Another Queenstown Adventure

Queenstown has quickly become my go-to travel destination when I’m looking for a getaway that makes you feel like you really got away from home, even though it’s not that far away at all. With its quaint little streets and laneways, and people visiting from all over the world, it almost feels like you’re in a different country.

During winter, Queenstown turns into a bit of a winter wonderland, with its snowy mountains, cold temperatures, and the bustling little town. It was about 2 degrees for the majority of the time we were there, which was a great opportunity to bust out the various beanies and gloves sitting in my draw that don’t get much wear here in Auckland.

Having been to Queenstown a couple of times already (which you can read about here), and feeling well in need of a relaxing break after a busy semester, Mum and I decided to skip the adventure activities and opted for a long weekend of hot pools, wine, and good food.

Our first stop upon arrival was Vudu Cafe, which has quickly become one of my favourite spots for a bite to eat in Queenstown. The coffee is delish, and even though I haven’t tried any of it, the cabinet food is beautiful. On this visit, I tried the vegan samosa which was pretty nice, and huggge.

Of course, a visit to the Onsen Hot Pools was a must. This is such a luxurious, relaxing experience. With beautiful views of the Shotover River, a glass of wine in one hand, and ice cream in the other, this is an ideal way to escape the cold weather.

Whilst in Queenstown, a trip to Arrowtown is always in order too. It’s such a cute little town, with tonnes of cafes to choose from. We sheltered from the rain in the Bonjour french cafe, and had delicious coffee and a late breakfast. I went for the scrambled eggs in a croissant which was the perfect option for me – it warmed me up but didn’t leave me feeling too full. There were little games at each table, which resulted in an inter-table competition. Such a cute little place that I would 100% head back to.

One of the things that we really wanted to do whilst in Queenstown was to find a vineyard where we could have a delicious lunch and a nice glass of wine. We decided to go to Gibbston Valley. I had been here previously and loved it, so was keen to go back. We ordered the Harvest platter to share, which had all the good things on it, and I had a nice glass of Pinot Noir on the side. With its relaxed and cozy atmosphere, Gibbston Valley was the perfect spot to while away a rainy Friday afternoon.

Another trip highlight was our Saturday morning drive to Glenorchy. I had remembered this being an easy 20 minute drive around the lake, but turns out it was more of a 45 minute drive (sorry Mum!). I particularly wanted to go to Glenorchy because of the spectacular views of the lake and mountains, but sadly when we got there, the rain and clouds meant that we couldn’t see much of anything. Instead, we found a busy little cafe called the Sugar Loaf Cafe, where I had the veggie breakfast. Having been opting to eat vegetarian meals more often than not these days, I’ve noticed that decent vegetarian options are lacking in a lot of places, so I was thrilled to see a vegetarian breakfast front and centre on the menu. It was absolutely delicious. When we left the cafe, the cloud had lifted a little, so we were able to get some photos of the scenery after all.

Our final dinner in Queenstown was at the My Thai Lounge. We were drawn in by the lakeside views and numerous pretty umbrellas hanging from the ceiling. The food was all so tasty, and the ceiling was totally gram-able.

Before we flew home, we stopped for brunch at Bespoke Kitchen. I actually found this when I spied a photo of their beautiful food on the Queenstown Instagram story. My orange spiced pancakes were a treat for the tastebuds, the coffee was great (seems that coffee in Queenstown is just good everywhere), and the cabinet food looked amazing. The cafe was so busy that we were only able to get a spot outside in the 3 degree weather, but it was totally worth it. It turns out that Bespoke Kitchen is run but the same people who own Vudu, which totally makes sense, as the menus were kind of similar (different meals but similar in style).

So there you have it – I did warn you that the trip was spent eating and drinking, and having written it all down, I definitely wasn’t wrong. Have you been to Queenstown? Where’s your favourite place to go?

Pancakes at Bespoke Kitchen

My Thai Lounge

Glenorchy

Lake Wakatipu

Harvest Platter at Gibbston Valley

Lake Wakatipu in the rain

Onsen Hot Pools

Vegan Samosa from Vudu Cafe

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Whirlwind Weekend in Wellington

A couple of weeks ago, I jumped on an early morning flight to Wellington, for a quick little weekend getaway. The primary purpose of our trip was to visit the Te Papa Museum to see the Gallipoli exhibition, but other than that, we skipped the touristy stuff and opted for a weekend of eating, drinking and window shopping. Here are the highlights:

Gallipoli: The Scale of War Exhibition at Te Papa Museum

Te Papa is one of those “must do” things if you’re a first time visitor to Wellington. It’s a cool museum, perfect for a rainy day, like the day we went. This time we went specifically to the Gallipoli exhibition, which we had heard was amazing, and it absolutely went above and beyond my expectations. This exhibition would be fascinating for anyone, but for those of us New Zealanders who grew up learning about Gallipoli, and commemorate it on ANZAC Day each year, the exhibition is truly worth seeing. I was amazed by how much I learned, how much I didn’t know, and how emotional it made me feel. Truly amazing, and truly worth the trip. I believe it is on for at least another year or two, so definitely check it out.

The Arborist

This popular bar and restaurant was next door to our hotel, so it was the perfect spot for an afternoon wine before heading out for dinner. The decor was very cool, and the menu looked delicious. If we had been hanging around Wellington longer I would have been very keen to come back for a meal. It also has a rooftop bar, but sadly as it was raining, the rooftop was closed when we were there. Next time we are back in Wellington I will be heading back here for a meal and a glass of wine at the rooftop bar.

Neo Cafe

We stopped in here for a morning coffee, and the Whittakers chocolate cake caught my eye, but it was far too early for cake at that time (is it ever too early for cake though?). The cake stuck in my mind all day, so before our flight home, I dragged us back to Neo Cafe so that I could pick up a slice to take home with me. This was the BEST. CAKE. EVER. For those of you who are not from New Zealand, Whittakers chocolate is pretty much our pride and joy, and is the most delicious thing ever. So you can imagine that a cake made from Whittakers is truly delightful. To top it off, it even had salted caramel icing. And I’m not even really a cake person.

Our whirlwind weekend trip totally reignited my love for Wellington, and I can’t wait to get back there asap (mostly for the cake). Are there any places that I need to hit next time?

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