Known for: Snow sports
New Zealand history
As a born and bred kiwi, I feel very blessed to live in such a beautiful corner of the globe. Throughout my teenage years, my friends and I would go on road trips all over the North Island. It wasn’t until I was talking to my friend Jake from the UK who raved about the South, that I realised despite being so close, it was somewhere I was yet to explore.
A couple of emails later, I was on a Queenstown bound plane with nothing but hand luggage and an intrepid disposition.
@oliviaroundtown: Wanderlust reengaged • thermals packed • adventure awaiting // Hello Queenstown! (And hello Anton Oliver who was at Jucy rentals 🙊) ✈️
Queenstown waterfront // wearing: hospice blue turtleneck | Topshop (slightly too short but insanely comfortable) skinny jeans | thrifted leather boots | North Face puffer jacket | M.A.C red lipstick
Mum and I ready for adventure! WHERE TO EAT
Whenever I go somewhere new, I do a quick Instagram search for rad places to eat. This time I used
Zomato to find the best local eateries so I could give you some recommendations.
1. VUDU CAFE & LARDER
VUDU CAFE & LARDER. The food at Vudu is absolutely incredible to say the least. The Larder is the second of three cafes ( Vudu Cafe and the newly established Bespoke Kitchen). Their success is recognised by the high turn over of loyal customers and delicious, fresh food. We tried the Grilled Halloumi and poached eggs on a butternut rosti w tomato jam & greens (epic and 100% deserving of the dish’s social media praise). My mum ordered the Aoraki Smoked Salmon with poached eggs, agria and cabbage bubble & squeak, horseradish and watercress creme fraise (light, yet filling and cooked to perfection). Another day we tried the granola and porridge which were also yummy // vudu.co.nz
They also have a fantastic selection of fresh, tasty cabinet food available and the nicest staff you’ll ever meet. They were incredibly helpful, took the time to chat even when busy, and were knowledgable about the food. Warm, welcoming service always makes a venue stand out. It’s the icing on the cake that will encourage you to return to a restaurant in my opinion!
Delicious assortment of cakes – they are even supplied to Auckland, they are that good!
Girls from Wellington enjoying their brunch // Another thing I love about Vudu is how they attract customers from all over. All the locals we know say it’s their favourite and have dined there for years – and all the tourists cotton on to this little gem too!
Me enjoying my excellent Allpress coffee and the Coronet Cleanse juice was a winner too (especially if you’re a fan of green juice). Here’s my Zomato review.
2. THE FAMOUS FERGBURGER
FERGBURGER. Cheap, quick and generous – a must visit! Here’s mum excited to eat her beer battered fish burger, Onion rings & chips (after 24hrs with little to no food on our roadie).
Travellers tip: Phone Fergburger in advance to jump the queue
3. AMISFIELD WINERY
AMISFIELD WINERY. For the entree we had toasted sourdough, main was leek and potato soup and dessert was a chocolate fondant, tamarillo ice-cream and assorted profiteroles. Very filling and tasty. Not the friendliest service, but worth going for the experience. Follow me on Zomato for full reviews and more photographs. WHAT TO DO
1. Zip lining //
6 LINE KEA TOUR
I signed up for an adrenaline filled 3 hours with Ziptrek Ecotours one afternoon, and it was one of my favourite experiences from the week. Admittedly, I was nervous at first going up in the gondola to the top of the peak where we would sail down over 30 stories at near enough to 70kmph (eek!), until I saw there were two young boys in our group. Once giving myself the “harden up” talking, instructor Rhys helped me into my harness while Dan gave an in depth safety briefing // ziptrek.co.nz
The locally sourced Macrocarpa tree house // Conservation talk // Eco signs at each station
There were six stations, or treehouses as I like to call them. Rhys and Dan would alternate roles of giving an environment conservation talk while the other whizzed along to the next base. I loved this part of the tour because not only does it educate tourists about our beautiful native forests, but they also provide valuable information about sustainability and protecting the land to ensure we get to enjoy it for years to come. They also cracked some pretty great jokes too.
Each line was different, which kept the tour interesting and exciting. The first was a nice easy trial run to get the hang of launching yourself off a platform and into the abyss of mother nature. The other jumps I named to give you a hint without giving too much away. They included: “trust fall”, “upside-down swing”, “the scream”, “the view” and after a 15 minute walk through the beautiful beech forrest was the “sheer drop”.
One of the young boys in my group got stuck in the middle of the longest line (to his excitement) because he wasn’t heavy enough. Hero Rhys came to the rescue and calmly ferried a rope out to him and hauled the boy back in (who was quite enjoying the view). I was really impressed with how professional the instructors were. The ziplines are gravity fed, so your speed is determined by body weight.
