!
TIP 7: Wanaka is a MUST. I could’ve spent weeks here, there was just so much to see and do. The drive to Lake Wanaka is just over an hour from Queenstown and is well worth the journey with stunning scenery the entire way there. Once you arrive you are greeted with a beautiful lakeside town full of locals that are there to help you make the most of your trip. There are a number of activities you can do here; kayaking, mountain bike riding, hiking, scenic flights and so much more. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time here. One thing I wish we had saved time for was the Mt.Cook walk, check it out online. Looks pretty challenging but well worth it with that view!
TIP 8: About an hours drive out of Wanaka along the main highway you will find the small village of Makarora and it’s incredible Blue Pools Walk. This easy 30 minute walk takes you through the lush rainforest, along a swing bridge and leads you to the mouth of the Blue River. The water here is just insanely clear, I could’ve stared at it all day. its colour will be stamped in my mind forever. A definite stop if you’re in the Mount Aspiring National Park region.
TIP 9: Glenorchy, this beautiful place is only a 45 minute drive from Queenstown although to be honest it took me almost an hour and half due to me stopping every 5 minutes to take photos of the scenery along the way. It is such a lovely drive and the views are awe-inspiring. The small town is nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu and is home to the infamous little red Glenorchy hut. They call this place the “Gateway to Paradise” which seems like just a nice saying but it literally is. If you drive another 20km out of Glenorchy you will end up in Paradise. This whole area is breathtakingly beautiful and has been used as the backdrop for The Lord of The Rings Trilogy and also featured in the Narnia movies, so be sure to take your camera with you as there are plenty of photo ops on this trip.
TIP 10: Last but not least. I couldn’t not mention this one, as every person who has ever been to Queenstown will tell you “You have to get a Fergburger!” Coming from foodie central Melbourne I was quite skeptical at how amazing this burger joint could really be but from the minute I saw the line (which went for about 100 meters down the road) I knew it must be something special! Sure enough the wait was well worth it. I had the Chief Wiggum which boasts slow roasted New Zealand Pork belly, lettuce, tomato, red onion, hash brown with aioli and a delicious apricot seeded mustard to top it off. Yes it was as good as it sounds and sorry I ate it before I even got a photo. My tip though is to call ahead and order your burger over the phone to save time in the line.
So there you have it. They're my top 10 tips for a short get away to Queenstown. Hope this has inspired you to book your next adventure!