Travel | My Trip to Queenstown New Zealand

Queenstown has always been on my to see list during winter. I finally decided to tick it off my list in August this year. During my week in Queenstown, I was blessed with the best weather with little to no rain, light snow overnight and relatively warm sunny days. Its fair to say my week in Queenstown was full of adventure!

I had nine days in Queenstown.  I flew from Brisbane to Queenstown via Sydney with Qantas and had a direct flight back to Brisbane from Queenstown. I think the best piece of advice I was given for this trip was to get a window seat to catch a glimpse of the beautiful snow capped mountains on arrival to Queenstown airport. Once I arrived at the airport, I was pick up by the car rental company and taken to pick up my car for the week.

I usually use Omega Car Rentals when in New Zealand as I find they have a great range of cars at really affordable prices. I would recommend renting a car while in Queenstown/New Zealand as it makes it so much easier to get around due to lack of public transport and cost of taxis.

My accommodation for the first part of the trip was organised by my lovely parents as a birthday present. For last two nights I stayed at the Hilton Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. This resort is 10 minutes out of Queenstown town centre and is an alpine style resort with beautiful stone fireplaces in each room and a balcony that offers lake views.

In town there are many hotels, resorts and backpackers available to suit each budget and from what I could see from the accommodation I found on offer it was all great quality. Check out Trip Advisor to see which accommodation would be suit your trip.

As this was a solo trip for me, most of my meals were for one. I found many beautiful cafes and restaurants scattered in and around Queenstown town centre and also at Remarkables Park Town Centre near the airport. My favourite place was Pedro’s House of Lamb. There is only one option for a meal, which is, one whole lamb shoulder baked with rosemary and garlic served with scalloped potatoes and it is only available as a takeaway meal. But don’t let this put you off; this was the best lamb I have ever tasted! I was lucky enough to share the meal with a couple staying next door to me and we were talking about the lamb for the rest of the week.

Things to See and Do

Milford Sound 

Milford Sound was the highlight of my Queenstown trip.  After seeing photos of this beautiful place for the last few years, I knew I couldn’t go to Queenstown without visiting this beautiful spot.

I travelled with Real Journeys on this day trip to Milford Sound. The round trip is around 12-13 hours but totally worth it. The day consisted of 10 hours return on the coach with stops and a nearly 2 hour-long cruise through the sound. The coach was lovely with seat that could recline, USB charging points for your phone and a glass roof to make viewing easier. And the boat was beautiful with big decks to stand outside on and take in the view. I would take a warm jacket, as it can get very cold outside.

The coach, which picked me up from near my hotel that was pre arrange with Real Journeys. As I was the last to get on before our first stop the driver saved a window seat for myself, which was lovely. We stopped at Te Anau for breakfast/morning tea/coffee and to check out the town briefly.  We then continued on to Fiordland National Park stopping at a few places along the way for photo opportunities if time permits. We stopped at Mirror Lakes and it was absolutely stunning.

Once we arrived at Milford Sound it became very clear why this place is on just about every New Zealand tourism ad and pamphlet. There in front of me stood the incredible Mitre Peak sprinkled in snow surrounded by clouds and more snow. 

Due to rain a couple of days before and heavy snowfall overnight that was starting to melt, the waterfalls scattered all the way around Milford Sound were a site you wouldn’t want to miss.

K Jet 

K Jet is a Jet Boat ride that departs from the Main Town Pier in Queenstown every hour.  The journey last around 60 minutes during which time you experience unforgettable spins and thrills.  The journey is 43km and is a great way to see Queenstown from another angle. You can purchase a copy of footage after your trip and your also get free entry into the Underwater Observatory where you can see the fish that live in the lake.


Arrowtown is a charming and quirky town just out of Queenstown. Arrowtown is a historic gold mining town, which is rich in history that you can explore.  Have a bite to eat in one of the great cafes or restaurants along the main street, check out the many shops selling clothing and produce or explore around the Arrow River that runs behind the town.

Alpine Helicopter Landing

I really wanted to see snow while I was in New Zealand but wasn’t too sure about visiting the local ski fields. While looking for things to do, I came across The Helicopter Line and their alpine landing on The Remarkables.  The flight and landing was 20 minutes, which was just enough to walk around in the snow, check out the view and take a few photos. On the return journey we did a short flight over the Frankton area.

Onsen Hot Pools

When I arrived in Queenstown this place was booked out for most of my stay. Lucky enough on my second last day they had a few time slots left. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to end a full on week of adventure.

Onsen Hot Pools is located just out of town. They offer a pickup service from town if you don’t have transportation. Once you arrive you can wait in the lounge area until your room is ready or you can sit out on the beautiful deck and take in the view. Once in your room, you will see the retractable window that offers an amazing view of the mountains and Shotover River and a shower to rinse off before and after your soak. You can choose all different packages including champagne and tea to suit your visit to Onsen Hot Pools.

Gondola at Skyline Queenstown

I have previously experienced the Skyline Gondola in Rotorua and that was a highlight of my time so I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to do it again this time. Skyline Queenstown offers luge rides and bungy jumping. You can also grab a bite to eat or coffee at the café and enjoy the view over Queenstown.

1 comment

  1. Sounds like you had a great trip away down in the beautiful Queenstown!