Updated: Jul 23
Kia Ora! Welcome to the land of the long white cloud. New Zealand is the perfect place to lose yourself in the stunning scenery and adventures, and this itinerary is perfect for a family with teenage kids, or the young at heart.
You’re flying into the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown. You’ll arrive in the afternoon, just in time for check in at The Rees, a beautiful lakeside property located a 5 minute drive outside Queenstown, or a 20 minute lakeside walk. We like The Rees for it’s chic contemporary design, perfect location just outside the city, but close enough to not feel secluded, and on-site ski rental. You won’t need a car as the hotel can arrange airport transfers, as well as providing a free shuttle service to and from Queenstown.
After settling into your Two Bedroom Lake View Apartment, and sorting out your ski rentals, stroll along the lake into the city itself. You’ll be amazed at the natural beauty of the area surrounded by snow capped mountains. Spend the afternoon exploring the boutique shops, head to the local icon Fergburger if you’re feeling hungry (peckish won’t do, as the burgers are huge!), and head up to the top of the Skyline Gondola for amazing views of the area.
Tonight, dinner will be at Flame Bar & Grill, a tried and tested steak and rib restaurant in the centre of Queenstown which borrows from South African cuisine. The lamb is incredible! You’ll surely be a bit tired from your journey today, so let’s head back to the hotel for the early start tomorrow.
Both are great for all ranges of skiers - beginners have the option of taking lessons and then embarking on the easy slopes, right up to the challenging black runs for the experienced ones. Today, we’ll head over to Coronet Peak. Spend the day out in the snow exploring all the Coronet Peak has to offer.
You’ll get back to The Rees around 5pm, no doubt tuckered out from your day out on the slopes, so sit back and relax at the property. Set the kids up watching a film from the complimentary selection on offer, while you kick back at the Bordeaux Wine Lounge on site. Dinner tonight will be at True South, a fine dining restaurant on property with an ever changing menu based on the season, where the produce is locally sourced.
This jet boat ride through the canyons on the Shotover River is an experience like no other! These state of the art jet boats are designed for speed, travelling up to 90km/hour as the Jet Boat gets put through its paces, riding the rapids and performing thrilling, gravity-defying stunts within a hair’s breadth of the awe-inspiring cliff faces.
You’ll be dropped back in Queenstown after your Shotover Jet Experience, so let’s head over to Bespoke Kitchen for lunch, offering an array of dishes catering to most dietary needs. Don’t miss the slow cooked Harissa lamb!
This afternoon, you’re off on a 4x4 driving adventure. For those Lord of the Rings fans, jump onto the Discovery of the Rings tour in a 4WD vehicle, where you’ll see iconic locations from the series such as Minas Tirith and the Pillars of the Kings. For those who’d prefer a more hands on experience, the Quad Biking tour will take you off the beaten track and into some of that stunning scenery that you just can’t get away from.
Dinner tonight will be at Blue Kanu, an Asian Fusion restaurant blending Japanese, New Zealand and Polynesian cuisines. You don’t even need to decide what to eat - just say “feed me” and the restaurant will serve up a four course selection of their best dishes.
It’s your second day out on the slopes! Have a quick breakfast at your hotel in the True South Restaurant, before you head over to The Remarkables for your adventure today.
Located around half an hour drive away from your hotel, there is something for everyone here. Take another lesson if you’re still feeling a bit rusty, or head out on one of the many runs available. Once you’re finished with the mountains, it’s time to take a cruise on that lake you’ve seen so much off. Jump onto the TSS Earnslaw, first commissioned in 1912 as a transport ship for the communities located around Lake Wakatipu, ferrying passengers around the area.
After your 45 minute cruise across to Walter Peak, it's time for a BBQ dinner served in the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant, serving up locally sourced meats, vegetables and seafood barbequed to perfection. I bet you’re salivating just thinking about it! Once you’re stuffed to your liking, jump back on the TSS Earnslaw for your cruise back to Queenstown.
It’s sadly time to leave the beautiful city of Queenstown, but you’re heading to somewhere just as nice - Milford Sound. You’ll depart at 9am after your quick breakfast at Fergbaker (an offshoot of Fergburger), grab some snacks for the journey and set off through the rugged terrain of the Otago region. New Zealand has the unique distinction of looking completely different every 15 minutes you drive - you’ll see the snow capped mountains surrounding Queenstown on your way out, followed by wide open farming fields, followed by raging rivers - the list goes on.
Your drive will take around 6 hours, so settle in and enjoy the scenery. Once you reach the Homer Tunnel, you know you’re close. Carved through the Darran Mountains and opening in 1954, this single lane tunnel has made it possible to reach the natural wonder of Milford Sound.
Once you arrive, board the Milford Mariner for your overnight cruise on Milford Sound. This area experiences 300 days a year of rainfall, so make sure you bring your raincoat! Set off on your cruise through the fiord, and expect to see makeshift waterfalls off the surrounding mountains, encounter the local wildlife (you’ll see seals, and might be lucky enough to see some dolphins and penguins!), before settling into a sheltered cove for the evening.
If you’re brave enough, take a dip in the cove before your three course buffet dinner is served on board.
This morning, you’ll have a buffet breakfast with cooked and continental options served on board, before your last opportunity to experience Milford Sound before you head over to Wanaka. Jump out on a kayak or a tender boat to explore the bay at your own pace.
It’s another long drive back to Wanaka this morning - you’ll set off at around 9:30am, and arrive into Wanaka around 3pm, just in time for check-in at Linga Longa, a luxuriously appointed villa set on Lake Wanaka, just outside the main town. Run by Touch of Spice NZ, this villa is a perfect home in a picturesque setting, and will be yours for the next two nights.
Relax this afternoon with a walk around Lake Wanaka and take in the sights of another beautiful Kiwi town. For something a little different, head over to Puzzling World for some weird and wacky experiences!
Dinner tonight will be at KOTA, a lovely little restaurant offering uncompromised views over Lake Wanaka. Try the beef shoulder served with an Asian salad - delicious!
Today is your last day out of the slopes! You’ll be heading over to Cardrona Mountain, which is around half an hour away from Wanaka. Fuel up for your day out at your hotel before being picked up for your transfer over to the mountain.
Cardrona offers something for everyone, from beginners right up to experts. If you were taking lessons in Queenstown, you can continue those here. But if you’re feeling a bit more confident about your skiing now, jump out there on one of the more experienced runs. For a bit more action, try out the half pipes and tubing available on the mountain.
Once you’re back at the hotel after your day out on the slopes, take an hour or so to wind down before heading over to Alchemy for dinner. Known for their Tapas menu, this restaurant will be perfect for you to relax, order an array of dishes to pick at and to have a few local wines.
Today is the day to head home! Check out of your accommodation in Wanaka and have a quick stop off at the old mining settlement Arrowtown before flying home in the afternoon from Queenstown Airport. Arrowtown boomed in the 1850’s during the Gold Rush, and has since had most of its buildings restored to their former glory. Take a stroll down Buckingham Street, stop in at the quaint house shops and dive off into the tree lined alleys leading to old miners cottages.
Stop in at the Bendix Stables for a quick brunch, an iconic historical stables which has been converted into a gastropub. Families are more than welcome, and the Jackfruit Hawker is a must try! Now it’s time to head home, so jump back in the car for your half hour drive back over to Queenstown Airport for your flight home.
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