12 Ways Queenstown Stole My Heart

I know smaller cities and lesser known destinations are all the rage these days, and I’m all for “secret spots” and “hidden treasures.” Who isn’t? There’s something so thrilling about exploring untouched territory or taking the road less traveled. Butttt, there’s a reason the popular cities are so well-known. Something had to make them so incredible in the first place, right? Queenstown, while maybe not on the same level as a Paris or a  London, is definitely one of the most famous destinations in New Zealand. This of course makes it touristy, but for good reason. It is one of the top 10 most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and there is an insane amount of things to do…and eat. Just walking around the city I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face, and it was one of those cities I was ready to pick up and move to immediately. We even added on a few extra days because we just couldn’t bare to leave. And, yes, I’m still trying to figure out a way to live there. Sydney was another city I felt this way about. Queenstown stole my heart in a matter of minutes really, but I just kept falling deeper. From the attractions and views to the hikes and food/drinks, these were a few of my favorite things…

  1. Skyline Gondola & Lugequeenstownqueenstown

    • Whoever came up with the whole Skyline Gondola, Luge, Restaurant, etc… is a millionaire. It is extremely touristy, but the complex on top of the city is an amazing way to spend a day. You have to take the gondola to get to the top, and once you’re up there, you can chairlift to luge, eat at the restaurant with the best view, drink, do hikes, stargazing, you name it. It’s like another miniature city up there, and the views from the top are indescribable. And if you think you’re too old for the luge, think again. They say once is never enough, I say even two or three times is never enough. Learn more here!
  2. Lake Wakatipu          queenstown

    queenstown

    Last light on the Remarkables

    • A city by a lake is good enough for me, but add a mountain range (they’re called the Remarkables for a reason) and you’ve got yourself perfection. The color of the water is wildly blue, and the walking paths around the lake are just too good.
  3. Nightlife

    • Remember how The Chronicles of Narnia actually filmed in New Zealand? I talk about it here. Well, the nightlife scene in Queenstown felt like I had stepped through a closet into a magical land. And that’s not just the booze talking. Queenstown has an incredibly hip downtown, and there are a lot of little streets to peruse, heavily concentrated with shops, restaurants, and of course, bars. It seemed like we walked through this one alleyway and discovered the jackpot. There were a bunch of bars that seemed to be slightly hidden (granted we were new to town, but still), and they were awesome.
      1. Cowboys – great music, saddles for bar stools, and awesome music videos playing on all of the screens. Atmosphere is everything.
      2. Winnie’s – more of a dance club feel, but with good music and a great dance floor, what else could you expect?
      3. The Find – The World Bar burned down 🙁 but this is its pop up replacement. It wasn’t too busy when we went, but they still serve drinks in teapots, just like Alice in Wellington.
      4. Pub on Wharf – a relaxed bar with live music, and the perfect place to start off an evening out.
      5. Pog Mahones Irish Pub – complete with live music and an outdoor patio right on the lakefront.
      6. And more! Queenstown has no shortage of great bars, restaurants, and live music.
  4. Fergburger

    • Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of the Ferg. Giant burgers, a line out the door, and even a bakery/ice cream shop next door, Mrs. Ferg. I’d recommend getting a milkshake to wash the burger down. It’s open late, which is the best time to indulge, and if you’re still not convinced, they have a burger named Bun Laden.
  5. The Cow                      queenstown

    • I still dream of this little Italian restaurant. It’s a bit hidden on Cow Lane, and the entrance door is anything but ordinary. Brick walls, a roaring fire, and dim lights make this place extra cozy, especially during winter. Their bolognese is to die for, as is the homemade garlic bread.
  6. The Bunker

    • If this were a save vs. splurge situation, The Bunker would be a splurge, but oh so worth it (for drinks anyways). Located right next to The Cow, you have to walk up an understated staircase to get to the bar, but at the top is an outdoor patio, heaters included, a projector screen that was playing a James Bond movie the night we were there, and the coziest little bar inside. Couches and lounge chairs outlined the fireplace, and while the drinks are expensive, the atmosphere makes it worth your while. I could’ve sipped on red wine for hours by that fire.
  7. Vudu Café                  liebster

    • If you read my Liebster Award Nomination post, you know that this place served up one of my favorite meals of all time. And that’s saying a lot. You would probably also know that we ate there about 3 times over the course of a few days because of that. This cafe is so wonderful, and there are actually two of them in Queenstown. While one of them is located right on the lakefront, my favorite is the one on Beach Street. It has a fireplace inside and even an outdoor courtyard with heaters. Can you tell I like fireplaces yet? They have so many delicious options, but the breakfast quesadilla is where it’s at.
  8. Hikes                                                  queenstown

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    A snowy day on the Routeburn Track

    queenstown

    World’s most scenic toilet? I think yes.

    queenstown

    • Like everywhere in New Zealand, there are plenty of hikes to do in and around Queenstown. There are a couple at the top of the Skyline Gondola and Luge, or just walking around the lake makes for a nice stroll. My personal favorite? A day hike on the Routeburn Track, one of the “Great Walks.”
  9. Road to Glenorchy

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    “Gateway to Paradise”

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    • Speaking of the hikes, getting to the Routeburn Track is half the fun. It begins about a half hour outside of Glenorchy, and the road to Glenorchy is one hour of winding beauty along the mountainside with Lake Wakatipu teasing you the whole way.
  10. THE WINERY

    Queenstown

    Words to live by.

    • This little gem is situated right in the town center and is filled with tons of New Zealand wines. The best part is that it’s a self serve winery. Just grab a card, choose your wines, and pay at the end. You can pick whether you want just a taste, half a glass, or a full glass, and all the prices are listed right on the sheet in front of the wines. It’s such a unique experience, and the leather chairs and sides of cheeseboards make it that much better.
  11. Gibbston Valley Wineriesqueenstown

    queenstown

    Chard Farm

    • While you can taste most of these wines in one spot at The Winery, it’s always fun to road trip around and see the vineyards up close and personal. There are plenty of wineries nearby, but my favorite was Chard Farm. If you thought other roads were scary in New Zealand, this takes the cake. Gravel. Deadly dropoffs.No guard rails. But the cutest winery awaits you at the end. Peregrine is another great one that’s easy on the eyes. Pick up a Wine Map from the Winery or the Info Center right in town, and have fun exploring. It’s pretty hard to get lost when there are so few roads!
  12. Did I mention the views?queenstown

    • Queenstown is a perfect 10, from the lake to the Remarkables, the amazing restaurants and bars, and all the adventure that this city has to offer, you’ll fall in love and want to move within just a short few minutes of meeting Queenstown.

 

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What do you love about Queenstown? What are your favorite things to do? Eat? See?

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5 comments on “12 Ways Queenstown Stole My Heart

  1. Just to let you know that wen we click on the icon Instagram, we can’t access the page. It says “Sorry this page isn’t available”. Could you please let us know what is your Instragram page please?

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