Queenstown, New Zealand

There are really no words to describe the beauty of New Zealand. This was the last stop on our trip, so we were already completely in awe of New Zealand and the beautiful scenery. But Queenstown takes the cake for drama. There is a reason that Queenstown makes it on every visitor's must-go list. Steep, dramatic mountains dropping straight in to Lake Wanaka. Photos barely do this landscape justice - the greenest fields, bluest skies and most striking mountains just need to be seen in person. The country is comparable in size to my home state of Colorado, with a fraction of the people. Everyone we met was interesting and friendly, and the entire travel experience was relaxed, efficient and hassle free.

Pack... Layers, hiking boots & a rain jacket

Read... At this point in our trip I'm still reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.

Sleep... We thought this cute Airbnb had a stunning view (we stayed here our first 3 nights in Queenstown), until we later checked in to the Azur Hotel for our last 2 nights of the trip. The Azur was a total splurge and an amazing way to end our trip. With only 9 villas on the property, we felt like we were the only people staying there. The service is impeccable and you can't beat those views. (The last photo below is taken from our room)

{ wander } 

There are hikes & wine tasting to be had. We enjoyed an amazing al fresco lunch at Amisfield vineyard. After a few glasses of their pinot noir we decided to have a case shipped back to enjoy when we returned  home. 

Cruise through the Fjiords - Queenstown is a perfect jumping off point to explore Fjiordland. We went back and forth between Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, but ultimately decided to head to Doubtful Sound, as it is harder to access and therefore we figured less tourists. We definitely didn't have anything to worry about there. aside from the fellow passengers on our boat, we didn't see another sole for the duration of our trip. 

Glenorchy - This adorable town is a fun afternoon excursion. There isn't much up there in the way of restaurants, but it is a gorgeous drive along the lake. You will be rewarded with views and an extremely photogenic pier when you arrive.

{ eat }

Madam Woo's - This Chinese and Malaysian street food is single handedly tempting me to book a return flight to Queenstown immediately. I really can't emphasize how wonderful this place is - we made a few return trips here during our time in Queenstown - I couldn't get enough of it. This place doesn't take itself too seriously, with cheeky, Asian-inspired decor and a fun and funky vibe - but the food is top notch, unique and surprising. 

Fergburger - Yes, this casual spot is super touristy and you will have to wait. But nothing quite satisfies a long day of hiking on an empty stomach than a hearty burger and a beer. Go in the afternoon to skip the longest lines.

Thom Nak Thai - A good, basic Thai spot that we ended up eating at twice. 

The Bathhouse - We stopped here for a drink before dinner one night. An idyllic setting right on the edge of the water. We sat outside, enjoyed some local wine and just soaked in the views for what felt like hours. 

Winnie's - Because you can never go wrong with pizza.  

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{ October 2015 }