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Hiking in the South Island

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Guest Blogger: Lucy Xu (Reception Manager)

Nature and the mountains are calling out to you to explore! Our beautiful home of New Zealand offers an endless amount of jaw dropping scenery and there is just so much to explore. The diversity in the scenery here is certainly spectacular; there are glaciers, deep rainforest and lakes so beautiful you just have to go for swim. There is truly no better way to get up close and person with nature than spending a few hours or days just taking in all that New Zealand has to offer and exploring on foot. Speaking from the perspective of a local of 6 ish years, I‚Äôve composed a list of a few of my absolute favourite places to explore and a few handy tips ūüėČ

So without further ado, here comes a hike a day!


Ben Lomond – The best day hike to do in the heart of Queenstown!¬†¬†This beautiful day hike captures the best Queenstown has to offer ‚Äď endless mountains and magnificent lake views. Also if you are after a completely free activity then this is the one, no transport or vehicle required! The hike will take about 6 hours return, maybe a bit longer if you factor in plenty of photo stops and a picnic at the top!
The hike follows an easy path uphill that starts from behind the gondola in the middle of town. Once you reach the saddle, the views just open up and you’ll see an endless amount of mountains in the distance. From the saddle it’s an hour long scramble up to the summit. The summit offers breath- taking 360 degree views of the beautiful Queenstown area, lake and mountains for days!
The track is very exposed, so bring sunscreen if you‚Äôre going on a sunny day, even in winter! The summit can also get very windy so even if you‚Äôre going on a super sunny day, bring some layers. Seeing the views at sunrise or sunset is just spectacular! The light is just the best plus you‚Äôll avoid the crowds as the track can get very busy. If you are doing it at dawn or dusk… Bring a good torch; the track will be pitch black!

First-Timer’s Guide to Paragliding in Queenstown

Monday, March 26th, 2018


Of all the adventure sports activities to available in Queenstown, paragliding from the summit of Coronet Peak ranks as the most memorable. From the initial adrenalin fueled take off to the serene calm of floating across the sky over the Wakatipu Basin, paragliding in Queenstown is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that stays with you forever.

Many would be paragliders are put off by the thought of donning a harness and jumping off a mountain ‚Äď surely such a feat requires months, if not years, of training. Not so! Fly Paragliding is a Queenstown based outfit that offers flights to first timers. No experience is required on the part of the passenger since they will be riding in tandem with an experienced paragliding instructor who will take care of everything from take-off to landing.

Just getting to the take-off spot for Fly Paragliding is an adventure in itself. The base of operations is the summit of Coronet Peak, accessible via a scenic chairlift ride. Once at the takeoff point the staff at Fly Paragliding will kit you out with all the necessary gear and give a quick safety tutorial on operating a paraglider. Don‚Äôt worry though ‚Äď you will be taking the plunge with an experienced operator who will show you the ropes and guide you through the entire process. Even if you don‚Äôt learn a single thing about paragliding you can sit back and enjoy the thrill of a lifetime.

Once you‚Äôre harnessed in and ready to take-off, the operator will take a running jump over the edge of Coronet Peak and you, the paraglider and the operator will plunge into the great beyond. This is where the fear and adrenalin kicks in for most first timers on a paraglider ‚Äď the initial feeling of leaving terra firma and falling is nothing like you have ever experienced before. The panic is short-lived, however, as the operator expertly adjusts his straps and the chute catches an updraft and soars up into the sky. It is now when the adrenalin rush is replaced by a feeling of calm serenity as you experience unpowered flight for the first time.

Watching the valley floor with its lakes and rivers and rocks and little houses from your vantage point in the sky, without a noisy airplane engine or crowded cabin and with only the sound of the wind in your ears is an unrivalled experience. For many this is the highlight of the trip. The operator will perform a few dips and turns as your paraglider meanders across Wakatipu Basin before handing the reins over to you to try your hand and piloting.

After your lesson is complete, the operator once again takes control of the glider and performs some acrobatic manoeuvers, which some first-time paragliders have described as being on a rollercoaster in the sky. By now you should feel secure enough to be able to sit back and enjoy the ride, taking in the sights while you loop and dip hundreds of meters in the air.

