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11 Jun 2017

New Zealand Adventure - Part II

After a week and a half making our way around the North and South islands, we finally ended up in Queenstown. Jarv has some family friends who live out there and were kind enough to offer us their guesthouse for the duration of our stay.

I think the pictures speak for themselves:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Queenstown, New Zealand

It was a pretty epic guesthouse and view. All that to themselves! Really makes one think...

We made instant friends with their two Standard Poodles. Sweet Sophie below has cataracts and is a glossy eyed, calm old girl whilst the much younger Paddy, not pictured, had a much more excitable temperament, often stealing the limelight from poor Sophie.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Queenstown, New Zealand

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THE CARDRONA: QUAD BIKE TOUR
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Our first escapade: quad biking up a mountain. I psyched myself out before going, convincing myself these were terribly dangerous machines that were not at all to be trusted, etc. etc. Needless to say, we had a fantastic time. Whilst, yes, you do have to be vigilant whilst riding and always keep a firm grip (and if you have weak upper body strength, I probably wouldn't recommend you go riding on very hilly/uneven terrain to be honest), we were free to go as slow (or speedy) as we felt comfortable with. Through amazing bends and streams and paths up the mountain we went; at no point were we in danger of falling off any mountainsides! For our efforts, we were rewarded with amazing valley views:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Cardrona quad bikes, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Cardrona quad bikes, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Cardrona quad bikes, New Zealand

Our guide was knowledgable, friendly, professional and relaxed, and we had him all to ourselves. I'd highly recommend a tour with The Cardrona. It was my first time riding, so don't feel like you need to be an expert. There are a variety of routes you can take and your guide will be happy to go via any of them, depending on your experience level.


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WANAKA & RIPPON VINEYARD 
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After that exhilarating ride, we drove up to Wanaka (Cardrona is on the way from Queenstown to Wanaka). Wanaka is a scenic town built around its eponymous lake, a place where people flock to go skiing in the winter and swim and enjoy water-sports in the summer.

We left the car parked in Wanaka town centre and began a 45 minute walk up to Rippon Vineyard, passing the famous Wanaka tree on our way.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wanaka tree, New Zealand



We arrived, sweating and thirsty, just in time for the next wine tasting. Rippon Vineyard is a family-owned and run biodynamically farmed vineyard that has been around since 1982. Fun fact: it's often quoted as being the most photographed vineyard in the world. It's not difficult to see why. 

Nick Mills, the son of Lois and Rolfe Mills (who originally planted a few rows of experimental vines in the land that would later go on to become Rippon Vineyard) is the head winemaker (he's also a former Olympic skier!). One of the whites that was new to me was a deliciously dry Gewurztraminer; a new one to add to the ever-growing list of 'fantastic wines I had in New Zealand'...

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wanaka Rippon Vineyard, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wanaka Rippon Vineyard, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wanaka Rippon Vineyard, New Zealand

We found a 'shortcut' back to Wanaka town, which cut our walking time down to about half an hour via the vines and lake, treating us to stunning views the entire way. If you find yourself in Wanaka, treat yourself to an ice cream at Patagonia - they're incredibly decadent and generously portioned! They also have branches in Queenstown and Arrowtown.


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QUEENSTOWN
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We didn't actually make it into the actual town centre in Queenstown until our third day in the area. It is as stunning as people say, but it's worth noting that it is of course a destination town, meaning it is constantly filled with tourists and therefore geared at tourists. This creates a fun, happy, 'holiday mode' vibe but it also feels like a bit of a bubble and the town centre isn't really much of an authentically local experience. However, there are still a myriad of great activities worth going there for!

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Queenstown, New Zealand

During our afternoon wandering by the water, we decided last minute to give the Thunder Jet a whirl. Why not, we figured; it looked like fun.

