FEAST YOUR EYES

QUEEN­STOWN SERVES UP A SCENIC SMOR­GAS­BORD. HERE’S HOW TO SCORE A WIN­DOW SEAT

Daily Mercury - - WEEKEND - WORDS: CHAN­TAY LO­GAN

Be it framed through five-star win­dows or a blurred im­pres­sion as you bounce on the end of a bungie cord, New Zea­land’s south­ern play­ground pos­sesses a strik­ing sense of place.

Movie set tours are big busi­ness in Queen­stown, but the scenery is more than just a sup­port act.

Whether on a mun­dane morn­ing caf­feine run or a tourist mag­net like the luge, the white-fin­gered peaks of The Re­mark­ables loom large.

The snaking Sho­tover River is just as likely to steal your breath from the steamy sanc­tu­ary of an on­sen hot tub as on-board the jet­boats that carve a cliff-scrap­ing path through pow­der-blue wa­ter.

Prompted by an an­nual urge to swap sand for snow (sweet­ened by the fuss-free three­hour flight), I’ve vis­ited the city dozens of times and never fail to find a fresh per­spec­tive.

On my lat­est trip, it’s dished up by one of Queen­stown’s most-hyped new ho­tels.

QT Queen­stown is a chic col­lab be­tween mod­ern de­sign and Mother Na­ture.

Aus­tralian trav­ellers fa­mil­iar with the quirky ho­tel brand will find the same char­ac­ter faith­fully trans­lated.

Mop-headed sheep re­place the req­ui­site rub­ber duck­ies in the knock­out mar­ble bath­rooms, com­plete with gang­ster black hooded bathrobes, and DIY mar­ti­nis re­main in easy grasp.

The chained-to-the-desk concierge is sup­planted by “di­rec­tor of ad­ven­ture” Olivia, who boasts a killer lit­tle black book and knows how to use it.

But Queen­stown isn’t con­tent to play a sup­port­ing role to all that après at­ti­tude.

From the bed, the lounge, the Juliet bal­cony, the snugly sheep­skin-clad sling chair — the views of Lake Wakatipu are un­escapable. Tucked into the hill, the ho­tel’s 69 bou­tique guest rooms (I stayed in a Lake King) feel sus­pended in the South­ern Alps.

Olivia’s tip to book a win­dow-front ta­ble for break­fast in Bazaar pays div­i­dends with an even bet­ter an­gle on this feast for the eyes.

The morn­ing sun slants through the glass- fronted culi­nary the­atre as we tuck into cus­tom smooth­ies, omelettes and pas­tries.

Ev­ery meal in Queen­stown be­comes an op­por­tu­nity to savour a new scenic spread.

The leg­end of Ferg­burger has spawned lines stretch­ing down Sho­tover Street and they seem to get longer ev­ery year. While burg­ers like The Cod­fa­ther — fea­tur­ing fresh blue cod in a crunchy beer bat­ter — are fit­ting fuel for a lake­side pic­nic, it’s wise to seek a more peace­ful path in peak sea­son.

Sprawl­ing into a sunny court­yard be­tween her­itage build­ings, Rata takes Queen­stown’s sense of place and presents it on a plate.

Op­er­ated by high-pro­file chef Josh Emett and well-re­garded lo­cal restau­ra­teur Fleur Caulton, re­serve a ta­ble to graze on West Coast white­bait ce­viche, South­land cheese

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