Eventually once the paraglider descends to an appropriate altitude, the operator begins landing procedures. Many first-timers are surprised at the speed in which the ground comes hurtling towards them ‚Äď but the operator knows how to slow the paraglider down in such a way that you both gently land on your feet.

For many it is only after landing that they can fully appreciate their flying experience, and as with most adventure sports, the first instinct is to go and do it all over again! Luckily thanks to your helmet cam you nave the entire experience on video and can relive it as many times as you want in the safety of your armchair.

Food, food, FOOD!

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

We’re a little spoilt for choice in the food department here in Queenstown.¬† Whilst our permanent population sits at around 25000 people – a number you might expect would mean that we have maybe 5 restaurants to choose from – we actually have closer to 150, with the number increasing yearly.¬† What this means is that not only are you never too far from an amazing meal, but you are also stuck with such a plethora of options that it can be almost daunting to make a selection.¬† But worry not!¬† We have decided to write you up a quick editorial to make your choice a little easier should you get yourself in a bother about what to put in your gobb.

Breakfast:¬† The most important meal of the day.¬† Whether you’re nursing a sore head from the night before, or maybe you’ve got a full day of activities and adventures ahead of you – either way your first meal of the day needs to be on point.

Red-Rock – Cheapest cook-up in town, starting from $10.¬† Can’t go wrong in the ‘cheap and cheerful’ category, also good for a beer later on in the evening!

Atlas – Waterfront locals delight.¬† Menu changes quite regularly, speedy service, and a price-point that won’t break the bank.¬† This one will also feature for dinner (and hell, lunch too, why not?)!

Vudu or Bespoke Kitchen – Most popular cafe’s in town (Bespoke Kitchen is the newer sister cafe), has cabinet options if you’re on the go or a sit down menu, smoothies, health conscious options, and one of the best coffees in town.¬† Just good luck getting a table.

Yonder РOne of the newer cafe/restaurant/bars in town.  Amazing variety of food, gourmet coffee options, and stick around after your late breakfast for lunch with a craft beer.

FergBaker – FergBurger’s bakery has a variety of pie’s and baked goods, but their breakfast wrap is on point for a meal on the go.¬† A staff favourite when we’re a little late out of the blocks, combine with a coffee and you’ll be ready to attack the day!

Lunch:¬†Lunch is something of a bit of a past-time in Queenstown.¬† Almost every restaurant features cheaper lunch specials to get you in the door, and it’s the only time of the day where almost every single eatery in town is open – spoilt!

Habebes – Another staff favourite.¬† The words ‘healthy’ and ‘kebab’ don’t normally go in the same sentence, but this place pulls it off.¬† Kebabs, homemade pies, and pick your own salad options makes you feel a little better about yourself.

Flame РA meateaters paradise (they have other options though), Flame is a bit of an institution in Queenstown.  South african cuisine, they have some of their dinner options at a cheaper rate.  Ribs and chips is pretty hard to beat, but their mozambique burger is on point too!

Ivy and Lola’s¬†– Close to the waterfront, this place actually does a great breakfast or dinner as well.¬† A little more expensive than other options – but we’re talking a couple of bucks here – a beautiful sit-down option if you’re looking for quality service with a quality view.

Wild Thyme – A bit of a hidden gem – it’s in a casino after all – but they’re lunch menu is cheap with $10 or $15 options that are also sizeable, good and usually quick.

FergBurger – Yeah alright, we said it.¬† It’s a Queenstown icon, the burgers are big and well made, and you can’t go wrong on the price.¬† Just do yourself a favour and try and order your burger over the phone, as you really do NOT want to stand in that rediculous line.¬† The burgers are good, but not a 2hr wait good.

Dinner:¬†This is going to be a hard one to narrow down, but just like about we’ll give you a bunch that range in price and style so you can at least make the most informed decision to sort that hunger!

Smith’s¬†– If you like American-style pub food and craft beer, look no further.¬† Constantly changing taps, and a menu that doesn’t go over $25 (but mostly hovering around $15), they have everything from buffalo wings, to po’ boys to pizza.¬† We can’t go past the loaded fries.¬† Ever.

