This is definitely Queenstown’s year. The South Island resort town is already a Mecca for skiers and snowboarders, but 2019 takes the offerings up a full notch with new chairlifts, new terrain, new après choices and some seriously high end tourism projects for those on someone else’s tab.
Whether you’re on a strict beer-only budget or have champagne tastes, there’s something new for you coming to this season’s ‘it’ town this winter.
So start waxing those skis and snowboards and mark these unique delights down in your snow diary.
New terrain, new chairlifts
Expect $35million worth of upgrades across Coronet Peak and the Remarkables so you can ride the new six-seater Telemix chairlift (think of it as a gondola=chairlift fusion) that replaces the current Coronet Express to the top of the world, a mere twenty minutes from Queenstown.
New on the agenda on the Crown Range for Cardrona this season is the Pringles Quad, currently being installed in the basin directly below Captain’s Express and above Pringles Creek. Pringles will offer up an extra 55 hectares of new advanced technical terrain, including access to advanced and expert chutes and a main intermediate trail.
The new terrain will also even out the mountain’s terrain percentage split, making the runs 25% beginner, 25% intermediate, 25% advanced and 25% expert. Well played.
New restaurants for the food obsessed
With over 150 licenced restaurant establishments in town, Queenstown is well loved by foodies. Those looking for the hottest new dining destinations will have plenty to keep them well fed and watered.
Meat lovers go straight to the new restaurant The Fat Lamb. Specialising in (what else?) sustainably sourced New Zealand lamb. Nom nom. The paddock to plate menu features mouth-watering lamb shoulder, chops and ribs that’ll have you dreaming about sheep forever more.
White + Wong (from the team behind Botswana Butchery) embraces ‘east meets west’ cuisine with street food menu items from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. Once you’re full of dumplings and peking duck, head over to funky new cocktail bar Sardine to try one of their custom-designed drinks and take an Instagram picture with the ‘sardine tin’ wallpaper.
Short on time but want big flavor? Make your way to Big Fig in Shotover Street to start the day with bircher brekkie pots, middle eastern granola with stewed fruit and sweet labne, or drop in for a lunch and dinner menu of slow-cooked meats, veggie and vegan tagines and sweet cakes. The Middle Eastern inspired Big Fig’s philosophy is ‘slow food served fast’ so you can eat in, take away or stock up your digs for the week ahead.
New to the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown is Rosie B’s. This old world bar and restaurant serves up seafood favorites including Fiordland Wild Legend Crayfish and fresh oysters. Pop into the long time legendary Blue Door for a cocktail in the same laneway after dinner.
Pump the adrenaline
You’ve already bungy jumped, thrown yourself down the rapids and scared the life out of yourself (in a good way) on the Shotover Jet. Lucky for you, the Nevis Catapult has recently launched in the Nevis Valley. Fancy being thrown 150 metres across a valley at 100 kilometres per hour with 3G of force? Of course you do.
For those feeling a little less brave, if you’ve conquered the go karting and luge then there’s always iFLY Queenstown – a new indoor skydiving experience which will still get your adrenaline pumping. Just lean against the cushion of air created by the iFLY to experience the feeling of flying, no parachute required. The best part? Just about anyone can do it, whether you’re five or 105.
Five star adventure
Queenstown’s Eichardt’s Private Hotel has gone next level with the new kitted out Pacific Jemm – an 80-foot long, 5-star luxury yacht that offers accommodation for up to eight passengers in four cabins.
Hosted and serviced by the hotel’s team, you can book a dining experience on this beauty of a boat, or book in for the full overnight experience. Sit back and relax with a wine as you cruise Lake Wakatipu and enjoy a sumptuous meal onboard with your private chef before retiring to your suite at one of many secluded coves in the area. Sign. Us. Up.
Fancy going a little further afield? Check out the Ignition Fiordland Discovery drive, heli, cruise experience.
Get yourself behind the wheel of a Lambhorgini, Porsche, Audi or Aston Martin and take the lakeside Glenorchy Road to your heli pad. Then take to the skies in a helicopter over the Southern Alps, landing on top of the Fiordland Discovery yacht for a long lunch or overnight cruise of Milford Sound. Swanky as.
There’s no doubt, whichever way you do Queenstown this winter, you’ll be guaranteed boasting rights with your skiing, boarding, adrenaline, foodie friends. Just tag us in your instagrams so we can share your love.
Almost convinced? Check out this video highlighting Queenstown’s huge range of wintry action. It’s enough to make you sob into your passport, shut down your computer and grab an Uber to the airport.
So, what are you waiting for?