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!

 

Explore Queenstown Like A Local – Family Holiday

The best tips for your family holiday to Queenstown.

family holiday queenstown

Do you have young kids? Travelling with kids doesn’t have to stop you from coming for a family holiday in Queenstown to Explore Queenstown Like A Local.

The Best Nest came with their family just before Christmas. Check out their list of fun things to do as a family.

Read More

Spring Tips 2016

spring colours tips guide queenstown

Spring is here, now comes the blossom

Winter has come to an end and spring is here, earlier than expected it would seem…

spring colours tips guide queenstown

Ski into September

spring colours tips guide queenstownWith rising temperatures, the spring conditions are here. But that shouldn’t stop the fun! Hit the slopes with your sunnies and t-shirt, there are still plenty of snow days left! What’s more, NZSKI is offering a $299 pass to ski all the way through September at Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.

We also have a great Ski + Accommodation package that gets you some great value on the mountain.

 

The Colours of Queenstown

spring colours tips guide queenstownSpring is a great time of the year here in Central Otago, the new green leaves start appearing and the blossoms and daffodils are blooming. It’s a magical time to visit Arrowtown. Full of history, this quiet old mining town is an amazing place to shop, go for a walk, soak up the scenery and visit the old Chinese Settlements. A brand new tour that has started up this year, Remarkable Scenic Tours, offers a great little 2.5-hour tour to Arrowtown and its surrounding areas. This includes photo stop points at Lake hayes, historical hot-spots and free time to cruise around Arrowtown itself. They also offer a craft beer tour for those that love their beers!

 

Get adventurous on the water

spring colours tips guide queenstownFancy doing something a little more adventurous? The warmer weather brings a wealth of activities to get stuck into. Take a beautiful drive to Glenorchy and experience the amazing Dart River Wilderness jet boat tour that lets you explore the hidden side streams, rock pools and dramatic chasms Dart River has to offer. On your return down the river, jump on their Funyaks, inflatable kayaks that let you float downstream and explore the remaining area at your own pace.

 

One ring to rule them all

Wanka-Sightseeing-Flights2While you are in Glenorchy, why not jump on a horse and ride through the stunning surrounding area checking out numerous famous Lord Of The Rings scene locations as you trot along. Pretend you are Aragorn or a Hobbit for the day! While on the subject of Lord Of The Rings, the central Otago region is full of filming locations used for the trilogy and another great way to experience them is to take a 4X4 adventure. The guys at Off Road Adventures and Nomads have you covered. They take you out, off the beaten track, through rivers and high up look out points. On a beautiful spring day, it really is breathtaking!

 

Singing in the rain

spring colours tips guide queenstownIt’s never always sunny in Spring of course. There are plenty of rainy days… which is great! The waterfalls at Milford and Doubtful Sound really do come alive when there is a spot of rain. So look up the folk at Real Journeys and journey to the heart of Milford Sound on their luxurious comfortable coaches and then take an incredible cruise across the sounds to take in all its majestic beauty.

Rain should never be a damper on the day. The hundreds of wineries in the region are waiting for you to come try their favourite barrels. Check out Gibbston Valley (it’s my favourite!) they produce some incredible cheeses, have New Zealand’s largest wine cave and started up the Pinot Noir in this region. Lots of history and plenty to see and do just waiting for you right outside the hotel.

Six tips to prepare for the mountain

Queenstown Snow Winter

Queenstown Snow Winter

Queenstown snow is here!

Picture this, waking up in your warm hotel room and opening the curtains to the incredible views over Lake Wakitipu and snow covered mountains. Your heart pumps with excitement to get to one of Queenstown’s many slopes. But what needs to happen to ensure you are in peak preparation for Queenstown snow?

Here are our insider’s tips to ensure you maximise your time on the slopes.

  1. Hit the Gym

    If you’re coming straight from the office to the slopes then weekend ski and snowboard trips could leave you with strained muscles and a sore back. But with the right preparation, including strengthening your hamstrings, quadriceps, back and core, you won’t have to risk injury or suffer from the usual aches and pains. Here are five exercises that will get you into the right shape.

    1. Toy Soldiers
      Stand up straight with your arms by your side. Without bending your knee raise your right leg in front of you and simultaeously extend your left arm in front of you touching your toes. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.
    2. Step-Ups
      Stand facing a box and place your right foot on the flat surface. Step your left leg up to your right, using the muscles in the right leg to propel you. Step down with your left leg, then your right. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps and then switch legs.
    3. Medicine Ball Hamstring Curl
      Lie on your back, with your legs extended and your feet resting on top of a medicine ball. Using your leg and core strength, draw the ball in until your knees are bent. Hold this position before returning to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
    4. Planks and Side Planks
      Balancing on your forearms in a push-up position, use the strength of your abdominals and glutes to keep your hips raised to shoulder height. Experiment with side planks also by turning on to your side and balancing on one arm and one leg. Complete three sets of 30 to 60 second holds.
    5. Supermans
      Lie on your stomach, slowly lift your arms and upper body, keeping your neck neutral. At the same time, lift your legs, keeping your ankles close together. Hold for a few seconds before relaxing. Complete three sets of 30 to 60 second holds.