The company itself is totally eco friendly too. The staff uniforms are made in NZ using organic cotton, and even the Eftpos machine is solar powered! Overall the tour was spectacular – with breathtaking arial views over Queenstown, and the free feeling of flying through the trees, I would 100% recommend.
Youth $135* || Senior $135* || Adult $185*
*Price does not include the gondola ticket
Travel tip: Don your thermals! The higher up you go, the colder the air gets.
2. Take a roadtrip to Milford Sound
See for yourself the vistas where postcard photographs are taken. © Olivia Round Photography
Pick up a super economical car from Jucy Rentals (I was so impressed by how fuel efficient they are), take a packed lunch and some good music and head north-west for 4 hours. The drive itself is picturesque // jucy.co.nz
Travel tip: There are no shops in Milford. Stock up in Te Anau if you need anything. Also watch out for Kea birds. The seemingly cute creatures will tear your rental car to shreds if you let them. Watch this.
Taking a Jucy Cruise is the best was to see the sounds. It took 1.5 hours and the great skipper, Chris who was a Manapouri resident filling in for the usual guy, gave a fantastic historical commentary which was both interesting and humorous. I went to chat to him halfway through the trip because he was so interesting and knowledgeable, and he had a great view of the tourists with their selfie sticks. He also drove right up to the base of a couple of waterfalls and it was hilarious to watch the shrieks of the tourists down below who didn’t believe he’d do it!
This was one waterfall
Chris the skipper and excellent guide
3. Visit Arrowtown
@oliviaroundtown: Winter wonderland • Arrowtown is quite frankly the cutest town you will ever come across, especially when dusted with light powdery icing sugar ❄️ #oliviaroundtown
Traditionally known for gold mining during the gold rush period, Arrowtown is so small and quirky, just like a little British town. The lakes became really icy while we were there and everything looked so beautiful.
4. Take a dip in
Onsen hot pools
Coming from humble Wellington roots, my first thought was what a rip off the entry of $40 was, but I guess it is a pretty spectacular one-off experience. Sit in hot pools and roll up a garage door to a panoramic view of snow-capped mountains. How cool is NZ? Note: don’t be afraid to ask staff to heat your pool if it’s not hot enough, we did // onsen.co.nz
5. Go hiking
Queenstown is so small you can go everywhere by foot and see the most incredible sights. Take a hike up the mountain (instead of the gondola) through native forest for a true nature experience.
And enjoy grand vistas like this at the top WHAT TO WEAR
Over the years I feel like I’ve got the knack of packing light. It’s all about wearing versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down and interchanged. I took one sturdy pair of nice boots and some sneakers, a top, a skirt, a dress, a pretty pink cardi, a light merino, jeans, leggings and old basketball tee – and that was it!
Wearing: Oma’s old cashmere hat | Cheap but insanely long scarf (can wrap 4x) | Vintage mesh top from Beacons Closet in Williamsburg, Brooklyn | Topshop mini | North Face coat (you’ll need it) // Photographs by Maggie Gould
Don’t know whether this says “hire me” or “I model for Farmers”…
Make sure to use a heavy moisturiser in colder weather, because of the altitude, your skin can become quite dry.
Dress for the conditions and be prepared. Gumboots are great for snow and look cute with a nice outfit.
Travel tip: Wear a ski jacket over a nice outfit and take it off when you go indoors. That way you don’t have to risk hypothermia for a glamorous outfit. WHERE TO STAY
Once an old school camp grounds, The Milford Lodge has become the closest accommodation you could find to the sounds. Within walking distance to the marina, the isolated abode is fantastic for nature-loving travellers. With hand-drawn maps on the walls and a communal kitchen for backpackers – gives you an idea what the place was like 20 years ago. The luxury chalets are designed with links of similarity to Auckland Inter Continental blueprint – but have a fantastic rustic charm. The rooms are comfortable and insulated with a spectacular view. If you are a city slicker I would recommend just one night’s stay, but if you’re a relative of Bear Grylls, stay a week! Thanks to the lovely Christine for hosting us // milfordlodge.com
Riverside chalets overlook the tranquil Cleddau River
Also, if you take a camera along to capture the action this winter, you could go into the draw to win $500 to spend on your vacation courtesy of The Milford Lodge.
I also want to say a big thank you to our oldest friends (friend years, not age years) Martha & Jack who had us stay at their new 5 star home just 20 minutes from Queenstown CBD. You guys are amazing!
Mum and Martha
If you have any questions feel free to send me a message, I’d love to hear from you. And to anyone going to the Queenstown Winter Festival, have a great time!
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