Top Five Spots to Visit in Queenstown
1. Dine at The Grille By Eichardt’s
With a stunning 180-degree view of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding Remarkables, The Grille by Eichardt's is the epitome of lakeside dining. The newest addition to the Eichardt's brand, The Grille by Eichardt's has quickly made its mark, earning itself the title of the ultimate refined dining experience. Executive chef Will Eaglesfield oversees the 130 seated restaurant that has a focus on local produce and an extensive wine list to match. Offering a true gastronomic experience, regardless of whether you've jumped off a bridge or zipped around the Shotover river, the chef's selection will give your taste buds the ultimate Queenstown adventure you need.
Starting our palettes off with a delightful salmon cru, the perfectly arranged dish made way for the parmesan crusted churros that followed. Luckily, we made the conscious decision to pace ourselves, which wasn't easy. This meant our third meal of monkfish and scallops with silver beet and purée tasted all the better.
Who knew a beetroot candied walnut and blue cheese salad could be enough to soar your taste buds over to Milford Sound and back? Accompanying the side salad was the main dish: roasted tomatoes, cooked to perfection, succulent slabs of lamb and beef among salsas and baba ganoush, made from scratch. Oh and not to forget the buttered up beans, oh those beans. Full and happy we were after our main, but we had been told dessert was even better. They were right, finishing with a decadent spread of petit fours and a New Zealand cheese platter bigger than your appetite, we were left speechless.
Our final note? Do not leave Queenstown without sipping on Eichardt's Smoked Espresso Martini. With a delicious combination of Jameson Irish whisky, Baileys, Frangelico and fresh espresso with a nip of Laphroaig 10-year-old single malt whisky - you'll practically float back home. Two words - book now.
2. Visit Arrowtown
19 kilometres out of Queenstown CBD hots a gold mining town with a half's day adventure.
Browse through stores showcasing locally sourced gold produced into fine jewellery and greenstone pieces or find your sweet tooth parked on the lower end of town.
Although there a plenty of spots to indulge yourself within the town, we recommend grabbing a burger from Fergburger or a their famous Pork belly pie from Fergbaker and make it a road trip.
Be a true tourist and hike the surrounding hills for the perfect Instagram or hire pans from the locals to try your luck at panning for gold. In the likely event you don't find enough gold to let you retire, wander back to the car for a short five minute drive to one of Otago's favourite wine hotspots, Amisfield Winery. Idyllically located overlooking Lake Hayes and back dropped by the Remarkables mountain range, a wine tasting of five wines will set you back a mere ten dollars. Find your favourite and then take it home for the perfect wine and cheese hotel dining experience.
3. Drink at No5 Church Lane
Nothing beats a good cocktail, especially on a Monday night. That's the thing about travelling, the weekend is all week long. We stumbled across No5 Church Lane on a Monday evening, in search of a cocktail to begin the night. Tucked away on the fringes of town, this hidden gem hastily invited us in with a roaring fire place, extensive cocktail list and a friendly bar tender to match.
Advised by the head bartender that the Belle Rouge was world-renowned, it was a no-brainer to sip it back, admiring the mix of Belvedere vodka, spiced raspberry, vanilla, lemon, egg white finished with a dusting of cacao. Next on our list was something more refined. Careful not to mix our liquors but opting for something fresh, the Golden Brown took our fancy. How it could it not? Candied walnuts and maple lemon are enough to kick start any evening in Queenstown.
Although tempted to stay nestled in the plush upholstery dreaming of yet another cocktail in hand, we had dinner plans. Deciding that we needed to sample the menu as it must be as good as the cocktails, we booked in for breakfast the following morning. It didn't disappoint, offering buttermilk pancakes with caramelised apple purée and a classic plate of bacon and eggs, cooked to perfection. Whether you're brunching or drinking, No5 Church Lane is not to be missed.
4. Relax at ONSEN
Queenstown may be an adrenaline junkie's dream, but perched on Arthur's Point with untouched views of the Shotover River and snow dusted mountains, Onsen Hot Pools is enough to let any one unwind.
Onsen's 1m deep hot pools sit at a cool 39.8 degrees Celsius, sourcing only New Zealand’s purest rain water to continually refresh their eight cliff side pools. Avoiding the use of chlorine which both negatively affects the environment and our skin, bathing water is kept pristine with high intensity ultraviolet rays.
Dubbed as one of Otago's most Instagrammable locations, submerging yourself in a pure bath, wine in hand with a breathtaking view in one of the most beautiful places on earth, it doesn't get a lot better than this. Complete with a sunflower shower, changing facilities and cedar-lined rooms, your experience from start to finish hosts an unparalleled view in natural isolation.
If you're looking for something extra, the ultimate day spa package provides an in-house massage and a one-hour spa package includes a glass of Otago's Gibbston Valley Pinot Noir and light snacks. Offering a complimentary pick up from Queenstown central and taking bookings from 10am to 10pm every day, it’s easy to find yourself in the ultimate spot of relaxation when in the deep south.
5. Adventure with Heli Glenorchy
Heli Glenorchy has been recommended by several people as a do not miss. Only a stone's throw away from central Queenstown, Heli Glenorchy will take you on a twenty-five-minute flying extravaganza, including an alpine landing for the most Insta-worthy pictures of your trip.
Zip around and visit the local sights of the braided Dart River, Mt. Earnslaw and Mt. Aspiring National Park or opt for the ultimate Milford Sound adventure in a 50-minute flight with a glacier landing. Cruise over to Glenorchy and visit the town before jumping on board with the Heli Glenorchy team or have them organise transport from Queenstown.
This experience is perfect for those on a tight schedule who don't want to miss the best way to see Queenstown - from above.