Mini-break

Dis­cover the magic of the Queen­stown Trail from Kawa­rau Vil­lage.

Good - - CONTENTS - Words Car­olyn Ent­ing

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.

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