Out of the whole of New Zealand I was most looking forward to Queenstown! Firstly because I was visiting the one and only Sorcha Pillay, who’s there on the working holiday visa. And secondly because there’s so much to do…I spent about two and half weeks in Queenstown and still didn’t do everything! It’s activity central. I loved it.
I mean look at this stunning place…
Here’s a little summarised list of what I got up to…
The best activities I did:
- Skiing (I did a day up the Remarkables Mountain but there’s also Coronet and Cadrona)
- Took the TSS Earnslaw (steamship) to Walter Peak Farm
- A skydive!!!
- Helicopter to Milford Sound (inc. an alpine landing)
- Frisbee Golf
Fave restaurants (yes I spent most of my money eating out!):
- Ferg burger (it has to be done!)
- Fat badgers (humongous pizzas)
- Joe’s garage (brunch)
- Devil’s burgers (many locals claim they prefer these to ferg burgers!)
- Public (delish sharing food, located on the waterfront)
- Atlas (steak and chips for $20 and awesome craft beers!)
Coolest bars I frequented (regularly!):
- Searle Lane bar
- Cowboys (the best!!)
- Little Blackwood
Anyway, back to the nitty gritty…once I was reunited with Sorch we met up with her friend Nat and bee-lined straight to Searle Lane bar for a celebratory drink and $4 pizzas! I was quick to learn that Queenstown is a boozy little place. There is no escape once you are in town!
The next day I woke up to mental snowfall over Queenstown. Check it out –
Sorch was working so I braved it into town and had some breakfast at Joe’s Garage, I had the Fancy Pants porridge because I’m FAAAAANCY (plus it came with caramel sauce…a no brainer, duh!). I wandered around town freezing to death before heading home and pining for Sorch to return.
We had pres at Sorcha’s, she has a pool table for Pete’s sake! And Nat came over again…here we go! We were definitely half cut by the time we went into town…
Hungover. Only one thing to do, head to devil’s burgers for a feed. I am also ashamed to say that later I had fish and chips at Chur (the chippy Sorch works at on the side). With some restraint we had a chilled evening because we were going skiing the next day! Woo!
Fresh and fabulous, we rocked up to The Remarkables mountain raring to go. Sorch had only ever had one lesson so we took it easy on some blues runs. That was until I accidentally took us on a black run…disclaimer – Sorch survived. Just. Adding to the traumatic experience was avalanche control who were setting off dynamite further up the mountain. Nothing like loud intermittent bangs to get the blood pumping!
So, there’s loads of lovely walks to do in Queenstown, my favourite was Moke Lake. Since Sorch ditched me for work AGAIN (sheesh!) I walked round the lake with my new friend Tom (from Shepperton, shout out to Surrey!). We went in his kidnapper’s van –
The reflection on the lake was stunning and there were cute little ducks waddling around everywhere. Such a cool spot.
From Moke Lake you also have the option of taking the Moonlight track, it’s a 3hr walk taking you to Arthur’s point. When we did it we saw a possum and a dead sheep! Ick!
Another great walk is Queenstown Hill. When you get to the top you get a pretty amazing view over the whole of Queenstown! Plus afterwards you have an excuse to reward yourself with a famous Ferg burger!
Lastly, one morning I walked along Sunshine Bay. I started from Sorcha’s up in Fernhill and it brings you down and along the waterfront into town. Very casual walk but extremely pretty.
Anyway, enough with the nature. Back to activities. One afternoon, Sorch, Lorraine (one of Sorcha’s flatmates), Shepperton Tom and I went go-karting and played laser tag! It was a hoot. The venue is located out by the airport and it’s a whale of a time. I sadly did not make the rostrum…
The next day I graced the famous TSS Earnslaw with my friend Zoe (who I know from London and bumped into on the bus my first day in Queenstown #smallworld).
