Five Times I Fell In Love With Queenstown, New Zealand

Let’s take a trip across the ditch 

By Courtney Frank | 4th June 2024

In the lead-up to my trip to New Zealand, I was feeling run down (tysm laryngitis for really killing my vibe) and I was quite frankly craving some fresh air, good food, and winter fashion(!). Where is one place that ticks all those boxes you might ask? Enter Queenstown.

I’d been looking forward to this trip for what felt like forever – my bestie was getting married, and there was a casual 80-odd group of loved ones heading across the ditch to celebrate. I knew the week was going to be large, but I was also determined to fit in a bit of ‘me’ time, relax and recharge my mind, and hopefully rediscover a bit of my creativity that I felt I had lost. 

The last time I was in Queenstown I was still wearing training bras, so my memories of the South Island resort town were foggy to say the least. One thing I had forgotten was how breathtaking the descent into the airport was – so as we declined through fluffy clouds and snow-capped mountains and the picturesque Lake Wakatipu came into view, I readied myself for what I knew was going to one heck of a holiday.

 Here are five times I fell in love with Queenstown, New Zealand. 

1. Views upon views upon views 

Everywhere you look in Queenstown is like a postcard. From the minute you step on to the tarmac and breathe in the crisp mountain air through the short drive into the heart of the town, I can guarantee you’ll be clutching your phone and snapping pics like there’s no tomorrow. The sheer beauty of the town is truly magic. The views literally took my breath away, and the most iconic of them all is The Remarkables – one of only two mountain ranges in the world that run directly north to south. Make sure your camera is charged and ready – there’s a stunning vista around every corner here.

I loved: the quintessential gondola ride to the top of Bob’s Peak, 480m above Lake Wakatipu with views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter and Cecil Peak, and of course, Queenstown itself. ‘

What to do in Queenstown

Lake Wakatipu, top of the Skyline Gondola, Bob’s Peak from above

2. Food, glorious food 

Queenstown is world-famous for its epic produce, delicious wine, and stellar service. As the purveyor of the extraordinary, there are plenty of incredible culinary adventures to be had here with many international chefs from around the world calling Queenstown home. Combine this with the 100+ wineries located within a 40-minute radius (it’s the world’s southernmost wine region) and a cool climate that produces a plethora of fresh produce, the dedication to fine food and wine is truly unmatched. Although there was one destination that stood out from the rest, but more on this next…

I loved: Eichardts Grille with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Lake Wakatipu and food that showcased the very best of the region’s local and seasonal produce; and Ayrburn – a newly opened food and wine neighbourhood with a simply unforgettable private dining experience. 

What to do in Queenstown

FergBaker, Ayrburn, @amisfieldrestaurant

3. Amisfield Restaurant & Cellar Door 

I genuinely have no words for this place. No notes and nothing but praise. In fact, it’s the spot that would have me booking flights to Queenstown over and over again, just to eat their exquisite food and marvel at executive chef, Vaughan Mabee’s genius creations. Luckily, this was the destination for my bestie’s wedding, so no expense was spared when it came to the food and wine. This gastronomic experience is one of epic proportions – and chef Vaughan doesn’t mess around. From inventive dishes like deer antler ice cream with warm blood caramel (don’t worry, it’s not actual blood) to award-winning pinot noir, this experience is well and truly etched on my brain forever. If you go nowhere else in Queenstown, promise me you’ll at least go here.

I’m still dreaming about: the winter truffle milk bread with river stones of grey truffle butter. 

4. FergBaker

Staying on the food train, no getaway to Queenstown would be complete without a trip to (at least one) of the famous Ferg enterprises. For me, I was all about FergBaker. From prosciutto danishes and salted pretzels to their famous Boston cream donut, you might be overwhelmed and overstimulated by the options here, but you sure as heck won’t leave hungry. Oh, and if you’re after a sneaky snack for your journey home after a big day on the ‘waters’, let’s just say that a Ferg & Cheese pie makes the perfect warm companion for a frosty walk back to your hotel… 

Top tip: they stay open until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights. 

5. Welcome to Arrowtown 

Just a hop, skip, and a jump (read: 30 min drive) down the road from Queenstown is the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown. A wander down the leafy tree-lined streets will transport you back in time as you stroll past fine gold jewellers and bookstores, appropriately peppered with new-age candy stores and fashion boutiques. There’s so much to see and do in Arrowtown, so much so, that we spent several days going back and forth for “just one more quick look around…”

Shop at: Seletti Concept Store for labels like Coperni, Anine Bing, JW Anderson, Isabel Marant, Ganni, and so much more. Obsessed.

What to do in Queenstown

Arrowtown, Eichardt’s at dusk by @loversbyrubyjayne, Mt Rosa Winery

So, that concludes my love letter to Queenstown – a place that provided all the therapy I didn’t even know I needed. Now…when can I go back?

Other notable mentions: The Winery, Odd Saint, The Bathhouse, Gibbston Valley Wines, Little Blackwood, and Queenstown Gardens.

By Courtney Frank Often the most dramatic in the room, Courtney is happiest when swimming in the ocean, sipping on a glass of red, or spending time with her obnoxiously loud family.




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