New Zealand, Travel
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Queenstown: Ski trip to New Zealand – Useful INFO // Avete mai pensato di sciare in Nuova Zelanda? Queenstown! – INFORMAZIONI UTILI

I wanted to come back and I knew I wanted to do it, but what I did not know was when and that I actually would really come back. What am I talking about? New Zealand!

Already when I moved to Melbourne, New Zealand, together with other destinations, was on my bucket list. And the biggest dream was to go skiing there. So let’s say I accomplished my biggest dream about NZ as I just spent a long weekend in Queenstown, in the South Island. I still have to visit probably 60% of the South Island, as I visited the North tip of the South Island and part of the Malborough in 2002, but I know now it’s going to be possible!

I advise to book the flight at least 3 months in advance, more if you can, especially for weekends and if your purpose is skiing. Best schedules & average priced Flights run out quickly. We flew in on Friday morning via Christchurch with Virgin Australia / Air New Zealand and arrived in Queenstown at 4:30pm local time. In Mid September there’s a 2 hour time change vs Melbourne, it’s 10 hours vs Italy and most of Continental Europe. If you haven’t booked a car or transfer from the airport, the taxi will cost you around 38$NZ (approx 30-32$AUD, 22-24€) for a 10-15 min ride. Unfortunately there was no public transportation when we arrived, I don’t know if it is actually available.

You’ll be amazed by the scenery already at the airport, and before while flying, and you’ll be presented with a jaw dropping view when approaching town. The air was a bit chilly as you’re in fact next to the mountains and just at the beginning of Spring.

The Dairy Hotel Queenstown

The Dairy Hotel Queenstown

There are plenty of choices for ACCOMODATION:
. from hotels, from the best known International chains (Novotel, Sofitel, …) to cozy, luxury or boutique ones (The Dairy, close to the Gondola). We stayed at the ‘Heartland Hotel‘ which offered us a chalet style room with a view over the lake Watikapu and a mountain feeling. I’d dvise to book through or as it was much cheaper vs original fare
. Apartment to lease – sometimes a bit more expensive than the averagely priced hotel if you make the comparison like for like, but a much cheaper option for longer stays, families or group of friends. The Scenic Suites, partner of the Heartland Hotel, are quite new and look really nice, another option is The Glebe. There’s almost an infinite choice!
. Hostels – A very popular one is ‘Nomads‘, very centrally located with a new & inviting look from outside, but I haven’t tried it myself this time.

Cardrona Ski Resort. New Zealand,

Cardrona Ski Resort. New Zealand, Source:

On Friday evening before dinner, we checked out the SKI RENTAL shops and RESORTS information.
Ski rental, including boots & poles for 1 day range from 25$ for Beginners to 62$ for advanced gear with a few extra $$ for gear insurance. There are plenty of shops in the city centre. It’s usually cheaper than renting everything at the mountain resorts. Of which there are 3 main choices:
. Cardrona, the biggest ski resort, with a mixed difficulty of pistes, from beginners to Pros, as there are some steep ‘walls’ too. 1h30 by bus, 1h approx by car.
. Coronet Peak, a smaller resort, at a lower altitude, less suited for beginners. 20-30 min away from Queenstown depending on mean of transport.
. The Remarkables, probably the smallest resort 45Km from Queenstown, with an easygoing & fun feeling.

. Treble Cone, the biggest ski resort in the South Island, but also the furthest from Queenstown, 90Km.
If you don’t have a car, check the A/R bus schedules to avoid bad surprises. Usually if you buy your ski pass and bus ticket altogether in town, you are likely to save some money.
A day ski pass to Cardrona (97$) + Bus ticket (45$) on the early departure (7.20, but it’s totally worthy) can be purchased for 115$/person at Info & Snow on the main street that caters for this resort. See the different resorts website for updated information & fares.
The day of ski was amazing and I’ll tell you more about it in my next post.