The World Bar – Specialising in burgers, they’re menu is all less than $20 but has a pretty good variety as well.¬† We’re big fans of the mac’n’cheese balls ourselves, but the Mega Burger deserves it’s name.¬† Stick around after for drinks and live music or DJ’s hitting the decks.

Atlas – Told you it would feature again!¬† Tapas is the name of their dinner game, and paired with 20-odd craft beer options and a waterfront location, Atlas holds a place in our hearts.¬† Otherwise grab one of their 4 evolving main dishes if sharing isn’t your thing.

Bombay Palace¬†– We now have 5 different curry-houses to choose from, and to be honest they all are pretty decent.¬† But the style and service of Bombay trumps the rest, and theres no shortage of curry options.¬† Go on a Wednesday night for $14 curry’s!

Blue Kanu РLooking to impress?  The meals here are incredible, and constantly changing.  Price-point is pretty typical of a nicer restaurant, but we would suggest cheaper than some.  But you can never go wrong no matter what you choose on the menu, as the Asian-Polynesian fusion really hits the mark.

Slow Cuts – You’re going to have to get yourself to Arrowtown for this one, but it will be worth it.¬† A great lunch or dinner option, extremely reasonably priced, and never put a foot wrong.¬† Smashed potato’s all the way!

And there you have it.¬† By no means is this even close to a full list, and we feel bad having to leave some other fav’s off the list (only because you’d get bored of reading).¬† This is just a snippet of the options available to you, so just hit up the team at reception for their favourite options, or give us an idea of what you’re looking for and we can point you in the right direction.¬† The best part?¬† If you’re lucky enough to be staying with us, then it’s all right out your front door! ūüėČ




Cycling in Queenstown

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

One of the finest ways of experiencing all that Queenstown has to offer is from a bicycle seat. Biking across the beautiful rugged regions surrounding Queenstown is a once in a lifetime holiday treat for lovers of the great outdoors. Explore the hidden remote areas off the tourist trail as you and your companions cycle cross country through bike-trails quite literally off the beaten path. The possibilities here endless ‚Äď Queenstown offers biking adventures to suit all tastes from leisurely rides across wine country to white knuckle downhill heli-biking trips through challenging terrain. Whatever your skill and fitness level, bike rental outfits in Queenstown can hook you up with high-end bikes, experienced local guides, tour packages and more.

Here are some of the different cycling package available in Queenstown:

Mounting Biking ‚Äď Everything from scenic back-country tracks and spectacular lakeside paths to jump parks and heli-biking trips to remote areas are available for the mountain biking enthusiast. Furthermore, Queenstown is also home to the Southern Hemisphere‚Äôs premiere downhill mounting biking park accessible only by gondola.

Guided Cycling Tours ‚Äď A guided tour is always a fun and relaxing way of exploring a new bike trails in an unfamiliar area and finding the best views. Guided tours range in scope from short day trips to multi-day adventures across the countryside on bike. One of the biggest benefits of going on a guided biking tour is to meet and socialize with other cyclists who share your passion for adventure on two wheels.

Rent a Bike and Head Out on Your Own ‚Äď For those who prefer their cycling holidays solo, there‚Äôs nothing wrong with getting kitted out at one of Queenstown‚Äôs many bike shops and heading out on your own. Queenstown bike shops can rent you everything from mountain to electric bikes and can also offer helpful information on organizing your trip, show you the basics of bike safety and maintenance and give you invaluable advice on local cycling trails.

You have all the gear and are eager to head out. What are the best Queenstown biking tracks to explore?

Queenstown is a cyclist‚Äôs paradise. There are a number of biking tracks that start from the town centre that will take you on a scenic journey into the heart of the countryside. The popular Queenstown Trail is a 122km off-road network of bike paths that cover some of the most picturesque spots in and around Queenstown. These include Lakes Wakatipu and Hayes, Arrowtown, Gibbston and the wine country in between. What‚Äôs more there are shuttle rides available back to Queenstown so you can get back to your accommodation in ease ‚Äď a perfect end to a fun-filled day.