The Earnslaw is a really impressive 1912 coal-fired steamship. It took us across the lake to Walter Peak Farm where we had a gourmet buffet that was to die for. I had about a trillion desserts, the sticky toffee date pudding being a highlight.
Then we watched sheep dogs chasing sheep and a sheep being sheared…it was at this point that New Zealand felt most New Zealandy!
Right, I’ve got to mention my skydive. Coolest. Thing. Ever. The weather in Queenstown had been really hit and miss, but luckily I woke up to a scorcher of a day! My dive was at 10am so I didn’t have much time to mull over the fact I was going to be flinging myself out a plane at 12,000ft. When I got to the ominous ‘drop zone’ I was partnered with a lovely Bulgarian instructor called Peter who gave me a briefing. Before long I was thrown on the little plane with some others, we all had to sit backwards and then I was strapped ‘butt to balls’ (as Sorch likes to say) to Peter in prep for the jump. The nerves only hit me when the plane door was lifted up and a rush of air flew in. Two people went before me and then it was my turn ahhhhh. I’ve never felt anything like it! It was 45 seconds of free fall before the parachute was pulled and I was trying to take in as much of the view as I could. The adrenaline rush was insane. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. (Ps. Thanks to the Briggs’ for gifting me the voucher!)
Sorch followed in my footsteps by taking on The Ledge Bungy the next day. We took the gondola up and Sorch looked like she was about to pass out at any moment. It was super misty too, which added to the freakiness! But she did and it was wicked!
Afterwards, we went luge-ing, where you steer a plastic cart round a track paved in concrete trying not to crash. But behold, lap one on the beginner track, Sorch was post-bungy confident and completely wiped out on a corner haha! Here is the aftermath –
The evening was spent at Cowboys! This is my absolute fave bar in Queenstown. As you may have guessed it’s cowboy themed – the chairs are saddles, the beer taps are pistols, and there is a bucking bronco!! PLUS on Sundays it’s karaoke and they give out free chicken wings! Obviously we went on a Sunday…Harry and Ed, two of my friends from the kiwi experience bus came along too.
Let’s all raise a glass to the poor souls who had to endure Sorch and I butchering songs such as Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ and Shania Twain ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’.
Just when you thought we were ‘activity-ed’ out, the next day Sorch introduced me to the kiwi game of frisbee golf! It’s similar to golf but you throw a frisbee at a target instead! It’s so much fun.
We went to Queenstown gardens and played 9 holes. I lost the frisbee in the water at one point and was about to strip off to retrieve it when a passerby suggested I just use a branch… (Tiff’s common sense 0 Passerby 1).
Something else I’d really recommend doing if you’ve got the time in Queenstown is hit some vineyards in the Gibbston Valley area. We went wine tasting at Kinross and then had a cheese board at Mt Rosa. I could drink Pinot Noir all day!! Amisfield Winery is meant to be amazing as well, but I didn’t go.
I had to leave Queenstown with a bang and what better way than celebrating Sorcha’s 25th birthday.
I have now realised Sorch is a full on birthday person, she was so excited. But also a little nervous due to her friend’s premonition that she’d never make it to 25! Spoiler alert – she made it!!!
All her friends came over to the house for pre drinks. Home made espresso martinis and strawberry daiquiris were flowing and Sorch was getting suitably intoxicated.
At 8.30pm we hit the town for Korean Karaoke! Our tipsy crew rocked up to the restaurant and were met by crickets. The place was dead. The waiter seated us and proceeded to tell us we could have 1-2 beers each and then reluctantly put the Karaoke screen on. We sheepishly sang 50 cent’s ‘P.I.M.P’ before getting the hint and leaving.
It was the most hilarious fail and we went on a bar crawl instead. First Surreal, then Rhinos, and ended in Cowboys. It was fabulous. Cheesy chips completed the night and the next day was spent hungover and we Netflixed and chilled with an Indian takeaway. We are the picture of health!
Queenstown, you are an awesome town. Sorcha you are my best friend. What a wonderful time.