Lake Wakatipu Queenstown. Source:

Lake Wakatipu Queenstown. Source:

In terms of WHERE TO EAT, there’s a lot of choice too: many restaurants, cafes, fast food chains, supermarkets, ‘7-Eleven’ style stores. We could not try them all, but probably there are just a few of really good ones:

LEGENDA: V = Food Quality P = Price

VVV = Great Food VV = Quite Good Food V = Poor Food Quality

PPP = Pricey PP = Moderate P = Cheap
. Jarvois Steak House, VVV PPP  an amazing place with beautiful service, well presented food, ‘just right’creative dishes and good wine
. Les Alpes, VV PP  a French Mountain like Restaurant, managed by French people offering typical winter food such as ‘Fondue’ with live music on Fridays. We tried it for breakfast and it was amazing.
. Captain’s V PP I’d not recommend it, the meat was nothing special, the wine ok, but we finished with quite a good dessert.

. Bella Cucina, Italian cuisine, with a cozy and warm atmosphere that invites you to go inside. We haven’t had the time to try it, and being Italian we try to taste different cuisines, but it was highly recommended to us!
. Eichardt’s Bar, just on the corner of the Tatler Hotel for Tapas or indulging breakfast. We didn’t feel like tapas on Friday, so it’s going to be maybe a destination for the next trip.
. The Flame, an inviting Steak grill restaurant South African Style close to Queenstown Promenade on Beach St. It was difficult to try more than.

The last 3 restaurants were suggested by the Jarvois staff as Queenstown is packed on Friday and the best restaurants, of different price ranges, were fully booked. So it’s better to book a table on weekends, if you don’t want to leave your choice to chance 🙂

View Lake Wakatipu from above

View Lake Wakatipu from above

On the next day, we took our time to wake up and have breakfast at Les Alpes. Then we took the Gondola to enjoy the best view of Queenstown from the mountains where the city is sitting. Well, the view is just incredible, no words left! Then we spent half an hour checking out the shops. New Zealand is famous for its craft products (e.g. Jade jewellery, Merino woollen clothes), beauty products, Manuka Honey, sweets, ice cream, …

The blue colour of the Wakatipu lake is still in front of my eyes. I think you could even snorkel like on the Great Barrier Reef due to such a clear water.
Queenstown is just an amazing place to visit, if you’re thinking about New Zealand or you’re on this side of the Globe! It is also the starting point for different activities, from relaxing to crazy ones, NZ trademark!

I’ll soon write about places, sensations and my ski trip to Cardrona in more detail in another, more story like post.

Haere ra, ‘Goodbye in the Maori language

———- // ———-

"Kiwi" Mountains, New Zealand

“Kiwi” Mountains, New Zealand

Volevo tornarci, sapevo di volerci tornare, ma non sapevo quando, ma soprattutto che ci sarei tornata! Di che posto sto parlando? Della Nuova Zelanda!

Sin da quando ho saputo che mi sarei trasferita a Melbourne, ho pensato che questa fosse l’opportunita’ di tornare in Nuova Zelanda, insieme ad altre destinazioni. E finalmente ce l’ho fatta! Sono arrivata venerdi’ pomeriggio a Queenstown, facendo scalo a Christchurch, con un volo di Virgin Australia / Air New Zealand. Il consiglio e’ di prenotare il volo almeno 3 mesi prima, se non ancora prima per evitare che i prezzi salgano all’inverosimile soprattutto se siete interessati a Queenstown e a venire a sciare qui nell’inverno australe (estate nell’emisfero nord).

La vista delle montagne e dei laghi e’ gia’ incredibile dall’aereo, diventa realta’ una volta usciti dall’aereoporto e di nuovo un sogno all’avvicinarsi a Queenstown. Il taxi verso la citta’ vi costera’ 38$NZ (circa 30-32$AUD, 22-24€) e ci metterete circa 10/15 minuti. Non abbiamo trovato mezzi pubblici.

Il pomeriggio ci siamo informati su dove andare a SCIARE

. Cardrona, 1h 30 in bus/1h in macchina 58Km da Queenstown, il 2* piu’ amplio comprensorio adatto a tutti i livelli, anche per i principianti

. Coronet Peak, piu’ piccolo e piu’ basso di Cardrona, non adatto ai principianti. A 20-30 minuti da Queenstown 18Km.

. The Remarkables, atmosfera easy, a 45 min da Queenstown, comprensorio di piccola/media estensione.

. Treble Cone, e’ il piu’ amplio comprensorio dell’isola del Sud, ma anche il piu’ lontano da Queenstown, 90Km.

