Globetrotting, freelance journalist Tash Bazika waxes antipodean on this quick guide to Queenstown, New Zealand
When I was living in Sydney, Queenstown was just a hop and skip across the Tasman Sea, which made it a perfect weekend getaway destination. However, with a never-ending list of things to do, eat and see, it can be tricky to know where to start.
After finally making the trip there, I’ve come up with a 2-day roadmap to navigate the best of the city. Enjoy!
Day 1: Adventure, views and good food
Kia Ora (hello in Māori) is the first word you will hear stepping off the plane. From then on, it’s all adventure, views and good food.
Speaking of food, your first stop should be Bespoke Kitchen. Nestled on a hill, less than five minutes’ walk from central Queenstown with views of the bay, this humble café focuses on health and nutritious food.
After munching on something healthy, head up – and I mean UP – to the sky for a birds-eye view of Queenstown. The Skyline terminal is near the café, and with limited time, this is a quick way to experience the city’s best views.
If you are looking for an adventure, Queenstown is the home of bungee jumping, all began by AJ Hackett‘s company. Since its birth, however, many different companies and experiences have sprung up the likes of Kawarau Bridge Bungy. They also offer a bungy bus to get you to and from the site.
Other adrenaline-inducing activities include giant swings, catapults and zip rides from the bridge down through the valley and over a stunning river.
In the evening, unwind at the Below Zero Ice Bar, made entirely from 20 tonnes of crystal clear hand-sculpted ice. This is a really cool experience if you have ever wanted to take a shot from a shot glass made of ice!
Day 2: Volcanic pools, hiking paths and iconic eats
Take advantage of Queenstown’s spectacular views from a hot tub. Onsen Hot Pools is an amazing and relaxing experience only 14 minutes from the city center via complimentary shuttle. Sit in a cedar wood tub perched on a high cliff and offering those amazing views I was talking about before. This is a definite must, so you can go home feeling refreshed and relaxed (with Instagram photos all your friends will envy!).
Head back to town for lunch at Fergburger. This iconic spot is popular among visitors and locals for its cheap and filling meals. Although sometimes the lines are short, most of the time they are quite long, but that is why they offer online ordering to help you save time!
Work off the burger in the afternoon and hit the trails to discover Queenstown’s mountains, waterfalls, and peaks. Popular routes include Milford Sound, Lake Wakatipu, and the Routeburn Track.
In winter, peak skiing is a fun experience – or, jump in a hired car and drive to Glenorchy, known as one of the most beautiful drives in the south island. The 1-hour drive will take you to Lake Wakatipu, also known as “beating heart” for the water rising and falling 12 inches every 27 minutes.
You can either grab something for dinner on the way back or spend a nice night at The Cow Restaurant, which is famous for its pizzas.
Say sayonara to wonderful Queenstown, it’s time to go back home!