Insider Tips to Queenstown

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Aug 09, 2016

Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown in New Zealand has everything you need for an adventure holiday. Here, Kieran Gardiner from The Spire Hotel, lists the ultimate must-dos for anyone visiting this hot destination.

Sip cocktails by the lake

When my friends are in town, I take them for a drink at The Sundeck rooftop lounge bar. It has stunning views across the lake, amazing cocktails and a vibrant atmosphere. I always order an Old Man – a modern take on the classic Old Fashioned. 

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Trip to Queenstown

Order from a legendary menu

The restaurant that best shows off Queenstown is Eichardt’s Bar, a Queenstown icon and local favourite. Its seafood chowder is legendary.

Hang out with the locals

A place that’s really popular with locals is The World Bar, which serves grass-fed beef burgers and a selection of New Zealand wines and craft beers. It usually has live music, too, which is a plus. The place is always packed.

Chill out, après-ski

If you want to relax with a drink after a day on the ski fields, head to No5 Church Lane. With cocktails, Champagne and great local and international wine lists, it’s one of the best bars in Queenstown. 

Refuel with a gourmet breakfast

My favourite breakfast place is The Chop Shop Food Merchants in Arrowtown. It’s a real hidden gem, boasting some of the best food and service in New Zealand. My personal favourite is the Turkish eggs.

Get your caffeine fix

For the best coffee, I go to Halo Forbidden Bite. Hidden away on the edge of Queenstown, it serves fantastic coffee and great food with fast complimentary wi-fi.

Souvenir local handicrafts

If you want a market experience, don’t miss… the Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts Market on Saturdays at Earnslaw Park. Local crafts include greenstone-and bone-carving, wood-turning and photography. It’s the best place in town to pick up souvenirs.

Save the (rainy) day

If it’s raining, make your way to Dorothy Browns, a boutique cinema in Arrowtown. It has two screens and shows local and mainstream films. You can sit on a sofa with a cheese board and local wines.

Buy original artworks

If you’re after a cultural experience, visit Artbay Gallery, housed in an elegant historic cottage on the lakefront. It sells works by some of our finest landscape artists, as well as contemporary fine art and sculpture.

Do an unforgettable daytrip

The best daytrip out of Queenstown is a wine tour of the Central Otago region. Whether you’re a wine fanatic or not, there’s something for everyone near the Gibbston Valley. My favourite wineries are Chard Farm, Peregrine and Waitiri Creek. Also, New Zealand is famous for its stunning natural beauty. A great way to experience it is to head south to Milford Sound or north to the glaciers by helicopter.

Find and keep a secret

Queenstown’s best-kept secret is Blue Door in Arrowtown. There’s live music on Wednesdays. The ambience is ideal on a cold winter’s night – it’s a closely guarded local secret for a reason!

SEE ALSO: Things to do in Queenstown