Queenstown really is the heart of New Zealand, the pulse lies somewhere between the dramatic landscape, the glistening Lake Wakatipu and the sense of adventure that is forever presenting itself. We went right to the core of this electric town to uncover everything it had to offer...
Where to stay
Deep in the untouched landscapes of the South Island, resting upon the emotive Lake Wakatipu is a sanctuary so welcoming, you might just never want to leave. Matakauri Lodge is a perfect union of twelve luxurious guest rooms and suites, settled amid the native Toi Toi’s and wild flora. The retreat is located a blissful ten minutes from the Queenstown-township, a distance worth lusting-over during the high season.
Nestled in the heart of Queenstown, is The Spire Hotel, offering a place where genuine hospitality and modern style uniquely combine. The Spire is located just moments from Queenstown’s vibrant cultural scene; and steps from incredible restaurants and four season lake and mountain adventures. The Spire is ideal for a romantic getaway, or for those seeking a rejuvenating and soulful experience.
What to do
Skip your morning coffee, and get an adrenaline hit like no other. Shotover Jet is a speedboat that operates in the dramatic Shotover River. The jet holds exclusive rights to operate within the remarkable canyons, which were carved out over the ages by a vast volume of fast-flowing water. The very grandeur of this spectacular environment, so close to the bustling Queenstown, adds to the exhilaration and uniqueness of the experience.
Lighthouse Horse Riding
Just 45 minutes from Queenstown, at the head of Lake Wakatipu lies Glenorchy, a gateway to some of New Zealand's most sacred World Heritage Areas. Glenorchy is where the Oscar winning Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed, a place renowned for its untouched and dramatic scenery. And it is here, where you will find the humble Lighthouse Stables. Lighthouse Stables have over 60 horses of various breeds, a wealth of riding experience and some of the most spectacular riding tracks at their doorstep. Saddle up for an incredible adventure, no matter your level of riding experience.
Where to dine
Your New Zealand experience will not be complete until you spend a night at the Matakauri restaurant. Allow executive chef, Dale Gartland and his team to curate you a truly spectacular degustation. Feel right at home with a glass of champagne and a selection of hors d’oeuvres by the crackling fire, all while your table is being prepared. Gartland ensures a delicate selection of seasonal, and organically sourced produce, where possible, grown on site. The wine selection is predominately curated from local Central Otago wine; I recommend the Pinot Noir, something, which the region is renowned for.
Eichardt’s Bar has always been a local favourite, having been open since 1867. There is a genuine atmosphere, history and ambience unlike anywhere else in Queenstown. Take a seat by the cosy fireplace; in front of one of the moody Lake Wakatipu while you are greeted with gracious service and timeless cocktails. The menu is selection of relaxed tapas and humble favourites. (The Eichardt's seafood chowder comes highly recommended.)