Combining biking with other forms of transport is also a fun way to explore the region and take in the sights along the way. A vintage steamship ride followed by a bike ride is a great way to experience the Around the Mountains Trail to Mavora Lakes and some of the smaller towns and settlements beyond.

Thanks to Queenstown’s mild climate biking is available all year round (provided you are wearing the right clothing!) so you are free to experience the best biking trails in the Southern Hemisphere no matter the time of year your next vacation in scheduled.

A crazy li’l thing called love…

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Ahh love.  That feeling that can either lift you up into the heavens to keep company with the doves and butterflies (released earlier to celebrate your love), or put you down in the depths of despair with all the other love-less and downtrodden souls unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of a shit situation.  Poetic right?  William Shakespeare would be proud.

If you’re visiting or living in a resort town, there’s a good chance you’ll experience both ends of the yard stick.¬† If you’re here for a good time and not a long time, hopefully it’s the positive end rather than the negative.¬† But hey, people have been known to have their hearts broken in 24hrs or less – at least that’s what we’ve gathered from reality TV in recent times.

Queenstown is a melting pot of people even in the quiet times, and there’s a pretty good chance one of your potential soulmates is cruising through town at the same time you are.¬† But you’re not going to meet them if you stay tucked inside and out of harms way.¬† Grab that frisbee and go for a round of frisbee golf in the park, chat to the other people on your bungy tour, and get yourself a 6-pack and go sit by the beach.¬† Tinder, Grindr (because it’s 2017), and any other social apps are great options sure, but just remember: you already have something in common with everyone else here – you’re in New Zealand, you’re in Queenstown, and you probably came here for pretty similar reasons.

If you’re here for longer, there are no shortage of seasonaires and local legends to meet, not to mention all of the visitors that come through and could well be that significant other.¬† We have 3 words of warning though in this tale of love though:

  1. Get used to goodbyes.¬† There’s plenty of people here for long term, but they’re few and far between.¬† So the love of your life might only be here for the weekend.¬† Keep a box of kleenex and bar of chocolate handy, as you may need ’em.
  2. Be wary of bringing relationships to resort towns.¬† In our experience, relationships that start in resort towns tend to be pretty strong in the long run.¬† Relationships brought to resort towns will often fail on a more regular basis than other places.¬† Temptation is everywhere, and can be a real test for couples that maybe haven’t had such a ‘choice’ presented to them before.
  3. Lastly and most unfortunately, Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere STD capital.¬† This is not a title we’re proud of, but it is none-the-less a title you should be wary of.¬† The only thing you should be taking home are photos and memories, not the clap.¬†¬†Don’t be a fool, wrap your tool.

So get out there, get involved, and give yourself an opportunity to expand yourself and your love life.¬† Just don’t bring them back to the hostel if you’re in a dorm room!¬† You paid for yourself, not your significant-other-for-the-night, and you’ll end up finding out the hard way that accommodation can be hard to come by when you find yourself out of yours for breaking the rules!¬† ūüėČ


A recipe for running a hostel

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

We get asked all the time what it’s like to operate and work in a hostel.¬† So we thought the best option would be to give you a play-by-play on how we did/do it, so hopefully you come away with the best result if you decide to give it a go yourself.¬† *Word of warning – we’re going to be delivering this to you like a cook-book would, so the wording might be a little ambiguous at the best of times.

Step 1.  Decide where you want to cook!

Not all kitchen’s (town’s) need a hostel, or maybe your kitchen has too many hostel’s already.¬† Location is key, and a good hostel will always be convenient to everything around it, not to mention be located in a kitchen where people actually want to dine!¬† So don’t get too excited and start cooking in the wrong spot, as it could put a real dampener on the final result.

Step 2.  Prepare your ingredients

Don’t be afraid to vary the recipe a little depending on the amount of people your cooking for and the size of your dish (hostel), but this is approximately what you’ll require:

A couple of dozen beds/mattresses – Larger size preferred, free-range if possible, always fresh!

Bunks – Normally half as many bunks as mattresses (as there’s 2 beds for every bunk, D’UH!), only necessary if you’re into that sort of thing – as in, if you’re using beds instead of just mattresses, one would expect them supplied with bases.¬† Also “D’uh”.

