11-01-2017 09:04 PM - edited 11-01-2017 09:06 PM
On past trips to Queenstown, I explored the four main ski resorts —Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona, and Treble Cone. However, this year I found myself in unfamiliar territory, being 5 months pregnant and unable to ski. Baffled by the question of what on earth I could do there, I gathered tips from locals, friends and colleagues on how to enjoy QTown without setting foot on the snow. After hiring a car at the airport, I explored these 10 incredible destinations.
On my first trip to Queenstown I stumbled across Joe’s Garage, tucked in a laneway off the main drag. It looked quiet and humble on the outside, but when I opened the door, it was a hive of activity. It has been operating for 20 years for three good reasons — great coffee, delicious meals, and super-friendly staff!
The idea is to trust the chef to serve three or five dishes you’ll enjoy, and add matching wines. Being pregnant, I was a dubious about trusting anyone to serve up anything I could enjoy, but every single dish was incredibly delicious. I won’t spoil the surprise of what you may be served, but have no doubt you will leave as blown away and button-popping full as I was.
I enjoyed the tastiest mocktail to date (although the wine list looked incredible) and we shared a delicious beef Wellington for our main course. It’s worth visiting just for the big cheese table that gets wheeled over for a spot of dessert! Book ahead as it’s popular, for a very good reason.
The trip from Queenstown to the lakeside town of Glenorchy is one of the most picturesque drives you can take — no wonder many scenes from Lord of the Rings were filmed here! Pack a picnic lunch or choose from a limited selection of local cafes, then wander down to the wharf and marvel at the crystal-clear water surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Take an easy 10-minute drive from Queenstown and spend an hour in a thermal spa for just $40, with arguably one of the best views in the world. You could honestly spend a whole day here unwinding and relaxing, as there are other services such as massages.
To burn off all the incredible food you’ve been enjoying, hike for 45 minutes to the Basket of Dreams. Beware that the start is VERY steep, but it evens out after about 10 mins to a slow, steady climb to the top. At the peak, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular 360-degree view of Queenstown, including the lake and surrounding mountains.
You can’t go to Queenstown without a morning trip to Arrowtown — a picturesque little town about 20 minutes away. Look for the old Chinese Settlement houses at the end of the street, enjoy a pie at the pub, and do a spot of window shopping at a variety of stores selling local produce, souvenirs and of course, the classic lolly shop.
If you do the spectacular one-hour drive over to Wanaka, stop off at the Cardrona Pub on the way. Once there, enjoy a whole town full of outdoor activities between a lake and mountains. Hire a bike and cycle ‘round the lake, walk up Mt. Iron before breaky (or Roy’s Peak for a day’s adventure), and for the brave — take on Wildwire Wanaka, a vertical climb up three waterfalls.
When it’s cold outside, a ramen is sometimes the only thing that will heat you up from the inside out. Over four days in Queenstown, we went to Tanoshi three times, and ordered the same pork ramen each time. Yes, it was that good.
You’ll already know to grab a burger at Fergberger, but if you tiptoe next door to the bakery, you’ll be rewarded with the most incredible baked goods — and just one door up, gelato too. We bought a basket full of bakery goods for our trip to Glenorchy and picnicked on the wharf. Heavenly!
Do you have any more (non-snow related) tips for Queenstown? I’d love to know what other snow-less adventures await!