Romantic Getaways: Queenstown, New Zealand

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Sitting on the shore of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu with a dramatic backdrop of mountain ranges, Queenstown combines stunning location with a natural playground appealing to adventurers of all types - especially anyone looking for a romantic getaway. For couples who want to get away from it all but not sacrifice life’s luxuries, Queenstown and neighbouring Wanaka tick all the boxes and more. You can stay in luxury accommodation, eat and drink at world class dining venues, and have some adventure filled antics, whatever the season. Each one has its own special vibe, with a lineup of options on offer from adrenaline activities to golf and wine tasting. Here’s our top pick for couples seeking out the good life away from home. 

Stay Somewhere Fabulous 

Queenstown has a wide range of options, but for true luxury combined with a quiet, lakeside location, The Rees Hotel is an ideal choice and the kind of property you dream about returning to long after you have left. It has panoramic views of the lake and mountains which are beyond spectacular from every room, impeccable service, and a variety of luxurious and incredibly spacious accommodation options. Also on site is fine dining at True South Dining Room (see below), the work of an award-winning chef, and activities ranging from a fleet of mountain bikes available to house guests,a private jetty offering access to jet boat and water taxi services, a gym, the Body Sanctum spa, and a complimentary shuttle service to/from Queenstown town centre. New to the accommodation lineup is The Rees Lakeside Residences, a small collection of spacious three bedroom, three-and-half bathroom, air-conditioned villas; with expansive lake and mountain views, and offering the ultimate in privacy within a hotel, they are ideal for couples who desire more space and independence on the road (to read our review on The Rees Hotel, click here, and to read our review on The Rees Lakeside Residences, click here). 

Enjoy Fine Food

The Rees is such an all-encompassing type of place it can be hard to leave, and with a dining room like True South Dining Room on site, this becomes even more difficult. This multi-award winning venue, which has the rising culinary Executive Chef, Ben Batterbury, at the helm, is also one of Queenstown’s hottest. What you can expect is a journey through an array of freshly prepared dishes using local suppliers and produce; the offering changes monthly, but Ben’s signature style of fresh, clean New Zealand flavours served with creativity is always on the menu. Also on offer is access to a private cellar of one of the most comprehensive collections of fine Bordeaux wines in the Southern Hemisphere, and a choice of the best wines from the different sub-regions of Central Otago. In town, Fergbaker is a bakery offering all manner of tempting treats, including inventive pies, filled rolls and a lineup of sweet treats. And if you're after gelato, Mrs Ferg is right next door, or head to Patagonia, to sample more than 24 ice cream flavours, along with Spanish doughnuts called churros. And for a caffeine top-up while exploring, try Vudu Cafe & Larder, which has a lakeside location, home-style baked goods and great coffee.

Go Wine Tasting 

Central Otago's Pinot Noir wine country is right on your door step when you stay in Queenstown. It’s the Southernmost wine producing region in the world, and home to some of the world’s best wines and captivating landscapes. One way to experience it is joining The Rees Hotel’s General Manager and wine expert, Mark Rose, on a private and bespoke tour using one of the hotel’s luxury vehicles. This privately guided and tailored tour, where you are transported in one of the hotel’s luxury vehicles, takes you to the region’s best wineries for exclusive sit-downs with winemakers, providing an insight into the journey of vine to grape to barrel to bottle. Another way to go is by helicopter. After a luxury transfer from The Rees Hotel to Queenstown International Airport, you’ll take to the skies with The Helicopter Line to savour panoramic views and wine tasting at Mt. Difficulty Winery and Rippon Vineyard, with a stop at the historic Cardrona Pub, New Zealand’s oldest hotel, for a drink before returning to Queenstown.

Hit The Ski Fields

Queenstown has world famous ski fields, with no less than four ski areas offering snow fans varied and true alpine terrain, and the closest one, Coronet Peak, located just a 20 minute drive from the town centre. Queenstown also has one of the longest seasons in the southern hemisphere, welcoming skiers and snowboarders from June to October, and ski passes are available for a single day and ski area, through to season passes giving unlimited access to all four The other ski areas include The Remarkables, which are 40 minutes away, Cardrona, approximately an hour away, and within reach for a long day-trip Treble Cone, which is about 90 minutes away. Queenstown skiing is ideal for fair weather skiers with stable weather and resorts which rarely close. An option for the truly adventurous is heli-skiing, which includes a spectacular helicopter flight up the Southern Alps, and skiing or snowboarding on virgin snow.

Play A Round Of Golf

It might surprise new visitors to Queenstown that the resort is a year-round golfing destination, as well as home to some of the most spectacular golf courses in New Zealand. There are seven golf courses in total in the general area, all within a 45 minute drive, and which will appeal to every level of golfer, whether you’re wooed by the lush, groomed greens of a resort course, or love the idea of a simple fairway with a backdrop of rugged mountain peaks. Courses include Frankton Golf Centre, a nine-hole course with a driving range, Jack’s Point Golf, which is a championship golf course, Over The Top Golf-Fly/Drive/Putt, which has a location of 4500ft and a par three golf hole which is arguably the world's most picturesque. Queenstown Golf Club is a picturesque 18 hole course located on the Kelvin Peninsula surrounded by Lake Wakatipu, while Arrowtown Golf Club is a more challenging 18-hole course without bunkers. Finally there’s Millbrook Resort, home of the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open, and The Hills Golf Club, another championship course. In Queenstown golf services include tours and transfers and club hire.

Best Of The Rest

There are so many things to see and do in this part of New Zealand’s South Island, the problem is usually what to put on your list, but adventure is definitely high on the agenda for many. It's famously the birthplace of bungy jumping, and the list of adrenaline-packed activities you can participate in is impressive, from alpine heli-skiing and zip-lining, to an extreme jet boat ride along the Shotover River. But there’s a more gentle path should you choose to follow it. One option is to visit Onsen Hot Pools, which is located high on a cliffside overlooking the Shotover River and has gorgeous alpine scenery. The pools are hot and steamy on snowy days, warm and sheltered on rainy days, cool and shady on sunny days, and a unique feature is a retractable picture windows and roof, converting your pool room from indoor to outdoor and back again at the touch of a button! Each pool room can accommodate up to four adults and are perfect for individuals, couples, families and friends. Also worth putting on your list is a ride on the Skyline Gondola, which climbs through pine forest to an observation deck 400 metres above Queenstown, and Kiwi Birdlife Park, which spans two hectares and is home to native plants and dozens of birds including kiwi, parakeets and black stilts. 


Joanna Hall


  • 4
    Love This Place

    Posted by Catherine Tye on 13th Nov 2018

    Been once and love it....I can recommend the bakery unless you worry about your waistline hahahaha. I only marked it down a star because the weather is so hit and miss in my view.

  • 5
    Want To Go Badly

    Posted by Shula on 6th Nov 2018

    This place has been on my bucket list since my BFF went there for an anniversary trip a few years ago.....I really love the sound of that hot spa place a good wallow!

  • 5

    Posted by Bill Ping on 6th Nov 2018

    You had me at golf LOL