E sui costi di ski pass e trasporto per Cardrona, la destinazione scelta: 115 $NZ (bus+skipass vs 142 $NZ), e del noleggio attrezzatura (sci +racchette+scarponi da 25 $NZ per i principianti a 62 $NZ per gli esperti). Il cambio Euro/$NZ e’ circa il 60%. Sicuramente sciare qui non e’ regalato, ma ne vale la pena per la neve e la vista spettacolare! Almeno 1 volta nella vita, se ci si trova da queste parti del mondo.

Queenstown mountains. Source:

Queenstown mountains. Source:


. hotel – sono presenti le principali catene internazionali (Novotel, Sofitel, …) ma anche B&B e boutique hotel (The Dairy, vicino alla funivia). Noi siamo stati all’’Heartland Hotel‘ Stile chalet di montagna e con una vista spettacolare sul lago Watikapu. Vi suggerisco di prenotare su o perche’ e’ molto piu’ conveniente rispetto alla tariffa piena.                  . Appartamenti da affittare – alle volte sono piu’ cari dell’hotel medio, ma son da prendere in considerazione per periodi piu’ lunghi o se si viaggia in gruppo. Gli appartamenti Scenic Suites, partner dell’Hotel Heartland, sono piuttosto nuovi e carini, e un’altra opzione sono gli appartamenti The Glebe. C’e’ molto scelta!
. Ostelli – Il piu’ centrale e’ il ‘Nomads‘, che sembra essere molto vivo e nuovo dall’esterno, anche se non ci sono stata questa volta.

View of the Lake Wakatipu & Restaurants. Source:

View of the Lake Wakatipu & Restaurants. Source:


Per quanto riguarda cene, colazioni, ecc… c’e’ molta scelta, da ristoranti a bar, a supermercati, anche aperti 24 ore su 24 a catene di fast food. Ovviamente non abbiamo potuto provarli tutti, ma eccone alcuni. Durante il weekend l’importante e’ cercare di prenotare il giorno prima o il primo pomeriggio stesso per non lasciare al caso la vostra scelta.

LEGENDA: V = Qualita’ P = Prezzo

VVV = Alta VV = Media V = Bassa

PPP = Caro PP = Medio P = A buon mercato
. Jarvois Steak House, VVV PPP un ristorante da un’atmosfera alpina, ma ricercata, specializzato in carne, con piatti sfiziosi e insoliti che stuzzicheranno il Vostro palate, con una buona carta di vini.
. Les Alpes, VV PP un ristorante francese, in stile al[pino, con cucina tradizionale dell’Alta Savoia, quindi fonduta, ecc…, gestito da Francesi, anche se di Nizza. Live Music il venerdi’ sera. L’abbiamo provato solamente per colazione, ma ne e’ valsa la pena!
. Captain’s V PP I’d not recommend it, the meat was nothing special, the wine ok, but we finished with quite a good dessert.

. Bella Cucina, Italiano, avendo solo pochi giorni ed essendo italiani, non l’abbiamo provato, ma l’arredamento e l’atmosfera calda erano davvero invitanti!
. Eichardt’s Bar,  per Tapas, colazione o per bere qualcosa. Non avevamo voglia di tapas venerdi’ e quindi saremo obbligati a provarlo la prossima volta! 😉
. The Flame, un altro ristorante di carne molto invitante sulla strade davanti il lugo lago.

Questi ultimi 3 ristoranti ci sono stati consigliati dal Jervois quando non trovavamo posto da nessuna parte e per questo il sabato abbiamo prenotato.

Queenstown e’ anche il punto di partenza per molte attivita’ sportive, dalle piu’ tranquille alle piu’ adrenaliche, un po’ anche il marchio della Nuova Zelanda. Sinceramente gia’ non vedo l’ora di tornare e vedere cio’ che mi manca dell’Isola del Sud, forse un 60%. Sono infatti stata in Nuova Zelanda un po’ di anni fa’ ed avevo visitato tutta l’Isola del Nord e la parte a Nord dell’Isola del Sud. So che sembrera’ una filastrocca o uno sciogli lingua, ma rappresenta la realta’. Son arrivata a Picton e ho visitato parte del Marlborough degustando olio e vino neozelandese, quando ancora non se ne sentiva quasi parlare. Beh, la Nuova Zelanda vi lascera’ a bocca aperta e sarei gia’ pronta per ripartire!

Haere ra, ‘Arrivederci’ in maori


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Why go to New Zealand? // Perche’ andare in Nuova Zelanda? | La Vale and Her World

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