Toilets and showers РHow many people are you cooking for?  Take that amount, divide by 4, and order appropriately.  Too little and your dish may be a little lacking.  You can either have them in the dish (en suite) or on the side (shared bathroom) depending on preference.  Always clean your produce!

Linen and Pillows – Once again, depending on how many people you’re cooking for, but multiply that amount by 3 for every item of linen and pillows.¬† Also expect to re-order within a couple of years to top off your dish, as you will use up this ingredient quicker than you think!¬† And as always, wash and dry your produce before using it.

Powerpoints and Lights – Sprinkle in as many as your dish requires (at least one of each per diner), and prioritize energy efficiency as you’ll end up with probably a lot of each – higher quality ingredients will always give the best result.

Kitchen – These days this is one of the most important ingredients, and can make or break your dish.¬† What do you need at home to make an amazing meal?¬† You’ll need multiple of each (sinks, stove tops, ovens etc.), fridges as far as the eye can see, seating for at least half of your full occupancy of diners at any one time, tea/coffee/spices to taste, and make sure it’s clean and ready at all times.¬† A view can always help, but space and outfit is paramount for a quality product.

Storage – Lots.¬† Lots and Lots.¬† For everything you can possible imagine + more.¬† Seriously.¬† We can’t stress this enough. LOTS!¬† Did we say ‘lots’?

Lounge Room – Needs to be spacious and comfortable, with books, video games, movies and board games.¬† Your diners will need somewhere to rest their heads after a few drinks with dinner, or to hide when the weather doesn’t come to the dinner party.

Laundry РIndustrial strength for best result.  Should be cleaned prior to use, and kept in great condition to re-heat for seconds.

Free Wi-Fi – Because wi-fi should should always be free – how can you expect your diners to instagram your dish if you don’t give them the means to do so?

Reception – You’ll need somewhere for your diners to be received before their seating, so make sure it’s got space to sit if there’s a wait for a table.¬† And that it’s friendly.¬† And it’s filled with information about their up-coming dining experience.¬† A well informed diner is a happy diner, as they will inevitably waste less of their own time asking questions you could have probably already given them the answer to.

Staff РKnowledgeable, friendly and reliable.  Ultimately one of the key ingredients to make your dish as tasty as possible, and to clean up after your diners are finished!

Step 3.  Combine your ingredients and mix well

One of the easier steps as you’ll simply need to combine all the ingredients in your chosen kitchen and mix well, however don’t let that statement fool you.¬† The mixing process is often filled with un-planned and un-scheduled delays and variables, so just give yourself plenty of time to avoid hungry diners.¬† And of course make sure your kitchen is ready before you order all your ingredients – it doesn’t really work having ingredients with no kitchen to store and prepare them.

Step 4.   Serve and enjoy

Time to plate up and eat!¬† Sounds so simple right?¬† It will take some time to get everything perfect, so expect a few issues along the way.¬† You’ll need to be on-hand a whole bunch to make sure everyone from staff to diners are happy – so you’ll inevitably end up doing a lot of hours slaving over the stove – and prepare yourself for more than a few broken eggs a long the way.¬† The old adage of “if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen” applies here, as you’ll have to deal with everything from broken ingredients, stolen ingredients, to ingredients not even being delivered at all, not to mention all the variables that people themselves bring to the party.

Step 5.  Refine and stay happy! 

As the years go by, you might find the recipe needs to be altered to keep the diners happy.¬† This comes about because as time goes by, expectations change.¬† Take the Tao-ist approach – there are as many expectations as there are people to have them in the first place.¬† This is an opportunity to make things work better for both you and your diners, so embrace change and stay current!¬† But most importantly, stay happy.¬† No great dish is produced by grumpy and negative individuals – and that’s a fact!

Now to stray from the analogies for a second.¬† No great hostel is just the sum of its parts.¬† Facilities, location, cleanliness, outfit and security are all key ingredients to success, but it’s not everything.¬† An enjoyable environment needs the laughter and atmosphere that only people themselves can provide.¬† Your managers and staff initially create the platform for your guests to enjoy, and that combination subsequently creates the vibe and atmosphere that people will remember and come back to.¬† Get involved, have fun, and stay happy!





