Spend Some Time In Queenstown this Autumn – Concierge Corner

Autumn in Queenstown
Queenstown in Autumn


As seasons go, the summer we have just had is going to be pretty hard to beat. The weather has been nothing short of amazing! Days filled with sunshine and scorching temperatures has made the summer of 2017/2018 a season to remember. There has been the odd spot of rain and cloud here and there, but mostly dry hot long days. As Autumn draws in, so do the clouds and cooler temperatures, the wineries are certainly enjoying a good long drink now we are having some rainy days, perfect timing for a bumper crop for the annual wine harvest in March/April.
After the huge buzz of people flocking to Queenstown to soak up the summer vibes, there is no better time to visit than now. There are still plenty of sunny days to have, and when that sun is out, it sure is warm! Autumn is a magical time of the year in Queenstown, with beautiful browns, yellows and reds colouring the landscape like a painting, what a perfect backdrop to wake up too.

Festivals For Everyone

The quaint mining town comes alive in Autumn, kicking off with the annual Akarua Arrowtown Autumn festival, starting from the 19th of April, this 10 day festival is
especially loved by locals and is a surprise and delight to passing tourists, so if you’re travelling through Central Otago during this time it is not to be missed.
 With Art exhibitions, music concerts, vintage car shows, and who could forget the huge street parade, there is only one way to celebrate Autumn! Arrowtown is truly spectacular and attracts photographers from far and wide and is just one of the places that will take your breath away during this time.
queenstownin autumn

[Image Source: arrowtownautumnfestival.co.nz]

If you love speed and all things motorised, Highlands Motorsport park is celebrating the Festival Of Speed from the 6th to the 8th of April. For those that are unfamiliar, Highlands Motorsport Park is nestled in the stunning area of Bannockburn near Cromwell and features some of the top muscle cars available today. It’s a place made for families with  go-karting, a dinosaur park, and a vintage car museum for all the cars enthusiasts.  You can really spend an entire day out there and during their Festival of Speed you are sure to be blown away with some of the best classic modern racing you will see in New Zealand.

Autumn Sale

[Image Source: luma.nz]

No mention of festivals is complete without a shout out to the Luma Light festival. A recent addition to Queenstown‘s long list of events, Luma is quickly becoming more and more popular as the years go on and this year it is back bigger and better than ever. Beginning on the 1st of June, this incredible light show finishes off  Autumn in style. Located in the Queenstown Gardens, Luma showcases a vast array of local, national, and international talent. From light shows, to live music, to outdoor movies, this is a celebration of light and you are sure to be in awe of the dazzling colours and lights that dance across the gardens crafting shadows of their own that make the place truly come alive, it’s a stunning sight to behold that will entertain the family for hours!

What’s hot this autumn – food wise ?

There is never a dull moment in Autumn here in Queenstown,  the fun never stops and there is always something going on. You’ll find yourself wandering the streets soaking up all the hospitality this town has to offer. With hundreds of restaurants and fantastic flavours to choose from, it’s never-ending.  Due to open soon, is Hawker and Roll, a fast-casual restaurant, dishing up Malaysian inspired street-eats with vibrant and authentic flavours. Part of the Madam Woo family, this extension on the ever so popular eating spot will offer easy, quick food-on-the-go, perfect for that walk around the gardens during Luma.
Whatever your plans this year, you should seriously consider Queenstown this Autumn. Its action-packed with festivals, food, drink, and of course, all your favourite activities are still running, there is no better time than now to enjoy them. Our very helpful concierge team can point you in the all the right directions and make you sure you don’t miss anything during your stay!
All the best,
Chris Jones,
Concierge Manager Crowne Plaza Queenstown.

Queenstown Autumn Tips – Concierge Corner

Queenstown Autumn Hotel Sale - Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Updates from the Concierge Corner

The colours of Queenstown Autumn are now on full display and we have checked in with our concierge to get the best tips for your autumn holiday in Queenstown.

Queenstown Autumn Hotel Sale - Crowne Plaza QueenstownDiscover Autumn in Queenstown

Autumn has arrived with a suitcase full of sunshine! After what has been not the best of summers here in Central Otago, it seems to be playing catch up in March. With weeks full of blue bird sky days, now is the time to enjoy all of what Queenstown has to offer! So make the most of the luscious weather, head outdoors and get stuck into those summer activities!

