Queenstown — Day 1

It’s often difficult when preparing a multi-centre itinerary such as this one to decide on how long to spend in each place. Should it be one night or two? Will there be enough to see and do there to justify the additional night? From the outset, I had decided to overnight in Queenstown for two nights whereas almost every place else on the itinerary was getting just one night. As it turns out, I made the right decision although three nights would have been even better. Like most visitor’s to Queenstown, I am here for the adrenaline-inducing experiences of jet boats, bungee jumps and paragliding.  I would love to do a sky-dive but suspect that I’m over the weight limit as I think that you have to come in under 110 kgs and I’m almost 120. What I wasn’t prepared for was Queenstown being so beautiful! It has the most amazing location, situated along Lake Watakipu, with the local mountain range — the Remarkables — acting as the perfect backdrop. This is a rich town. A lot of people have made a lot of money here from tourists and it shows. It’s like a cross between Pier 39 in San Francisco and St Moritz with a heavy concentration of bars, shops, good-quality restaurants and all the usual trinket shops and tourist crap! It also happens to be the place where I’ve eaten my best meal yet and redeemed my faith in Kiwi cuisine. `Located in the heart of downtown Queenstown beside what is known local as the ‘Steamer Wharf’, Pier 19 is an up market restaurant that absolutely buzzes every night. The staff are extremely professional, the menu top class and the food excellent. It’s not cheap but certainly nothing more expensive than an equivalent standard restaurant in Ireland. Think Peploes in Dublin.

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