Queenstown’s not just about the snow, you know. Managing editor of QT Magazine, Margo Berryman, tells how to holiday down south in summer.
WORDS MARGO BERRYMAN / PHOTOS SUPPLIED
Central Otago’s warm, dry climate makes it a great summer destination, and with beautiful walks, epic bike trails and crystal-clear lakes, a visit to Queenstown is a real outdoor-adventure experience. All these activities are in easy reach of the downtown hub, where bars, restaurants, cafés and high-end shopping add to the buzz of a trip south. Consider putting these hotspots on your itinerary.
The scenery is so spectacular, it’s hard to keep your eye on the ball at Jack’s Point 18-hole championship golf course. The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu form an amazing backdrop to this world-class par-72 experience. If you have non-golfers in tow, Jack’s Point Clubhouse beside Lake Tewa welcomes everyone, and there’s also a well-appointed family playground and a network of walking
and biking trails within the Jack’s Point community development.
Sawpit Gully is where the locals walk. It’s a loop track that starts at the historic Chinese settlement in Arrowtown and follows the Arrow River trail before climbing high above the river and into the Sawpit Gully area. Keep an eye out for gold-mining relics, such as English rosehips and the remains of an old stone hut. The trail takes a good couple of hours at a comfortable pace, and delivers rewarding views from Eichardt’s Flat at the top.
Hands down the most Instagrammed Queenstown café, award-winning Vudu Café & Larder (and its sister café Bespoke Kitchen) is iconic. If you are vegetarian or vegan, eat gluten-free or are after amazing raw treats, this is the foodie destination for you. Co-owner Michelle Freeman sums it up: “We cook for locals, and we cook to make people happy.”
Gibbston Valley is world-renowned for its distinctive pinot noir and stunningly scenic vineyards. A refreshingly novel way to take in multiple wineries in one day is on a self-guided cycle tour with Around the Basin Bike Tours. They’ll pick you up and drop you off fitted with a regular or electric bike. With a comprehensive map in hand, you’re free to cycle around and taste as many wines in the valley as you like. There are lots of delicious lunch options on the route, and you needn’t worry about getting home, because they’re driving.
A leisurely one-hour drive from Queenstown, Arrowtown or Wanaka is the quaint village of Clyde, where a group of savvy store owners has revitalised the historic precinct with art galleries, fashion, jewellery, fine cuisine and a boutique movie theatre. Folklore Store is an absolute must-visit here for unique, high-quality homeware.
DISCOVER more of what’s happening in Queenstown this summer at: QT.CO.NZ