With Queenstown’s annual WinterFest about to kick off and snow falling as though it’s trying to make a mockery out of global warming, we felt it necessary to briefly brush over a few new and notable happenings in our very own snow capital. Here’s what to take into account before your next visit:
Winter isn’t winter without a visit to Queenstown’s acclaimed Lake Hayes eatery, Amisfield. This season, however, the vineyard bistro unveils a bold new private dining space. Set upstairs, larger parties can capitalise on the opulent surrounds that include art by Fiona Pardington and access to two private balconies, while being plied with delicious food and wine.
Hitting its stride in the Cardrona Valley is the eponymous distillery which has been winning awards left, right and centre for its superlative spirits. With excellent guided tours of what is not only the country’s single attraction of its kind, but also the world’s southernmost distillery, we suggest any white-out days be spent sipping seasonal cocktails and enjoying charcuterie platters at the Cardrona Distillery instead. Find out more about the spiritual pilgrimage here.
The repose between this ski season and last also brings with it the arrival of a QT hotel — the first one to grace the South Island after making an impression on the country with its first outpost in Wellington. Bringing its signature brand of eccentric, opulent and seriously comfortable hospitality to Queenstown’s Brunswick Street, where it offers whopping views of Lake Wakatipu and a panoply of eateries within, choosing where to stay (or even where to hang out) in the city centre is now a no-brainer.
Acclaimed design studio Trenzseater is expanding its reach bringing its own made-in-New Zealand furniture collection as well as a raft of sought-after international brands to Queenstown. The new showroom at 313 Hawthorne Drive in Frankton offers textiles, wallpapers, lighting and accessories along with expert advice to help you fill your home with that properly finished feeling. Pay them a visit for some design inspiration.
Also worth stopping into for a bite to eat and a warming drink are Yonder and Rodd & Gunn’s The Lodge Bar, respectively. Both located in the city centre, the former is a refreshing, health-focused eatery while the latter is arguably one of adventure capital’s best-kept secrets. Accessed via the lakeside promenade, the chic cabin-inspired interior of The Lodge Bar is the perfect place to seek respite from the cold. If it’s something more robust you’re after, however, Jervois Steak House still does hands-down the best steak in town.
Running from Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th June, The Real Journey’s Queenstown Winter Festival will bring with it an array of music, food and wine, culture, skiing and snowboarding, and everything in between. After 44 years running, the all-encompassing affair has become one of the city’s most important calendar events. Click here for the full run-down.
For more ideas on what to do when visiting Queenstown, check out our Navigator page here.