Come to NZ with a SPRING in your step!

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Ahh ‘Spring’ – you big, beautiful, blooming beast you. ¬†Often overlooked for your colder and warmer counterparts in the form of Summer and Winter, you manage to stay off the radar as the preferred time of year for most tourists in most parts of the world. ¬†But actually, you’re one of our preferred periods of time here in NZ, and for a couple of specific reasons.

Firstly, Spring is the precursor to Summer. ¬†OK, that doesn’t sound like such a great compliment, but hear us out. ¬†Winter can quite often drag a little bit, particularly for those of us that live here full-time. ¬†Snowboarding and Skiing is great, but after a long and cold couple of months, you’re often quite willing to say ‘goodbye’ to having to layer-up the clothing and boil the kettle for the hot water bottle. ¬†The body can be tired and stiff, your outer-wear (and inner-wear for that matter) is starting to develop that season-long odor that we know all to well, and you’re just dying for a sleep-in on the weekends, instead of having to wake up at 7am to look at every available weather and mountain report. ¬†Spring means that the warmer Summer months are just around the corner, and that is OK by us.

Secondly, Spring means slushy snow. ¬†Now, the piste-skiers might have a different opinion on this, but anyone who snowboards or enjoys the park/free-riding terrain LOVES Spring. ¬†The warmer temperatures tend to mean softer snow (and riding in t-shirts), which means that the conditions are more conducive to ‘hucking your meat’ and maybe trying to few more adventurous tricks or lines you’ve been considering for the season. ¬†Got a rail-combo on that stair set that was too scary a month ago? ¬†Give it a bash! ¬†See that chute line over there that has always looked a little firm? ¬†Now’s the time to give it a go! ¬†Soft snow means soft landings, which also means soft crashes, and that can mean the difference between riding away and a broken collarbone. ¬†Trust us on that one…

Thirdly, it’s quieter! ¬†And that goes for the whole country, not just our little corner of it. ¬†Remember how we said most people prefer Summer or Winter? ¬†Well that means that September, October and November are yours to take advantage of. ¬†Don’t like queues? ¬†No problem. ¬†Prefer to leave things unplanned and go with the flow? ¬†Perfect. ¬†Like to save a little on retail rates on just about everything from accommodation to tours to flights? ¬†Well this is the period for you. ¬†Hell, just check out our rates over this period as an example, let alone the cheaper flight options available to and from NZ at this time of year.

Finally, if you’re a flower-buff this is definitively your time of year! ¬†NZ has a substantial volume of stunning public gardens and walks, all of which are littered with any number of stunning flora to enjoy. ¬†Queenstown Gardens in full bloom is a sight to behold, and since it’s a little quieter you can actually enjoy it almost entirely to yourself at certain times of the day. ¬†Grab a frisbee and a beer, go for a round of ‘Frolf’ (Frisbee Golf), and lay back in the sunshine whilst you bask in the natural beauty surrounding you. ¬†Word of warning though – if you’re the sort of person who suffers from hayfever, stock up on medication, as the same local flora that you’re admiring will give you a snout full of pollen for your troubles.

So, long story short, don’t discount Spring as a pretty wicked time to drop in to Aotearoa for a visit – if you’re anything like us, you might just enjoy it!

Down Days not Frown Days

Friday, June 30th, 2017

With the weather being a little poor today (this does mean snow though, so we’re not too worried), it’s made us consider the age old question posed by everyone at some point when the weather is particularly crappy: ¬†What the hell do we do today?

We’re asked this every time mother nature starts playing up, and for good reason. ¬†Obviously we’re the adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere – if not the world – but many of these activities are weather dependent. ¬†For instance, no one in their right mind would want to go paragliding when the wind is howling and the rain coming down. This goes the same for any air-based activity; we’re yet to meet the person that is confident sky-diving in a snow storm. ¬†Even activities like white-water rafting and jet-boating can be hazardous when the rain has come down in proverbial cats/dogs, and the river banks are bulging and flooded.