      Ski Exercises Queenstown snow

      Planking and superman exercise.

  2. Night Flights

    With Air New Zealand’s new night flights to Queenstown starting at the end of May you can finish work on the Friday and be back home by Sunday evening, making a weekend ski trip to Queenstown so much more accessible. Start planning your ski trip now with our great value ski packages.

  3. Sort out Your Equipment

    Browns Ski shop has been an institution in Queenstown since 1980. Its passionate and experienced team will have you kitted out in no time. Poorly maintained skis or snowboards are often difficult to turn and hard to use, yet that’s what most people ski on every day.

    All tuning work is completed overnight and they even offer a pick-up and delivery service from most of the major hotels in Queenstown. If you don’t have your own equipment, you can make use of their comprehensive rental service which is open July to Sept, 7 days a week.

    SKi package queenstown snow

  4. Fashionable apparel

    You’ll see an array of styles and colours on the mountain, check out the latest fashions and some of New Zealand’s top retailers. Spending the months leading up to your trip getting excited about your outfit will ensure not only style on the mountain but comfort. Bold and bright colours are going to be big again in 2016. My favourite brands are Burton and Volcom, which balance functional freedom of movement with all important style.

    Queenstown Snow Winter

  5. Apps

    The Met Service Snow Weather app is New Zealand’s favourite ski field forecast. Detailed projections, snow falls and webcams will have you prepared in advance for your holiday. Trace Snow, free on Android and iOS is a fantastic ski and snowboarding tracking app. Users can view a summary of statistics of their day after hitting the slopes.

  6. Mountain safety 

    Skiing and snowboarding are fantastic fun but these activities do carry some risk. Having the correct attitude on the mountain is important. This starts with becoming familiar with the many safety tips that all slopes provide for their customers. We also recommend taking a good SPF sunscreen and lip balm up the mountain with you.

SKi package queenstown snow

Most importantly, make sure you start planning your trip well in advance to ensure everything is perfect!

When you feel that you are prepared for the Queenstown snow, don’t forget to look into some of the other great attractions that Queenstown has to offer.  Of course, there is the all important apres ski scene too which is an essential part of the experience. Why not try Onsen Hot Pools to relax those aching muscles, or kick back by the fire at Crowne Plaza Queenstown and enjoy some of their signature white mulled wine in the threesixty lounge bar?

Why stay at Crowne Plaza Queenstown?

  • Be at the centre of it all, walking distance to shopping, bars and restaurants
  • Incredible views of lake Wakatipu
  • Spacious rooms with private balconies
  • Complimentary, unlimited in-room Wi-Fi for IHG Rewards Club members
  • Secure and heated ski storage area
  • Hearty breakfasts
  • Up to the minute snow reports
  • Ski pass sales and in-hotel ski rental services
  • Dedicated activity concierge
  • In-room massage options

Scroll down to view our great ski packages

 

Secret Recipe: Our German white mulled wine

Mulled wine queenstown

35-White mulled wineAs winter approaches and the nights grow colder you will spend your afternoon’s day dreaming about cosying up by the fire. If you are like us and the only thing to make this picture even prettier is to have a warm drink in your hand then you will love this secret recipe.

Heated and spiced wine is recorded as far back as 2nd century Rome. Mulled wine is very popular in the United Kingdom during Christmas and throughout winter. The wonderfully spicy, winter warming mulled wine is a European favourite with various adaptions. Glühwein is popular in German-speaking countries and is likely the inspiration of our little gem.

The Origins of our Mulled Wine

This signature hot white mulled wine with toasted hazelnuts is a closely guarded German family secret of our threesixty Chef de Partie, Nadine Goeke. This is best made with Riesling, which originates in Germany’s Rhine region. Riesling grapes have sweet fruity flavours with aromatic aromas. However, it can be made with any good quality white wine which you would happily drink cold.

White mulled wine

Serves 4-6

You will need

750ml white wine

1 thick orange slice, studded with 4 cloves

2 tbsp. of Mānuka honey, or more to taste

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

2 cardamom pods, bruised

1cm thick slice of fresh ginger

Small handful of roasted and skinned hazelnuts

75ml apple brandy (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F).
  2. Leave the nuts in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so have a peek at this website. They are done when they are fragrant, their skin cracked and glistening.
  3. Pour the nuts into a clean kitchen towel and let cool. Close the towel up and give it an energetic massage so the hazelnuts will rub against one another and the skin will come off in little flakes.
  4. Add all other ingredients except the brandy into a pan and heat slowly until almost simmering. You don’t want to let it boil or the alcohol will evaporate. Turn off the heat and leave for 20 minutes.
  5. While the mulled wine stews, add the roasted and skinned hazelnuts.
  6. To serve, heat until warm and add the brandy. Mix well.
  7. Ladle into serving glasses with a thin slice of orange.
  8. Enjoy.

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.

 

Cheers,

Andrew Wall

 

Andrew_wells

Photo Credit

Skippers Canyon by russellstreet