Culture, Travel

Travel: Highlights of Queenstown in Autumn 2017

In this latest travel post, I share my travel diary in pictures, of highlights of our trip to Queenstown in Autumn 2017. We travelled with young children, and so this might be useful for ideas and tips for other families who are planning to travel to Queenstown, Arrowtown and Lake Hayes in the South Island of New Zealand. I was lucky to be the guest of the hotels and restaurants pictured, and I’ve included links to each so you can check them out and book with them if you are planning a trip to Queenstown yourself.

Last year I came here in September which was the end of the ski season and still pretty cold. This year in May it’s fairly mild, and you’ll be fine in jeans and a top and a puffer jacket. We found we didn’t need hats and scarves and it was around 12 degrees with no rain at all.

Friday

The children are delighted to have the day off school. We set off after breakfast to Air New Zealand. In the Koru lounge I got my traditional flat white with printed name ticket, ‘Megan is off to Queenstown!’

Packing essentials for Queenstown- Macpac duck down jacket for warmth, laptop for blogging, Avis car to get around in style, Antipodes lipstick in aptly titled 'Queenstown Hot Chocolate', Ultraceuticals serum to stay hydrated in cold weather, Benefit duo eyeshadow, Allbirds merino lounger shoes, coffee plunger from my room at The Rees lakefront boutique hotel.

Above: my packing essentials – Macpac duck down jacket for warmth, laptop for blogging, Avis car to get around in style, Antipodes lipstick in aptly titled ‘Queenstown Hot Chocolate’, Ultraceuticals serum to stay hydrated in cold weather, Benefit duo eyeshadow, Allbirds merino lounger shoes, coffee plunger from my room at The Rees lakefront boutique hotel. The Rees in right on the lake at 377 Frankton Road Queenstown, phone +64 3 450110.

Arrived in Queenstown and it's a beautiful clear sunny crisp day. LOVING our lake view apartment at The Rees! We are guests of The Rees for my feature on Queenstown and I'll be sharing my highlights of what to do with a family and the top places to see and enjoy (and eat!)

We arrived in Queenstown and it’s a beautiful clear sunny crisp day. LOVING our lake view apartment at The Rees, pictured above. We are guests of The Rees for two nights for my feature on Queenstown and I’ll be sharing my highlights of what to do with a family and the top places to see and enjoy (and eat!) Our family apartment has two separate bedrooms; a master bedroom and a kids room with two single beds, and two bathrooms which is a total luxury, as well as a huge living area, full kitchen, and a feature wall of stone with a gas fireplace you operate by remote control. On level 6, we had great views of the lake and the Remarkables mountain range. I went to the gym on level 3 as well, to try to be healthy after all the eating and drinking going on. We popped to the supermarket for supplies and utilised the excellent kitchen in the room. 

I wish all hotel toiletries were this pretty! True South toiletries, pause shell bath soap dish, and bedside chocolate, at the Rees.

I wish all hotel toiletries were this pretty! True South toiletries, pause shell bath soap dish, and bedside chocolate, at the Rees.

Stunning interior design at Graze in Lake Hayes estate Queenstown, here for a late family lunch and icecreams

Above: Stunning interior design at Graze in Lake Hayes Estate, here for a late family lunch and icecreams. Tip for families: Graze is located right next to a fab playground so you can get takeaway coffees and icecreams and get some fresh air after lunch at the flying fox and full scooter park.

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Yum! Strawberry Sorbet icecream at Graze – delicious, and perfect for my dairy free son. Eating dessert first!

Mmmm blue cheese beef and bacon burger at @devilburgernz

Mmmm blue cheese beef and bacon burger at @devilburgernz Devil Burger is an institution for us as we came last time too and I really like the blue cheese burger. They kindly made a bacon and egg burger to my son’s request too. Kids burgers are $7.50 and really huge and regular burgers are around $10 to $16 and would feed two of me, ha ha. It seemed popular with the snowboarding crowd and had lots of seating in from the cold and serves beer and wine so you can relax with friends.

Did you know they run the Skyline gondola at night for a Stargazing tour?! How cool is that! I've brought the family up at night and the view of Queenstown at night was stunning on the ride up the mountain.

We are long-time fans of the Skyline gondola in Rotorua and Queenstown and have taken the children up for years but never on the luge until this trip and it was a huge hit. Did you know they run the Skyline gondola at night for a Stargazing tour?! How cool is that! I brought the family up at night and the view of Queenstown at night was stunning on the ride up the mountain.

Saturday

Up before the sun @thereeshotel

Up before the sun @thereeshotel

kids-macpac

Stop it already, Queenstown! Its ridiculously gorgeous. My children, wearing kids Macpac, admiring the view at Lake Wakitipu.

Balls and Bangles donut store Queenstown

Balls and Bangles donut store Queenstown has incredible donuts and syringes to inject syrup and jam.

