If you know me at all then you know it’s no secret Queenstown is by far my favorite place in New Zealand. Yes, there are other beautiful places to visit (Milford Sound, Mata Mata, to name a couple) but Queenstown stole my heart from the moment our plane cleared the clouds and its stunning landscape met our eyes.
It was nothing short of magical. There isn’t a place in all of Queenstown, or its neighboring towns, for that matter, that does not take your breath away. I could have spent the entire two weeks in Queenstown and would have been perfectly content.
Now that you know my obsession with Queenstown, let me share a few of our favorite places. I am going to include pictures and links to our YouTube videos for your visual enjoyment, as well.
PLACES TO EAT
I am starting with this one because, well, food. I really don’t need to say more. It was almost my first thought when we landed because I’ve heard so much about New Zealand’s fish and chips and could hardly wait to get my hands on some. New Zealand did not disappoint.
Erik’s Fish and Chips
This was our go-to place whenever we were too tired to visit a restaurant. Or when we just wanted some awesome fish and chips. I highly recommend the Hoki fish; it’s cheaper than the cod and sweeter; a win-win. 🙂
Oh my goodness, my mouth waters just thinking about the amazing breakfast we had at Joe’s! Of all the breakfasts we enjoyed in New Zealand, Joe’s served up the best! The prices were reasonable, the servings large and the staff awesome. My only regret was we did not make it back a second time.
The hype is real, folks. We made it to Fergburger just in time because lines can wrap around the block at meal times. Thankfully, we only had to wait 20 mins or so. But, oh, the wait was worth it! Hands down, best fries I’ve ever had! I know my fries, so trust me when I say theirs are incredible!
And the burger was great, too. 🙂 (Steve couldn’t get enough of it!) But I’m all about the fries. 🙂
Did you get a load of that drink? They do not have Arnold Palmer’s in New Zealand, so Steve explained what it was when he tried to order one. The waitress came back with this amazing mix of everything from the garden. haha Seriously, though, it was so incredibly good!
The food was good, also and the restaurant nice. The only thing I didn’t care for was once the waitress brought our food, we never saw her again. I know waitressing is different over there, and refills are not generally done, but it was just an odd experience in that department.
You just cannot beat the views at the Stratosfare! After riding a gondola up the side of a mountain, you can eat at a restaurant overlooking all of Queenstown. It was muggy and raining the day we went and we were still mesmerized by the view.
The food is quite diverse and very good; perfect before a hike up the Ben Lomond track!
WHERE TO STAY
There are many places to choose from in Queenstown, from hostels to motels to campsites.
Initially, we chose another place to stay but the motel was booked when we went to reserve the room. I am SO glad it was; the hotel we stayed at was awesome and I could not imagine anywhere else having better views!
It was magical to wake up every morning with The Remarkables being the first thing you see. I never got used to that!
Crown Plaza was a great place to stay for all the reasons you would list a nice motel as having. The bed was heavenly, the amenities awesome, and the staff always went above and beyond to accommodate our needs.
The balcony was my favorite. I spent SO much time out there, enjoying the view and the activity on the water. I cannot emphasize this enough: the view was INCREDIBLE! I don’t think we could have picked a better place to stay with a more perfect view. Every time I looked out the window it took my breath away!
Crown Plaza has a nice restaurant in the lobby but we never ate there so I can’t give a review of their meals, although I can attest that the smells coming from there were mouth-watering. 🙂
WHAT TO DO
Where to start? Let’s just start by saying that Queenstown is where New Zealanders go to vacation. There is SO much to do! However, I can only review the things we did. 🙂
This was the first activity we did aside from exploring on our own. One word: AMAZING! We had the time of our lives with Jack, exploring Queenstown and some of her neighbors. I think the video can show you better:
Ben Lomond Track
Taking the gondola to the Strastofare restaurant, riding the Luge and hiking the Ben Lomond is an all-day event, one we were so glad we took the time to do. Even though it rained the entire time, words cannot convey just how beautiful the views were! It was worth every second! Here’s a video of our time on the mountain:
Of course, Queenstown has all the adrenaline-pumping activities, but if you want to save your money or just relax for a bit, take a stroll over to the gardens. They have a nice playground for kids, frisbee golf, tennis and a trail with stunning views. We spent several hours there and loved every minute.
I understand this isn’t in Queenstown, however, if you take a tour to Milford Sound from Queenstown, it will blow your mind! The views are out of this world, the stops along the way are incredible (we filled our water bottles in a mountain spring!) and the information you learn from the guide is very interesting.
The bus is basically all windows so you really get a good view of everything around you. Driving this path will probably get you in an accident because you’ll be totally mesmerized by everything but the road! haha Here’s just a glimpse of what you would see:
TIPS (and things to expect)
- Things are smaller in NZ. (Ex. roads, homes, cars, parking spaces)
- Meals are not smaller. Most meals could feed both Steve and me.
- Cross at crosswalks. Trying to cross elsewhere might get you killed, especially if you are not used to drivers driving on the left side of the road.
- Soda is expensive. Expect to pay $4 for an 8 oz bottle.
- They generally do not do refills at restaurants.
- Since there are no refills and usually no tipping, wait staff at restaurants are of a completely different mindset.
- NZ’ers say “zed” for the letter “z”. That took some getting used to. lol
- Dates are different. What we would write 1/18/18, they would put down as 18/1/18.
- NZ’ers use the word “queue” for “line”. That tidbit will come in handy. 🙂
- Expect to fall in love not only with the land but the amazing people!
Have you ever been to Queenstown? What were some of your favorite things to do?
If it’s on your bucket list, what are some things you hope to see/do?