Around the Basin Bike Tours

Queenstown Autumn Hotel Sale - Crowne Plaza QueenstownA hot sunny day is perfect for seeing the sights, and what better way than to spend it exploring the area on a bike. Use the amazing guys at Around the Basin to hire a bike and sit back as they shuttle you out to those hard to reach areas. They offer a comprehensive range of packages to suit any traveller. Half days, full days or even multi days. The choice is yours. Got Kids? Take them on the Arrow River Trail which heads out from Arrowtown and ends in the Gibbston wine country. You can even watch as keen adrenalin seekers throw themselves off the Kawarau Bungy bridge, the first ever commercial Bungy! If wine is your thing, then why not bike the wineries as well. The freedom and choice are endless.

Biking around Queenstown and Central Otago is becoming even more popular every year. It’s peaceful, affordable and fun. Is the thought of biking around for hours exhausting? Then try our very own electric bikes, or E-bikes for short. Environmentally friendly, silent and allows for those steep hills! Here at the Crowne Plaza we offer half day and full day rentals. You can get out between 30-70 km depending on much you assist the bike by pedalling. Sounds too soft for you and want something a little bit more extreme? Then head up the Gondola with your mountain bike and take on the crazy trails of Ben Lomond!

Milford Sound by Helicopter

Queenstown is not the only place in the South Island enjoying the weather, Milford Sound is also getting a lot of sunshine. This a perfect time to make use of those incredible local flights. So why not treat yourself to an unforgettable helicopter experience. The crew at Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters have numerous tours that can take you to some pretty remote locations. Never been on a glacier before? These guys will get you there. If you’re really lucky, you might get Alfie, their most experienced pilot. He took Sir Peter Jackson with him almost 20 years ago to do some filming for a small film trilogy called the Lord of The Rings…

A Package for Every Season

Save up to 25% off with our your autumn holiday in Queenstown when you book your stay before 17 May 2017. Stay between 28 April – 31 May 2017. Save up to an additional 5% off when you book directly as an IHG Rewards Club Member. Signing up is easy and free.

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Home to New Zealand’s Great Walks

Queenstown Autumn Hotel Sale - Crowne Plaza QueenstownThis time of year is also the perfect time to stretch out those legs and take on some of the most beautiful walks in the world. The Southern lakes are home to quite a few! Just to name one, the famous Routeburn track is accessible after one of the world’s most scenic drives into Glenorchy. Start this great walk in Mount Aspiring National Park and after a gradual ascent, you’ll pass through a 130 million-year-old beach forest full of mosses, lichens and ferns. How far you go down the track is up to you. There are checkpoints to suit any level of fitness and time restrictions and a wonderful soundtrack of the native birds to listen to along the way! If you would like a bit of guidance along these walks then look no further than the guys at Guided Walks New Zealand. They can guide you on these incredible journeys and have a wealth of knowledge to pass on. Kind of like your own personal Sir David Attenborough!

Where to Eat in Autumn

After a long days trek, you’re going to be fairly hungry right? Your best bet is our beautiful threesixty restaurant in the hotel. Enjoy panoramic views over Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables while tasting some expertly prepared dishes with locally sourced ingredients. There are also some great brand new restaurants that have recently opened up, to add to the already vast number of places to eat in Queenstown. The Grille by Eichardt’s hotel has recently surfaced to provide a vibrant and stylistic dining experience with amazing views of the Lakefront. Conveniently located in the centre of town by the beach, they specialise in locally sourced produce. Another new restaurant worth noting and should not be missed is The Taj, an upmarket Indian restaurant, whose speciality is local Indian street food. It’s unique, different to the other similar venues and has such an extensive menu showcasing exotic flavours you might have never tried before! It may surprise you!

Queenstown Autumn Hotel Sale - Crowne Plaza QueenstownEvery day in Queenstown is a surprise, you never know what might be waiting just around the corner!


threesixty restaurant welcomes Head Chef

threesixty restaurant new Head Chef Mirco Turtschi at Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Welcome Mirco Turtschi

Head Chef at Crowne Plaza Queenstown

Threesixty queenstown chef

The Swiss-born head chef brings a wealth of experience from hotels and restaurants in Switzerland and New Zealand.

Chef Mirco moved to New Zealand from Switzerland in 2008 to become Head Chef at Le Café in Picton. He made the move back to hotels in 2012 at the Langham Auckland and most recently was Executive Sous Chef at Stamford Plaza Auckland.

He stepped away from commercial kitchens for six months in 2015 to teach theoretical and practical classes to international and domestic students at the NZ Management Academy, while spending time with his new-born and first child Sophia.

As winter approaches, Mirco plans to introduce a perfectly executed High Tea experience for locals and guests with delicate afternoon treats overlooking stunning Lake Wakatipu. He’s also looking to energise hungry skiers and snowboarders by introducing a special skier’s lunch.

In Mirco’s spare time he’s looking forward to motorcycling, joining a local squash team and exploring New Zealand’s South Island ski fields.