It was! Our guide blasted some great tunes (like the Foo Fighters) and took us on a gorgeous ride through the pristine landscape of the Shotover and Kawarau rivers, places only accessible via helicopter or jet boat. At one stage, we saw a herd of cows just...hanging out on a beach. A rather bizarre sight 😳. Oh, and the jet is famous for performing 360 degree turns so if you go, prepare to get splashed and hold on tight. Thoroughly good fun 😊


Euriental | luxury travel & style | Thunder Jet Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Thunder Jet Queenstown, New Zealand

My parents, having visited two years prior, recommended we try Fergburger - famed for delicious burgers the size of a toddler's head. Now, I live in London, where we have some of the greatest burgers in the world (in my humble opinion 😄). If you've been to Patty and Bun, you'll know what I mean. So I was a little dubious. Nevertheless, we knew we had to give them a try so off we went. If you call ahead and place an order instead of eating in, you skip the giant queues and simply collect at a different window. 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Fergburger Queenstown, New Zealand

We took our burger (we weren't particularly hungry that afternoon so decided to share...I mean, it's the size of two regular burgers anyway) to a nearby park to sit in the sun. You know what? It was good! Really good. Juicy, flavourful, enooormous and satisfying. I'm still a loyal Patty and Bun fan but I thoroughly enjoyed Fergburger and I'd happily recommend it.

For meat lovers, I'd also suggest Flame Bar & Grill. They have an amazing meat platter to share and if you're lucky enough to sit in the conservatory area as we were, you can enjoy a view of the water and people strolling below.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Fergburger Queenstown, New Zealand

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ARROWTOWN
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A historic gold-mining town about a 20 minute drive from Queenstown, Arrowtown is a quaint settlement with a number of well-preserved shops, cafes, restaurants and a museum. The town itself is fairly small, but if you do find yourself there I would recommend coffee and lunch at The Chop Shop. Their outdoor terrace is lovely (though there are a few wasps...for anyone who is as jumpy as me when they're around) and the food is delicious and fresh. 

There is some stunning scenery outside of Arrowtown town centre (I feel like I say that about all of NZ), so a bike ride or car drive around is highly encouraged.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chop Shop Arrowtown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Arrowtown, New Zealand

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QUEENSTOWN HELI TOURS 
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This was one of the biggest highlights of the trip and a huge bucket list tick for me. We'd originally booked a helicopter ride for the previous afternoon but were told we'd have to move it to the next morning as they needed one more person in the helicopter and nobody else had booked for the morning we wanted. Although this meant that now we had to 'share' the helicopter with 2 other couples, it wasn't enough to put a damper on my excitement.

Over lakes, mountains and the city we flew, the pilot pointing out particular areas of interest along the way.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Heli Tours Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | heli tours Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | heli tours Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | heli tours Queenstown, New Zealand

About half an hour into the flight, the pilot landed atop a glacier and we were able to jump out for fifteen minutes of alpine exploration. I can't describe the feeling - stepping out onto a snowy mountain in the middle of summer overlooking this beautiful, unspoilt valley landscape. We spent every minute with giant grins on our faces.

Fifteen minutes later we'd taken our photos and admired the view (and I'd snuck in a cheeky snowball aimed at Jarv's head), so back into the helicopter we went, over the mountains and lakes and back to base.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | heli tours Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | heli tours Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | heli tours Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Heli Tours Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Heli Tours Queenstown, New Zealand

If you wish to book a helicopter ride with Heli Tours Queenstown, make sure you read the terms and call them on the morning of your ride to confirm you'll be OK to go. Be prepared to be flexible, as weather conditions or lack of other passengers may mean you are unable to go at the original time you'd hoped.

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ONSEN HOT POOLS
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From the chilly peak of a snowy mountain to the warmth and tranquility of a private onsen we went. Onsen Hot Pools is set up high on a cliff, a mere 10 minute drive from Queenstown centre. The water used in the onsens is pure spring water and each hot pool is completely private, overlooking the gorgeous Shotover River canyon. Every now and then we'd spot a helicopter passing by above or a jet whizzing by down below, frequent reminders of all the excitement we'd been experiencing over the last few days.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Onsen Hot Pools Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Onsen Hot Pools, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Onsen Hot Pools Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Onset Hot Pools Queenstown, New Zealand

We went for The Tandeki experience, meaning our booking came with a selection of NZ treats, an aromatherapy burner and two glasses of local wine.


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AMISFIELD 
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On our final afternoon in New Zealand we headed to award-winning Amisfield for dinner. This came highly recommended by our family friends so we were really looking forward to a long, leisurely lunch in the sun with some fantastic food and wine. It far exceeded our expectations.

We were seated outside with two of their Sinking Spritzes to begin with (Sauvignon Blanc, Aperol, Cocchi Rosa, Picon Club, elderflower cordial). We both decided to go for the "Trust the Chef" menu, me without wine pairings, Jarv with.

