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With a team of 12 living in the Central Otago region, there are many reasons as to why they all made this place their home. Aside from the fact that the rest of the country (and world) know how very beautiful it is, with its perfectly hot Summers, beautiful crisp and snowy Winters, and the amazing colours that come through in Autumn; there are other things that make it home.
Our team are a diverse bunch with many different interests, which is why Central Otago suits them perfectly – it is a region with plenty on offer.
4WD into Macetown, an old Chinese settlement 13km into the hills from Arrowtown. Whether you are an experienced 4WDer or not, there are ways to get to Macetown for everyone. Drive yourself (if you are a confident 4WDer), go on a 4WD tour, mountain bike in, motorbike in, or simply walk in.
Walk up and overlook the beauty that is Arrowtown, Lake Hayes, The Hills Golf Course, Millbrook, Lake Wakatipu, or out towards Gibbston Valley. This walk only takes about an hour so it’s easy to fit into a busy day. If you are lacking in hill fitness it might take a bit longer – worth the view at the top though!
Bike Trail to Gibbston Valley
You may or may not realise but you can actually bike out to Gibbston Valley from Queenstown or Arrowtown. Drop a vehicle at your lunchtime destination (i.e. the Gibbston Tavern for woodfire pizzas), then begin the track by following the Queenstown Rail Trail from either Queenstown or Arrowtown, or if you’re really into it, just bike both ways. This beautiful trail follows the gorge, cross over the Kawarau Bridge where the bungy jump is, then follow along or bike through vineyards on your way to any of the wineries in the valley. There are plenty of exit points so you can choose where you end up.
This is a great walk because you can choose which way you want to start – either a steep climb or a meandering wander uphill. It’s a good walk that can take between one and three hours to complete – depending on how fast you go.
Lake Hayes is a beautiful lake that on a still day you can see the reflection of the surrounding mountains. It also is a great spot for families to do some swimming, have a BBQ or simply relax in the sun. There is a track that follows the edge of the lake, with a few small climbs to mix up the degree of difficulty. This walk takes from an hour to 2 hours to complete depending on pace.
Swimming in the Arrow River
The Arrow River is chilly all year round but on those super-hot Summer days it is the best remedy. With plenty of places to park up for the day, it’s the perfect place to spent a day with the family.
Wye Creek Hike
This is a steep track that follows the pipeline from the dam and leads you to the foot of a rock bluff. A further walk through beech forest takes you to the stream in the Lower Wye Creek basin. It is high on the difficulty scale but it has rewarding views and is something that is not touristy.
Lakeside Estate Trail
There is a small trail which goes down to beach and jetty from Lakeside Estate – has BBQ as well as seating – picnic spot at top of the trail as well.
Glenorchy is a really cool little town at the tip of Lake Wakatipu. Just a short drive from Queenstown, it makes a great getaway for the day. And even better, there is no cellphone reception so you can leave your worries back in town. Glenorchy is the gateway to great walks around Moke Lake, Greenstone, Routeburn, plus more.
There are endless outdoor activities to do in Wanaka like amazing hikes with different difficulty levels – Roy’s Peak is a favourite and must do.
There are a huge number of places that battle it out for best coffee in the area but here are a few of our team’s favourites.
A great café in Remarkables Park which offers plenty of healthy options for snacks or lunches, plus a killer coffee. Everyone in our team raves about this place and always goes in if they are near Remarkables Park.
As well as the pre-work coffee, this is the place from which the Queenstown team gets their beans for our coffee machine in the office. Make sure you stop in for a chat and a coffee on us.
Provisions is just out of the town centre on one of the most photographed streets in New Zealand and is situated amongst a beautiful garden. You can even purchase some delicious jams, chutneys and sauces that are made on site.
If you like bold meals and a kick ass coffee, Chop Shop in Arrowtown is the place to go. If you get in at the right time on a nice day you can sit out in the sunshine on their little deck that looks over the alley – a bit of a heat trap.
Located right next to the Chinese village in Arrowtown, Dudley’s is a little café/gift shop that is a must stop when visiting the historic town. It is also right next to Queenstown Bike Tours, where you can start your venture to Gibbston Valley along the Arrow River into the valley.
There is no shortage of somewhere to grab a drink in Central Otago. No matter where you go in the region, there is always a watering hole waiting there for you. Here are some of the team’s favourite spots to enjoy a drink either in the sunshine or by the heater to keep warm in Winter.
