Despite my sensibilities saying otherwise, packing up the kids and heading to Queenstown the Monday before Christmas was a genius idea – a trip I’m keen to repeat each December as a respite from the madness that is Auckland during peak retail season. Trading the domestic duties of home for hotel life at the Crowne Plaza for a couple of nights was definitely NOT a difficult decision lol. On a previous stay in Queenstown, we had coveted its lakeside location and as guests, we were not disappointed. The views from our balcony were Instagram perfection!
We’ve got our family hotel-routine down to a fine art now. As we spend an absolute minimal amount of time in our room, we bunk together, leaving more money in the holiday fund for our adventures. The twin balcony room with views over Lake Wakatipu and out to The Remarkables was a perfect choice for Dave, the two boys and I – great, comfy beds, a workspace for me and a well-appointed bathroom for those holidays baths at the end of each busy day. We’ve always found that IHG hotels do family stays really well. The kids are always made to feel welcomed and catered for which is massively important when you travel a lot as a family. Little touches like the activity packs gifted to the kids upon arrival were well thought out appreciated by both the boys and Dave and I.
Find out more about the deals available at Queenstown Crowne Plaza here
As one of New Zealand’s most visited tourist destinations, traffic in Queenstown can be a chaotic, gridlocked mess. The first thing we did upon checking in was hand over the car keys to the hotel valet. When you’re staying right in the centre of town, exploring on foot is a much better option than jostling for a car park. Aside from day trips that may take you further afield, you have no need for a car when basing yourself at Crowne Plaza. Foodies are spoilt for choice here, from Josh Emett’s renowned Rata (make a booking, it will not disappoint), to the iconic Fergburger (prepare for an epic wait for your epic burger), there are options for all budgets and tastes within a 2-minute radius of the hotel.
With 2 young boys in tow, breakfast sets the tone for the day. Nix and E need to be loaded up and they need it early! It was awesome being able to cruise downstairs as we woke and enjoy a full buffet that offered everything from a juice fountain to an egg chef plus cafe quality barista coffee for Mum and Dad!
Queenstown in summer is just as spectacular as the winter vistas the region is famed for. The many lakes and surrounding mountainous terrain make it pretty easy to lose yourself in nature and ‘go bush’ if that’s your jam (it’s totally how we like to enjoy Queenstown!) or, you can go ‘Full Tourist’ and invest in the multitude of action adventures and guided tours on offer within the region.
The sheer amount of options available in Queenstown can be overwhelming, so we chatted to a few locals whilst we were in town, gathered their opinions and formulated a wee list of faves to help kick off your own Queenstown adventure.
Explore like a local in Queenstown
Best place to Treat Yourself: Caci Clinic – trust me, you will fall in LOVE with microdermabrasion after just one session here!
Best Breakfast: Joe’s Garage, good coffee, open early. Also try Bob’s Weigh.
Best Sweet Treat: Patagonia for chocolates, coffee, ice cream and frozen yoghurt.
Best spot for Drinks with the Girls: The Sundeck
Best Family Hike: Moke Lake circumference
Best Quick Trip: Lake Wanaka
Best Fish and Chip Shop: Fernhill
Best Burger: The World Bar
Best Pint with Kids in tow: Cowboys
Best wine Tasting: Gibbston Valley
Best Pub Lunch: Cardona Hotel
Best Lake Cruise: Million Dollar Cruise
Best Lunch on the Run: Pita Pit picnic boxes. $15 pp incl. drink, pita + side
Best Sharing Plate Dinner: Blue Canoe
Best Sushi: Hikari Japanese Restaurant
InterContinental Hotel Group are all about helping their guests make the most of local destinations and their precious holiday time. I was chatting with the front desk staff at Crowne Plaza and they got so pumped discussing the seemingly endless options for family fun in Queenstown. One thing they love to do is putting together packages and guides for guests whose interests might run the gamut from wine tasting to extreme adventures.
Travel Tip > If you want to #ExploreLikeaLocal this summer, enjoy up to 20% off on accommodation for stays until 31st January 2017. Plus, receive up to 5% more if you’re an IHG®? Rewards Club Member. For terms and conditions and full details click here.