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The Insider’s Guide to Queenstown in Autumn

Queenstown sunset

32-qtown_sunsetMy name is Andrew Wall and I am a Concierge at Crowne Plaza Queenstown. I am retired minor league baseball player from New York City who has come to Queenstown to live out my ‘quarter-life crisis’.

When I arrived in Queenstown, I had no experience working in the hospitality industry, so I approached this role with the mindset of a tourist. I learned quickly that Queenstown is a place which has a little bit of something for everyone. Our concierge team is asked on a daily basis about the best activities, attractions and restaurants in town. Thankfully, the region makes our job easy with plenty to do to suit our guests’ wants and needs.

Heading into the fall (autumn), the beauty of Queenstown gets more spectacular by the day. Watch the season change as you admire the stunning views from your private balcony at the hotel. Besides the awe-inspiring views which I have fallen in love with, I’d like to share a few of my favourite local attraction and top tips with you.

I’ll start off with my favorite meal of the day, breakfast. You can’t go past Vudu Café which boasts the honours of having the best coffee in town. Vudu has two different locations, one on the upper portion of Beach Street and the other located on Rees Street. The cafe has an excellent chefs menu, along with a large selection of carefully crafted cabinet options. Another great breakfast option is right on your doorstep, the breakfast buffet at threesixty Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Queenstown. With the weather getting cooler outside, wake up and enjoy the extensive selection complete with a cook-to-order egg station and juicer before heading out to explore the region.

Once you’re fuelled up for the day, my top 5 local activities will help you decide the best way to make the most of your time here.

Wine Tasting

Explore some of Gibbston Valley’s finest establishments and make sure to try some Central Otago Pinot Noir for which the region is famous. Whether you want a private tour, a guided option or perhaps even a biking wine tour, our team will help you create the perfect experience.

Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

For truly breath taking aerial views, a helicopter tour is a must. Create unforgettable memories as you experience the thrill of seeing the region from above.

AJ Hackett Bungy Jumping

There’s a reason why Queenstown is seen as an adventure destination, this is the birthplace of the bungy.  Get the adrenalin pumping as you dive off the platform located 400 metres above Queenstown. You may be a little too occupied to enjoy the view, but make sure to take some pictures at the top!

Skipper’s Canyon Jet

The historic Skipper’s Canyon is a must see on your Queenstown bucket list. You will be picked up from your hotel and enjoy the view as you drive to the canyon. There are plenty of photo opportunities as you journey down the stunning Skippers Road, but the most exciting part is the adventure is the jet boat ride on the Shotover River. You may even find some gold throughout your experience!

skippers canyon


Ben Lomond & Queenstown Hill Hikes

If you feel like venturing out on your own, why not experience the Ben Lomond or Queenstown Hill hikes? The tramp to Ben Lomond Saddle takes 3-4 hours so a reasonable level of fitness is required and getting there and back will take most of the day. However, it’s an easy track which offers panoramic views from the top. The Queenstown Hill walk is much shorter and will also reward you with magnificent views for your efforts. If you are short on time, this 2-3 hour return trip is perfect.

After all the activities you’re probably in need of a refreshment or snack. Stop into Rehab Smoothie and Juice Bar and try one of their healthy juices, smoothies or treats to keep you full until dinner.

Last but not least, here is round up of my 5 best dinner options in Queenstown. For the perfect way to end your day, try out one of the below options, I promise you will love them all!

1. Botswana Butchery – If you’re after a fine dining experience in a cozy setting, Botswana Butchery is the place for you. Their dishes focus heavily on the meat component and they do it flawlessly.

2. Fishbone – As the name suggests, this is the place for fabulous seafood. Their menu changes regularly to reflect the catch so you can be sure that what you’re being served is fresh, in season and delicious.

3. Public Kitchen and Bar – Only a stone throw away from the hotel is this amazing restaurant. They use fresh local produce to create mouth-watering dishes which are perfect for sharing (so you get to try more dishes! They also boast exceptional lake front views.

4. Madam Woo – This is celebrity chef Josh Emett’s latest creation. Featuring Chinese and Malay style street food in a unique, vibrant setting this is casual, fun dining at its best.

5. Sasso –Set in a gorgeous historic cottage right in the heart of Queenstown, this Italian restaurant has an intimate atmosphere and staff who are passionate about food. I highly recommend sampling the 3 or 5 course menu and pairing this with beautiful local and Italian wines check this.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to stop by the desk! Our team would be delighted to help you create a unique and unforgettable experience in Queenstown.



Andrew Wall



Photo Credit

Skippers Canyon by russellstreet