If you have been reading Mr Weekender lately, then you’ll know I am currently in New Zealand with STA Travel. I am here to explore the South Island and Queenstown ahead of the snow season. Our first day saw us explore the indigo waters of Lake Wanaka, indulge in a hot onsen overlooking the Shotover River and mountains, and dine at Eichardts Hotel - see here. On our second day, we went for a 15km cycle through Arrow Town, past the infamous Kawarau Bungy Bridge and onto Gibbston Valley winery, we explored Coronet Peak and visualised ourselves skiing down front face in a couple of months, and we caught the Skyline Gondola up to the Queenstown Summit for a few laps of luge. And that’s not all…


Vudu Café In the early morning, we ventured down to Vudu in Queenstown. Here we sat at a long timber table with other early birds reading magazines sitting in front of a wall flanked by a larger-than-life oldschool faded photograph of Queenstown. Arriving just after 7.30am, it was packed. After our hearty breakfast the day before, we chose two freshly squeezed juices, a summer bowl of quinoa and poached stone fruits, and poached eggs with smashed avocado and haloumi.

23 Beach Street Queenstown New Zealand 9300 Ph: +64 3442 5357

Around The Basin Cycle Adventures Following our charming breakfast, we drove back to our hotel where we were picked up by Around The Basin tours for a 15km cycle. Starting at Arrow Town we rode down the main street, along the river, over a couple of bridges, past the famous Kawarau Bungy Bridge and onto the Gibbston Valley winery. Surprisingly we were able cycle at our own leisure without a guide. You do need to be fairly fit for this cycle and do wear light clothing as it can get very hot cycling. The tour gives you a bottle of water for the ride and meets you at two spots along the way. It is easily one of the best ways to explore the region!

Ph: +64 279 52 5801 E:

Coronet Peak I’ve been skiing since I was a little kid. My parents were very generous with our holidays and every year we went skiing in Perisher, Australia. However after all of these years skiing in Australia (and France!), I have never seen what the ski slopes look like without snow. Queenstown is famous for the Remarkables and Coronet Peak. After our cycle, we decided to quickly drive up the mountain to Coronet Peak to get a birds eye view ahead of the snow season. And I am so glad we did! The area certainly was busy with mountain bike riders and curious travellers, like ourselves. The steep, ear popping drive and magnificent vistas felt like we were in a James Bond movie but after a short 15 minutes we found ourselves at front face, with the mountain covered in vegetation and the still chair lifts slightly nodding in the breeze. The season officially kicks off on the 7th of June at Coronet Peak (and 21st June at the Remarkables), so I am already thinking about buying my ticket and season pass!

South Island, New Zealand

Skyline After our quick little exploration trip to Coronet Peak, we drove back to Queenstown to the base of the Skyline. The Skyline is one of Queenstown’s most loved things to see and do. Accessible by a gondola, which climbs a steep mountainous accent above Queenstown, the Skyline offers stunning views over the town and Lake Wakatipu. Arriving about an hour before dinner, we decided to explore the Skyline and found ourselves putting on a helmet each and going on a few spins around the Luge. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face – lots of fun for people of all ages and sizes. There are many restaurants in Queenstown, but none quite like the Skyline Restaurant which boasts the best views in the region. Here we feasted on a buffet offering fresh seafood, salads, roast meat and desserts whilst enjoying the panoramic view from our table by the window.

Breacon St Queenstown New Zealand 9300 Ph: +64 3441 0101