Voted as one of the best small cities in the world, Queenstown remains the ultimate year-round getaway. From an action-packed morning hitting the ski slopes of Cardrona to a blissful afternoon relaxing in a scenic hot tub, followed by an evening in the city sampling world-class food and wine – your options are endless. Here’s what 48 hours in this enchanting resort town could look like:
5pm If you’re lucky enough to fly into Queenstown during the day, you’ll want to grab a window seat to best soak in the breathtaking views you’ll experience as you touch down. Upon arrival check yourself into one of the city’s countless accommodation options, whether it be a lush lake-side apartment or a boutique hotel.
7pm Celebrate your first night at one of Queenstown’s premier dining spots, like at the iconic Eichardt’s Bar for whiskey-tasting and tapas, or head to Rātā, an innovative eatery showcasing the South Island’s freshest produce and seafood.
8am Start your morning off right with breakfast at Bespoke Kitchen, an award-winning specialty café offering a wide range of delicious brunch options, from the classic egg’s benny to colourful smoothie bowls and vegan strawberry floss pancakes. Superb coffee seals the deal.
9am A short walk away, get your bearings by ascending some 450 metres to the top of Bob’s Peak on the Skyline Gondola. Sit back and watch Queenstown’s sensational scenery come into full panoramic view as you reach the summit. At the top, take your pick from a variety of adrenalin-fuelled activities, like luging, ziplining, paragliding and downhill mountain biking.
12pm Back in town, grab a carb-loaded creation at local institution, Fergburger. The beloved food joint often has queues out the door, but their epic burgers – labelled by many (including Ed Sheeran) as the best in the world – are well worth the wait.
1pm After lunch, get amongst some of Queenstown’s thrilling adventure activities. If you’re visiting in winter, an afternoon on one of the region’s four ski fields might be the go, or to really get your heart racing, head to Kawarau Bridge in Gibbston Valley to brave it on the world’s first commercial bungy site.
5pm Time to unwind from an action-packed day with a spa session at the super-luxe Onsen Hot Pools. These private, spring-fed hot pools are nestled high on a cliff with insta-worthy views of the Shotover River below. Book your pool for later in the evening and enjoy a spot of stargazing with a glass of bubbly in hand. We recommend booking well in advance as spots get snapped up quickly!
7pm In the city, take a stroll along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and stop at one of the lakefront bars to raise a toast to your day in Queenstown and to watch the sunset behind the picture-perfect Remarkables.
9am For a quick breakfast on the go you can’t look past Fergbaker, the sweeter sister of Fergburger. Home to all manner of tempting freshly prepared pastries and baked goods, our picks include the smoked salmon bagel, the slow-cooked lamb and kumura pie, and the chocolate almond croissant. Calories don’t count on holiday, right?
10am This morning, take a 15-minute drive (or a 45-minute bus ride) to nearby Arrowtown. This picturesque gold rush village offers a charming glimpse into New Zealand’s 19th-century past. Explore the historic main street with its well-preserved heritage buildings before stopping for a coffee at one of the town’s many cafes.
12pm Central Otago is New Zealand’s most scenic wine region, so a visit to a few of the local wineries is a must. Whether you opt to join a tour or decide to set off on your own, Gibbston Valley should be your first port-of-call, world famous for its aromatic Pinot Noir. For a delicious long lunch paired with a tasting paddle, visit Amisfield Bistro & Cellar Door, just a 15-minute drive from the city.
4pm As your wonderful weekend draws to a close, spend your last few hours back in the city soaking in the stunning surroundings (and burning off some of that cheese and wine) on one of the nearby walking trails. Alternatively, explore the town’s botanical gardens or spend some time leisurely browsing the boutiques, galleries and fashion stores for some last-minute retail therapy.