Idyllic Queenstown at the Shores: An Anantara Vacation Club review by Melanie Smith.

Queenstown Tourist map Anantara Vacation Club

Wow.  That’s all I can say as I fly over the beautiful peaks of the South Island of New Zealand, to land at Queenstown airport.  As we fly low between the mountains my breath is taken away by how spectacular the scenery is.  From the beautiful white tipped mountain range to the glistening water in the lakes this is truly magnificent.

As the Group Director of Club Operations I am visiting Queenstown for a few nights, staying in the Anantara Vacation Club Suites at Oaks Shores.  It is my first visit to Queenstown, and I have had a marvelous stay.

From the moment I arrive I am astounded at how helpful and friendly the people are. True they have a strong accent, and at times I have to ask them to repeat themselves so I can understand them, but their warm, welcoming spirit makes up for all of that.  I grab a hire car from the Airport, and head off to the resort.  It’s a simple ten minute drive, on one road that heads into town, with no traffic.  As I wind along the road I keep looking at the snow capped mountains, and can’t believe how beautiful it is. (If you don’t feel like driving there is a regular shuttle service from the airport to the city centre, or taxi’s are also available)

The Oaks Shores Resort is perfectly situated on the hillside, overlooking Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables Mountain Range. I am sorry I have travelled on my own, as the suites are large enough to accommodate a family of eight, and I don’t know what to do with all this space.  The master bedroom has sweeping views across the lake and mountains, and I am surprised by how warm the room is on arrival.  Despite being the middle of winter, the sun is streaming into the unit, and coupled with the open fire you would never know it’s only eleven degrees outside.

Queenstown Lake Wakatipu

To get the best view in town I choose to visit the Skyline Queenstown – and Luge.  I marvel at the stunning views as I am carried 450 metres above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu to the top of Bob’s Peak. On the ride I enjoy the 220 degree panorama, with views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak and over Queenstown.  After grabbing a coffee at the café it’s time to head back down the hill.

There are so many fabulous places to eat in Queenstown, from gourmet take away to exquisite five star cuisines. I was advised I had to try a burger at Fergburger, or my visit to Queenstown would not be complete.  Despite the chilly night air the place was crammed full of people who had obviously been given the same advice.  The blackboard menu made it difficult to choose.  I enjoyed a glass of mulled wine and watched the world go by, whilst I waited for my dinner to be cooked in front of me.  Once I bit into my burger I knew the 15 minute wait was worth it.  By far the best burger I have ever had. Definitely a must visit!!

New Zealand is renowned for its wine making skills, and one cannot visit without experiencing some of the delicious Sauvignon Blancs or Pinot Noirs.  I chose a crisp refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, choosing to drink this while watching the sun go down over the Remarkables Mountain Range whilst sitting on my balcony.  The air was a little cool, however so fresh and unpolluted that I wished I could stay here forever.

Queenstown is undoubtedly the adrenalin capital of New Zealand. From skiing in the Remarkables or experiencing the thrill of the Shotover Jet where you speed in mere centimetres of water along the famous Shotover River and deep into the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. Alternatively Bungee Jump from a 134m cable car, Zipline through the forest, or whitewater raft through a raging rapid.

For those of you who don’t want so much adventure, there are certainly enough non adrenalin raising activities to keep you busy.  Take a day trip to the Milford Sound, experience a sunrise balloon flight or horse ride through “Lord of the Rings” Country, enjoy a scenic steamboat cruise on Lake Wakatipu or golf at one of the five quality courses in Queenstown.

Unfortunately my visit was short, and it’s time to return to back to bustling Bangkok. I will be adding Queenstown to my list of places to visit again, choosing to stay for longer next time so I can further enjoy the New Zealand Hospitality and all that Queenstown has to offer.

Video by purequeenstown

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