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Queenstown’s changed since we last saw it

Queenstown is the southern belle of New Zealand — a pretty town on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by shark-tooth mountains.

And, with borders open again and a choice of ways to get there, autumnal colours are dominating the landscape, with local produce, super food and all sorts of beverage and wellness experiences dominating the town.

But winter is coming, and that’s when Queenstown really comes into its own. Snow sports are different here to, say, the ski-in, ski-out experience in Japan because the town generally stays snow-free, and skiers and boarders travel 25 to 90 minutes into its four adjacent ski areas.

There is terrain for all levels and abilities — and snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing and apres-ski scene for those who don’t ski or snowboard. It’s just a great time to be in Queenstown.

Anticipated open dates for the ski fields are:

• Cardrona ski field, June 11.

• Coronet Peak, June 17.

• The Remarkables ski field, June 18.

• Treble Cone, June 25.

WHERE TO STAY

A lot has changed on the accommodation front since we were last allowed to travel there . . .

The Carlin Boutique Hotel Queenstown

The Carlin Boutique Hotel is brand new. It opened in March 2022, a boutique luxury hotel and labour of love for property developer, composer and hospitality industry veteran Kevin Carlin. The son of a symphony arranger and composer, he was immersed in music throughout his childhood, and The Princess of Wales — Musical & Pictorial Memoir is his latest work. The Carlin Hotel has private spas, in-room dining options, cocktails on arrival, live music and stand-up comedy evenings, decadent afternoon high tea, and prides itself on high service levels.

Driftaway Queenstown

The Driftaway Queenstown also opened in March 2022. On the Frankton Arm foreshore, it offers a ramped-up holiday park experience. The cabins are “architectural”, and there is a modern Facility Hub, and spacious camp sites.

Sudima Queenstown Five Mile

This 4½ star hotel opened in December 2021. Once again, the Sudima Queenstown Five Mile is in the vibrant Frankton area, in the Five Mile retail precinct. It has well-appointed rooms, restaurant, bar, bike and ski storage and free parking.

Quest Queenstown

Quest Queenstown came on the scene just a month before, in November 2021. Quest has serviced apartment-style hotel rooms; good for both short or longer stays. Quest Queenstown is close to Queenstown International Airport and a short drive into central Queenstown.

Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park

November 2021 also saw the opening of Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park. In the Remarkables Park precinct, five minutes from Queenstown Airport, this full-service hotel has 182 rooms, a restaurant, cafe and bar.

Queenstown House Lakeside Luxury Apartments

On the shore of Lake Wakatipu with views of the Remarkables, Queenstown House Lakeside Luxury Apartments opened in May 2021. These are stylish studio and one-bedroom apartments with on-site parking, just a couple of minutes walk from the centre of town. There are five apartments available, each accommodating up to three people. There are cooking facilities and all mod cons.

GETTING THERE

  • Air New Zealand has direct flights form Perth to Auckland, with connections to Queenstown.
  • Or fly Qantas, Virgin or Jetstar to Sydney and connect to Queenstown.
  • More efficiently, fly to Melbourne and connect to Qantas’ 3hr 30min. direct flight to Queenstown.
  • More information on Queenstown at queenstownNZ.nz

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