Botswana Butchery

One of my fave restaurants in Auckland – Botswana Butchery – is originally from this area, and we came for lunch today with Champagne by GHMUMM and red wine by Surveyor Thompson. The location is superb too, right on the lakefront, and their motto is “fun dining” rather than “fine dining”. The service is warm and friendly and the venue manager Jason was amazing. All mums dining at Botswana Butchery @botswanabutcheryqueenstown on Mother’s day get a free glass of GHMUMM. 

I have died and gone to dessert heaven: Creme Brulee and chocolate mousse at Botswana Butchery Queenstown.

I have died and gone to dessert heaven: Creme Brulee and chocolate mousse at Botswana Butchery Queenstown.

Sunday

Happy mother's day at @thereeshotel Queenstown. The husband bought me a mini Moet and made breakfast. Can't beat this view!

Happy mother’s day – my breakfast on my deck at @thereeshotel Queenstown. The husband bought me a mini Moet and made breakfast. Can’t beat this view!

Sherwood-Queenstown

Checking in the the Sherwood Queenstown; a newly-renovated hotel and yoga retreat with incredible lake and mountain views. I LOVE the decor and ethos here.

sherwood

Pictured above is the lounge, located downstairs in our two-storey family room at Sherwood, complete with sheepskin rugs, dark corkboard walls and white wood ceilings. Upstairs is a kids room with 3 single beds and a separate master bedroom. Downstairs is a kitchen and bathroom.

The super rustic charming Sherwood Queenstown - I love it here and it's so great for families and children!

The super rustic charming Sherwood Queenstown restaurant and bar area, where breakfast is also served and you can buy coffee and snacks throughout the day. I love it here and it’s so great for families and children.

Sunday happened to fall on Mother’s Day this year, which was perfect timing for me!

Mother's day lunch on top of the world at Skyline Queenstown

Mother’s day lunch on top of the world at Skyline Queenstown.

Monday

Today's essentials, at Sherwood Queenstown! Hot cup of tea on Sherwood hotel's cool enamel crockery in the rooms, touchscreen houndstooth gloves by Emke Shop, makeup by MAC, car thanks to Avis New Zealand. Loving Queenstown!

Today’s essentials, at Sherwood: Hot cup of tea on Sherwood hotel’s cool enamel crockery in the rooms, touchscreen houndstooth gloves by Emke Shop, makeup by MAC, car thanks to Avis New Zealand.

Lake Hayes While The Sun Shines! My version of the old proverb; Make Hay While The Sun Shines. Introducing my sweet ride in Queenstown, whom I affectionately call Holden Caulfield Commodore, thanks to @avisnewzealand! I'm wearing: sunglasses by Prada, top and scarf by Cybele, lipstick Queenstown Hot Chocolate by Antipodes.

Lake Hayes While The Sun Shines! My version of the old proverb; Make Hay While The Sun Shines. Introducing my sweet ride in Queenstown, whom I affectionately call Holden Caulfield Commodore, thanks to AVIS. I’m wearing: sunglasses by Prada, top and scarf by Cybele, lipstick Queenstown Hot Chocolate by Antipodes. 

You can reserve your rental car before you fly at www.avis.co.nz and request the size of car, and car seats for children. Tip: I ordered child seats but the booster is better for ages 6 and up, and save the hassle of having to carry bulky car seats on the plane with you. You book online at avis.co.nz

Lake Hayes

Such a nice day! Lake Hayes. We are off to Akarua Wines Kitchen by Artisan, on Lake Hayes Arrowtown Road.

Beautiful day for lunch at Akarua Wines Kitchen by Artisan

Above: A beautiful day for lunch at Akarua Wines Kitchen by Artisan in a charming historic cottage surrounded by pretty gardens. 

Tip for families: this restaurant has a safe, enclosed garden that children can play in, and chestnuts and walnut trees, and a kids sandpit and play area.

Akarua artisan

Absolutely amazing lunch at Akarua Wines Kitchen by Artisan, on the Lake Hayes Arrowtown Road. The restaurant used to be Walnut Cottage, and has been beautifully re-done by the fabulous Akarua Wines, along with talented husband and wife team John and Debbie who run Artisan catering. The food was divine. You can find them on Instagram at @akaruawineskitchenbyartisan

The tough day of eating continues apace with a berry chocolate mousse and meringue dessert over wine tasting at Akarua Wines Kitchen by Artisan.

The tough day of eating continues apace with a berry chocolate mousse and meringue dessert over wine tasting at Akarua Wines Kitchen by Artisan.

Tip: you can show up and pay $5 at the cellar door for 4 wine tastings per person. Our children played in the safe garden outside while we had some wine from Akarua and RUA.

Well, that brings my stay in Queenstown to a close. We had a fabulous time, and can’t wait to come back! It’s actually been cool visiting at a different time of year to before, and if you have come in a certain season you’ll find it is a different place at a different time of year. In Autumn the red and gold leaves are the prettiest I have ever seen anywhere. If you are into photography, this is a great time to come.

Disclosure: I was the guest of places featured for review, but did not receive payment. Views expressed are my own.

Megan Robinson
16th May 2017

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