Discover the magic of the Queenstown Trail from Kawarau Village.
A DoubleTree escape in Queenstown
S ometimes an adventure can be as simple as going somewhere new and that in itself can be revitalising which is why I jumped at the chance to experience DoubleTree by Hilton, Kawarau Village, Queenstown. It’s the adventure capital of the world but instead of seeking the adrenaline-fueled activities it is famous for, I was excited to discover that DoubleTree is situated beside Lake Wakatipu smack bang on the famous Queenstown Trail which you can hike or bike lakeside and through glorious country peppered by snowy mountain peaks.
Step onto the jetty outside The Hilton (across the road from DoubleTree) and the Remarkables mountain range rises to greet you across the lake. The jetty’s position captures the early morning and late afternoon sun making it a picture perfect location for photography enthusiasts like me.
The fact that DoubleTree sits adjacent to the Queenstown Trail is one of its big attractions. Our plan was to explore it by electric bike (there’s a bike shop opposite the jetty that hires electric mountain bikes) but because it was snowing so heavily during our visit they wouldn’t let us take them out for our own safety. They’ve had a few tourists end up in the lake!
Popular trips along the Queenstown Trail include riding to Jack’s Point for lunch and a bike recharge if you need one, and Kelvin Heights trail to Jardine Park. There are also recharge points in picturesque Arrowtown and the Gibbston Cheesery in the Gibbston Valley wine region.
We had to be content to go on foot but that suited me. With a break in the weather the sun broke through thawing snowdrops
everywhere which meant making many photo stops.
The homes and gardens dotted along this particular stretch are almost as interesting as the nature scenery.
Back at DoubleTree we embraced our well-heated cosy lake view suite with a glass of Central Otago pinot noir. It’s not just the warmth that makes this place friendly. On arrival each guest is welcomed with a hot cookie. And our pillowcases and slippers on the Sweet Dreams bed were even monogrammed with our initials! Check out time is also a luxurious 12noon.
There’s also a private cinema that you can book. They have a movie selection but you can bring your own DVD and the front desk will happily arrange popcorn and soft drinks plus heathier snacks too.
It’s easy to eat well at Kawarau Village. The Lake Counter, a deli and grocery stocked with local produce, is just steps away from DoubleTree reception. There are also several restaurants to choose from including Wakatipu Grill at The Hilton where we dined for breakfast and dinner. The chef Grant Rothwell also works with in-season produce and the ingredient of the month during our visit was parsnip for which he’d created a delicious three-course menu.
Our lunch spot was fireside at Stacks Pub, which is also open for dinner. Skis are decoratively stacked along a feature wall adding to the apres ski atmosphere – here the monthly special for our visit was parsnip bruschetta, a delicious combination of sourdough ciabatta, olive and parsnip puree, parmesan cheese, rocket and balsamic glaze.
A great way to explore the Queenstown Trail is on an electric bike and there are charge stations along the way. Below: DoubleTree by Hilton at Kawarau Village is at the centre of everything yet feels wonderfully remote.