Queenstown, situated in the southwestern corner of New Zealand’s southern island, attracts adventurers from around the world. Bungy jumping, mountain biking, parasailing, white-water kayaking, and rock climbing are just a few of the activities that draw young and old from all points on the planet. That’s all well and good for some folks, but we went to Queenstown for its other prime attraction: wine. Just 30 miles from the villages of Cromwell and Bannockburn in Central Otago, Queenstown is a popular jumping off point for those who, like us, want to visit some of the southernmost vineyards on the planet. And maybe, just maybe, have a few glasses of their well regarded pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling, and pinot gris while we’re at it.
The Queenstown Park Hotel was the perfect spot for us during our four-plus days there. Downtown was only a five minute walk, and the service was personable and efficient. The breakfast menu was a foodie’s delight. No doubt about where we’d stay if we returned to Queenstown.
Looking south across Lake Wakatipu.
Wine and cheese at the hotel was always a great start to the evening.
William Gilbert Rees, founder of Queenstown.
Just one of the many delightful and impressive pinot noirs we enjoyed during our 10 days in New Zealand.
Our entire vacation, all 42 days, was punctuated regularly with exquisitely prepared lamb dishes. This one, at Captain’s in Queenstown, remains memorable. This restaurant is regularly recognized for the quality of their lamb. No surprise.
Some good old-fashioned fun.
These delicious bivalves tasted like a blend of oysters from the Atlantic — creamy and substantial– and the Pacific — sweet and briny. Wonderful.
Our meal at Josh Emmett’s Rata was exquisite: smart and fairly priced wine list, friendly service, delicious and interesting food. A great night all-around. This starter of cream of mushroom soup was brilliant. And, like so many places in Australia and NZ, the gluten-free bread was readily available and tasted great.
Just in case you’re wondering, no, we did not enter the Bungy Shop. No appointments needed for us.
Next, we head off to Cromwell to see what Central Otago has to offer.