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Queenstown is definitely one of New Zealand’s top travel destinations. But if you’ve only got 24 hours to spare, don’t fret: you won’t miss out on this epic little resort town’s must-visit attractions. Here’s a quick guide on how to make the most of your short visit.
Queenstown has plenty of cool breakfast and brunch spots. Early-birds can enjoy hearty, decently-priced brunch staples from cafes like Vudu Cafe & Larder, Joe’s Garage, and the Bespoke Kitchen. Fergbaker is a nice option for those wanting a quick bite on the go, and they’re open every day from 6:00 am too. If you’re looking for a place that’s open a bit later, the historic Bathhouse Cafe, which is located right by the picturesque Queenstown Bay, is another eatery to try.
Vudu Cafe, 16 Rees St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-441 8370
Bespoke Kitchen, 9 Isle St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-409 0552
Fergbaker, 40 Shotover St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-441 1206
What better way to start your morning than with a full panorama of your surroundings? Whether you choose to take the serene scenic ride up Bob’s Peak through the Skyline Gondola or you’re willing to go on a self-guided hike up the summit, the trip will reward you with some of the best views in town. If you’re wanting to linger a little bit longer, there are loads of activities to try along Bob’s Peak, including the luge and mountain biking.
There’s a reason Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. Along with being the birthplace of commercial bungy jumping, the town is also famous for hosting the world’s biggest rope swing as well as being surrounded by canyons, fast-flowing rivers, various ski fields and awesome alpine ranges. In other words, you can pick and choose your favourite activities to try, whether that is white water-rafting, jet boating, or the classic leap off the Kawarau bridge.
A good way to wind down after all those adventurous activities would be to go on a vineyard expedition. The Gibbston Valley area is the closest place to check out – there are more than 75 wineries to explore, many of which are highly renowned for their Pinot Noir production. Amisfield and Gibbston Valley Winery are two of the main places to visit. Both of these have their own restaurants, making them an ideal stopover for lunch too. If you want expert advice on the local must-sees, opt for a guided tour from a company like the Queenstown Wine Trail.
Ease into the late afternoon hours with a bit of retail therapy. The town centre is filled with trendy boutiques, as well as various places to snap up a unique souvenir to take home. A little further afield, the Remarkables Park Town Centre comprises all kinds of stores, from bookshops to supermarkets and retail outlets. If at any point you find yourself craving a sugary treat, The Remarkable Sweet Shop (which has three stores in Queenstown) is quite famous for its delectable fudges, nougats, chocolates, and assorted New Zealand lollies.
Before the sun sets and the evening looms, you should definitely make some time to explore Queenstown’s idyllic waterfront. Venture into the Queenstown Gardens and follow the path towards Lake Wakatipu. From there, you can stroll along the lakeside, watching as the mountainous backdrop is reflected along the crystal-clear glacial waters. Make sure to keep an eye out for the vintage TSS Earnslaw as it completes its final circuit and docks near the gardens.
Whether you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly venue or a fancy meal, downtown Queenstown is chock-filled with dining options. Meat lovers will adore the Botswana Butchery, which specialises in all kinds of meat cuts, although the menu includes its fair share of options for seafood-craving patrons and vegetarians too. Rata is another upscale option worth sinking your teeth into, serving seasonal dishes that always emphasise local flavours. Farelli’s Trattoria is a good option for decently priced Italian food, which includes gluten-free offerings as well as a fully-vegan menu.
Rata, Te Nuku 43 Ballarat St, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand, +64 3-442 9393
Farelli’s Trattoria, 88 Beach St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-409 0399
Whether you’re in the mood for some live music, or you’d like to get familiar with the area’s best bars, there’s plenty to keep Queenstown visitors entertained from dusk ’til dawn. Eichardt’s Bar is the ideal place to splurge on a luxurious cocktail, while the Below Zero Ice Bar provides its patrons with a uniquely chilled-out experience. Zephyr Bar is the place to listen to some rocking tunes, Rhino’s Ski Shack is known for its cool hip-hop beats, and Winnies is just as renowned for its gourmet pizzas as it is for its pumping night-time music.
Eichardt’s Bar, 2 Marine Parade, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand, +64 3-441 0450
Below Zero Ice Bar, Searle Ln, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-409 0040
Rhino’s Ski Shack, 6 Cow Ln, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand, +64 3-441 3329
Winnies, 7-9 The Mall, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand, +64 3-442 8635