Fork and Tap
This is the place to be on a hot Summer’s or crisp Winter’s day. With an awesome outdoor area that is great for both adults and kids (playground included), you can enjoy the outdoors while also enjoying a glass of local craft beer or wine.
Habana Rum Bar
This is definitely a favourite spot for our team in Queenstown, and the frequent visitors from our Invercargill team. It’s a cosy little bar down Searle Lane in Queenstown, offering a perfect spot to stop and try a huge variety of different rums. With great music and a cosy feel, there’s no other place to go.
No matter your age, La Rumbla is the place to go. This wine bar in Arrowtown is tucked away behind the Postmasters Residence, and has a wide range of wines to choose from as well as really good tapas and other main dishes that have killer reviews. Don’t worry they also serve beer.
After a fire tore apart the old World Bar in an upstairs venue on Shotover St, World Bar moved premises to the old Monteith’s Bar on Church St. The new World Bar is a funky spot with some truly yummy meals. Favourites are the Classic Burger (with polenta fries, of course), or the southern fried chicken and waffles; you will be a huge fan once you try this mouth-watering dish.
If you like tacos, this is the place to go in Queenstown. A favourite spot for the team, Taco Medic offers made to order tacos however you like them. Find them at the bottom of Searle Lane.
Flying Pancakes Café
Situated between Coronet Peak and Arrowtown, the Flying Pancakes Café is set at the spot where paraponters and paragliders land. With a lovely outdoor setting, this is a great place to relax in the weekends for brunch or a coffee. You don’t have to partake in the death-defying leap to enjoy the atmosphere.
Why go to Ferg Burger with lines as long as the street when you could head into the bakery right next door for an even more delicious treat (and a much shorter line). With pies to die for, pastries like the almond croissant that melt in your mouth, and other sweet treats, you can’t miss out on this as a lunch/morning tea/afternoon tea stop.
Florence’s Foodstore & Café
Based just outside of Wanaka, Florence’s is a beautiful café with gorgeous food and good strong coffee. Attached to the café is a nifty store that sells all sorts of food goods, cooking utensils, plus much more. If you are on your way into or out of town on the Cardrona-Crown Range road, make sure you stop here for your caffeine fix.
Onsen Hot Pools
These hot pools are perfect for a nice treat and are ridiculously cool. You get your own private pool that looks out over the Shotover River and surrounding mountains, which are breath-taking any time of year. A very relaxing way to spend an hour of your day – also a great gift for a special someone (just saying).
This sports complex has everything – a gym, a pool, a spa, cricket grounds, rugby field, soccer fields, international sports events, fun summertime races, conference facilities, and you can’t go past the amazing views from every angle.
Who can go past a (highly) competitive round of outdoor mini golf in the sunshine, plus get a free round if you can manage to get a hole in one on Hole 18 – it’s deceptively tricky but can be done.
Have a Shot
Our Invercargill team visited Have a Shot as part of their Christmas party last year and all had the time of their lives. For some, it was the first time trying a lot of the activities, but it turned out to be a great day out. Definitely worth the stop if you are in Wanaka.
We have so many world class events in Queenstown and Wanaka. From sporting and seasonal events to food, wine and beer festivals. Take your pick – there’s something for everyone.
Obviously held in Winter, the Queenstown Winter Fest is two weeks of shows, races, competitions, excitement, skiing and snowboarding. The list goes on. It is definitely a crowd pleaser.
Autumn Festival – Arrowtown
Autumn truly looks good in Central Otago. There is no better place at this time of year than the Arrowtown Autumn Festival. Parades, shows, concerts, races, and competitions, there is no end to the fun.
Do you like to run or walk? You can do either, and you can pick the distance – 5km (kids fun run), 10km, 21km (half marathon) or the full 42km marathon. We have a few members of our team that compete each year – must be fun, we keep going back!
Gibbston Wine and Food Festival
This cool event is held in the Queenstown Gardens and boasts wine stalls from wineries in the region, plus a whole heap of food stalls from local eateries.
The best thing about living in Central Otago is the fact that we have so many activities at our fingertips. Whether you want to spend the day going on an adventure with friends or family, walking, biking, climbing, flying, playing sports, swimming, skiing, or simply relaxing by the lake; there is an endless supply of things to do. We even have so many other places at our fingertips with our international airport flying direct to Australia, plus many other places within New Zealand.
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