If you thought that Queenstown was simply a skiing destination with snow thicker than Eugene Levy‘s eyebrows, you’d be wildly mistaken. While the slopes are second to none and the mountains are chockers with skiers and snowboarders alike, Queenstown is the gift that keeps on giving. The good type of gift too, not one of those low-quality gifts that you give to the in-laws in a meagre act of defiance.
Take a gander at some of the other winter activities New Zealand‘s South Island town has to offer.
It’s Wine O’Clock
If your legs need a break, settle in with a nice wine as you write a not-so-subtle email back to your family about how you’re having a much better time than they probably are.
Queenstown is also home to an insane amount of wineries catered to every wine enthusiast under the sun. There are private tours for those who want to savour their pinot without having to make small talk with the overly enthusiastic couple who happen to have grown up in your neighbourhood, or there are group tours in case you happen to be that overly enthusiastic couple.
Pro tip: If you want to try some yummo wine off the beaten track, skip the wine tour completely and sneak off to the Wet Jacket cellars.
Have A Dip In The Hot Pools
Is there anything more relaxing than a soul-warming dip in a hot pool during a chilly winter’s day? I’m actually asking, the previous time I planned to go to a hot pool I forgot to book in advance and got turned away the door. Not my finest hour.
At the Onsen hot pools, prepare to be gobsmacked. Nestled on a cliffside and overlooking the Shotover River canyon, these heated pools can reach almost 40 degrees Celsius on the colder winter days, making it the perfect location to laze about and dread ever having to return back to your regular life. Or don’t, stay in Queenstown forever and tell work you’ve come down with an eternal cold.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
Take shelter from the blistering cold and spend a day indoors treating yo’self. Make sure you budget back home before heading over to QT so you can drop cash on anything that catches your fancy, regardless of whether you need it or not.
You can always use the fallback excuse, “I was on holiday!”, if people question your excessive spending habits. Plus, if you spend your entire life savings away from your place of residence, did you even spend your entire life savings? Philosophy 101.
Slide Into The Après-Ski Sesh
After a hectic day of carving up the mountains, (figuratively, not literally. Let’s try and conserve the environment), head out to one of Queenstown’s dozens of après-ski shindigs.
Head to The World Bar for an afternoon of mingling with locals and tourists, and if you’re feeling exceptionally adventurous, attempt to have an entire conversation with strangers under the guise of your alter ego from Iceland. You’ll get found out almost immediately for your atrocious accent, but if anything, consider it an ice-breaker. It’s worked for me 30 percent of the time. The other 70 percent of the time I’ve ended up enjoying the views alone and sad.
Eat Your Weight In Food
If you’ve tuckered yourself out completely after spending an intense seven hours attempting to get off the chairlift, settle in for a night of feasting and let yourself slip into an intense but rewarding food coma.
Queenstown’s cosmopolitan dining hosts an insane combination of culture and food, so you’re bound to find at least one cuisine which your satisfies your picky partner. If you’re a crafty bugger, you can combine your love for food, alcohol and Irish folklore at Morrison’s Irish Pub, or fancy it up at Rata.
Hit three restaurants and four pubs in one night if you’re feeling crazy, there’s that many to choose from. Consider it a pub crawl for your stomach. A gut crawl if you will.
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The key is to ensure you don’t overdo it on food or beverages, there’s a strong chance you want to beat the masses to the slopes for max ski time by sneaking out a the wee hours of the morning.