With Trust the Chef you leave everything in the hands of more-than-capable chef Vaughan Mabee, who has worked in world class kitchens such as Noma; a good indication that the food will not disappoint. Forgive me for not remembering what many of the dishes below were - there was no menu to refer to, just plate after plate of beautiful, fresh produce. Just know that it was all excellent!


Euriental | luxury travel & style | Amisfield Queenstown, New Zealand

Savoury beetroot macarons on the left...can't recall what's on the right 🤔

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Amisfield Queenstown, New Zealand

I still crave the freshly baked sourdough bread with duck fat. Drool.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Amisfield Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Amisfield Queenstown, New Zealand

Scallop on the left, sea urchin vol au vent on the right.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Amisfield Queenstown, New Zealand
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Amisfield Queenstown, New Zealand

At this stage, chef Mabee came over himself to generously grate fresh truffles alllll over the meat. Absolutely moreish.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Amisfield Queenstown, New Zealand

If you have time, definitely treat yourself to an incredible meal at Amisfield. The atmosphere is wonderful, staff are very friendly and efficient and the food is delectable. Obviously it goes without saying that the wine is brilliant too. You can't go wrong here, especially sitting outside in their gorgeous garden in the summertime.

Well, here we are, at the end of a long (long for us, anyway) two weeks in New Zealand. Remarkable, impressive, breathtaking New Zealand...two weeks is nowhere near enough to see even half of the country, it deserves a full month at least. I can't wait to go back.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Queenstown, New Zealand

14 comments :

  1. I am stunned with all the photos, and i want to visit New Zealand as soon as possible. Great!!

    www.theninebyivana.blogspot.com

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  2. Wow your photos are stunning, I so want to visit this country, hopefully someday soon!

    Valerie
    xo

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  3. new zealand is a place i canNOT wait to visit...your pictures are gorgeous and it sounds like you had quite the adventure!

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  4. OMG! Evey single shot is a little masterpiece!! And that DOG! The cutest! Love the cherry bikini:))
    Kira xxx

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  5. Queenstown was one of my fav spots in New Zealand. I agree that it can feel like a tourist bubble but the landscape is stunning. We went skiing on the Remarkables, did the Shotover jet, and rambled on some hiking trails. I also thoroughly endorse the Fergburger. I tried it way back in 2004 and I'm glad to hear the quality has remained consistent. Also, I'm pleased to see their new storefront!

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  6. Although the scenery is absolutely stunning, i was drawn to one thing in this post.... the food! That burger from Fergburger looks delicious!
    I have always wanted to eat at Noma so having my meal cooked by a chef that has worked there would be the next best thing - That scallop <3

    It looks like you had an incredible trip and managed to pack so much in!

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  7. Quad biking all over the mountains with that view would be terrific. Queenstown is a slice of heaven with that clean air and blue waters. And what a way to finish a day off by going into the hot pools and just relaxing and taking it easy.

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  8. Quad biking all over the mountains with that view would be terrific. Queenstown is a slice of heaven with that clean air and blue waters. And what a way to finish a day off by going into the hot pools and just relaxing and taking it easy.

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  9. I am an adventure enthusiast and can’t wait to be in New Zealand. I have heard great things about NZ. That sourdough bread looks great. I am a vegetarian though so duck fat doesn’t tempt me. I love the simple yet classy presentation of the dishes.

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  10. Your photos are stunning and the places you went to sound and look so luxurious! It definitely sounds like an amazing trip!

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  11. what an incredible journey you have both been on! Your photography is incredible I love the landscape images. New Zealand is somewhere I'm so drawn to and this post has made me want to go even more...one day!

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  12. What an awesome, comprehensive post! And what an adventure. Quad biking, jet boats and helicopters - so cool! I'd be pretty happy flying around on a jet boat with Foo Fighters blaring too! The photos are gorgeous! Can't wait to get to New Zealand!

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  13. Loved the landscapes..and you got to fly over them...awesome! The food looks delicious...must have for a good vacation. I guess I would love to lounge forever in the vineyards...thanks for sharing your awesome journey!

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  14. This looks like one insanely amazing adventure! The food, the views... the perfect rug in your guesthouse, haha! I always enjoy your travel diaries so, SO much.

    aglassofice.com
    x

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