If you ask us where we'd prefer to spend our winters, the answer is unanimously Queenstown. Veiled in a blanket of snow, rugged up, slippers on and waking beside the glittering Lake Wakatipu is, without a doubt, as good as it gets.
To ensure your next trip down south is a little more luxe and a little less luggage, we've collated our favourite places and spaces to explore, eat and enjoy when you're next holidaying in Godzone.
Eichardt's Private Hotel
Holding pride of place on Queenstown's lakefront since 1866, Eichardt's Private Hotel is a verified slice of New Zealand history. Housed in a grand boutique building and overlooking Lake Wakatipu, Eichardt's has garnered a stellar reputation as Queenstown's finest host and one of the world's best ski resorts. For the hungry visitor, The Grille by Eichardt's boasts an impressive and intimate contemporary menu, tailored to showcase the region's finest local produce, foraged for you from farm to table. We suggest you cosy up infront of the boutique fireplace and enjoy a nightcap.
Overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, Sherwood is an accommodation choice with many strings to its bow. Seasonal food, much of which is collected from the kitchen gardens, orchards and surrounding farms, keep guests sustained while they choose from a range of activities – taking in the great outdoors or partaking of the yoga, pilates, meditation or live music and film programmes to name a few. For the avid yogi, consider this your zen zone.
The Rees Hotel
Few panoramas rival that of The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments. Upon arrival, you'll be instantaneously struck by the view – a glittering lakeside vista that could easily lay claim to being one of the best in the country. For the roaming foodie, you'll be pleasantly surprised with The Rees' culinary offerings. Here, you'll discover the award-winning True South Dining Room, a sophisticated southern dining destination that calls on the region's best produce, winemakers and artisans to further heighten the conventional dining experience.
QT Hotel Queenstown
If your tipple of choice is gin-based, orange in colour and typically enjoyed in a short, crystal glass – we suggest you read on. From June 4th until June 10th, our favourite southern belle, QT Queenstown, will be raising a glass in celebration of Negroni Week and counting down to the ultimate Negroni Showdown. Throughout the week, QT's own Reds Bar will showcase their tailor-made Negroni menu, with all proceeds going to the Starlight Foundation.
The Lodge Bar
Situated right nextdoor to Rodd & Gunn, soak up the winter sun, park up for the afternoon and watch the people (see: tourists) go by, while enjoying a crisp cocktial. The Lodge Bar boasts the right amount of old-school cool, a delicious grazing menu and the full mixology set-up. If the thought of burning a little plastic becomes too much to bear, consider this the perfect place to take the edge off.
Onsen Hot Pools
There are few vistas that rival the jaw-droppingingly beautiful Arthur's Point. Onsen Hot Pools – a traditional Japanese-style hot spring spa – is located high on a cliff-side overlooking the magnificent Shotover River canyon, providing the ideal vantage point to watch the Shotover Jet whizz past on the river below. Water temperature is set according to the weather – generally between 37.8C on a hot day, to 39.8C during a snow storm. The retractable spa roof offers complete privacy, while the champagne, chocolate and snack selection make Onsen twice as nice. We suggest you lock in date night or treat yourself to a soak after a few days on the slopes.
Adding to their already impressive spa line-up, Spring Spa Queenstown provides the ultimate mid-winter retreat. Those familiar with Spring Auckland, Wellington and Bali, can enjoy the same luxe spa offerings here. The award-winning interior design offers a unique multi-sensory experience, combining the full line-up of spa treatments and renowned beauty brands in a social spa environment. What's more, Spring is conveniently located in the very heart of Queenstown. There's nothing like a full-body massage to work up an appetite.
Without question, if there's one address every roaming foodie should visit while in Queenstown, it has to be Amisfield. This breath-taking vineyard, cellar door and bistro, specialises in pinot noir and aromatic white wines, while offering a refined and contemporary menu that harnesses the region's very best. While the menu boasts plenty to choose from, we suggest you take the opportunity to trust the chef and make your way through multiple courses of smaller portions. You'll thank us later.
The True South Dining Room The Rees Hotel
Treat the resident wine-lover to a unique dining experience at True South Dining Room, located within The Rees Hotel. Offering mouth-watering menus that herald fresh, local New Zealand flavours using seasonal produce sourced from local suppliers, here you'll enjoy true southern hospitality. If you're staying at the hotel, delight in dishes created by True South Dining Room's executive chef Ben, and seek solace in the fact your plush living quarters are just a stone's throw away.
The brainchild of award-winning Kiwi chef Josh Emett and restaurateur Fleur Caulton, Rata showcases the very best of New Zealand cuisine. Slow-cooked meat heroes reign supreme, while fresh local produce enhances a faultless dining experience. Tucked away down a stony courtyard, Rata is the perfect group booking, offering several different dining spaces.
Have we missed your favourite Queenstown experience? Let us know in the comments below.