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