But don’t worry, there are always options available to those who can’t be put off so easy. ¬†Tours like quad-biking with Off-Road Adventures will operate rain, hail or shine, and this is one of those experiences that is actually better in the wet (think mud, drifting, sliding, etc.). ¬†The TSS Earnslaw will still operate, and even if the weather doesn’t help the view, it’s always a lovely day on the bay on the old girl (and the food over at Walter Peak Station will be safe from the rain inside your tummy). ¬†Wine tours with Queenstown Wine Trail or Appellation are always operating no matter the weather, and Onsen Hot Pools are a great way to warm up if you’ve got the winter chills.

There’s also a bunch of indoor activities right here downtown – just out the front door of our epic location actually! ¬†Fear Factory is great for families and friends alike, just make sure you’ve used the bathroom before the shit is literally scared out of you! ¬†Otherwise grab a cocktail at Minus 5 Ice Bar, escape the brain-tingling rooms at Escape Quest, shoot Zombies (or your friends) at Thrillride, or just grab a game of mini-golf or a movie in the cinema.

Most importantly, don’t be one of those people that flies all the way to the other side of the world, only to shelve yourself in your room/bed for days just because the weather doesn’t tickle your pickle. ¬†You’ve come a long way to do the same thing you could do back home, so get out of your comfortable bed – in the best hostel in Queenstown ūüėČ – get involved in the day, and go explore our beautiful home while you’re away from your own.

The ‘must-haves’ for an epic ski-trip

Friday, May 12th, 2017

We get almost as many ‘first-timers’ staying with us in Winter as experienced snow-sliders, and that first Winter trip can always be a little daunting when it comes to packing. ¬†The seasonaires have their process down-pat, but if it’s your first time – don’t fret! ¬†We’ve got you covered right here with some handy advice to help you enjoy your time in the cold.

  1. Thermals! ¬†If it’s your first Winter experience, it probably means you haven’t experienced a lot of cold before. ¬†NZ has pretty mild winters in comparison to many other resorts around the world, however we still recommend invest in some good quality thermals. ¬†Grab a couple of pairs as well, as unless they are merino (and even if they are) you will start to stink after a couple of days picking yourself up off the snow.
  2. Layers! ¬†Don’t expect to just wear thermals, a t-shirt, and a big jacket. ¬†Layer yourself up with a nice waterproof layer over top, so you’re never cold, and you can just strip off layers as necessary to cool down
  3. Don’t bring everything! ¬†Queenstown has no dress-code when it comes to heading out on the town, so you don’t need to bring all your finer wear with you as well. ¬†Apres Ski drinks should be enjoyed in warm clothes, so don’t be that newbie shivering under the Fergburger heaters at 3am in your short skirts/high heels. ¬†Dress for the conditions and don’t be so concerned with how you look – function definitely trumps form in Winter! ¬†you also don’t need a different outfit for every day of the week, so just give yourself a couple of hours to do some laundry on a day and pack lighter.
  4. Footwear!  And more importantly, socks.  Nothing is worse than cold feet, so bring some thick socks, and a lot of them.
  5. Duty Free! ¬†Do yourself a favour and stock up a little off the plane – alcohol can get spendy, especially when you need a bevvie to discuss the days’ events every day! ¬†So grab a bottle of your favourite, pull up a chair in reception/the kitchen, and have a chat about how rad you got before you hit the town.
  6. Alarm clock! ¬†Don’t be ‘that person’ and miss the bus in the morning. ¬†Just also don’t be ‘that person’ and not wake up to your alarm, thus pissing off all of your room mates!

Most importantly, just get yourself a reservation sooner rather than later, as the worst thing you can do is miss out on Queenstown’s best value accommodation! ¬†You’ll be kicking yourself later when we get that ‘all-time’ season we’re due for ūüėČ

Winter Winter Winter Winter!!!!!

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

It’s official – we have started our slow march into Winter. ¬†For the sticklers of you, you’ll say “but we’re always marching towards Winter if it’s not Winter, right?”, but for a variety of reasons it always feels more ‘official’ once we hit April. ¬†For starters, if you were intending on relocating to Queenstown or Wanaka for the season, you would have wanted to purchase your season passes prior to April, as that’s the cut-off for ‘Early Bird’ pricing. ¬†For us it’s always a last minute decision, based on spur-of-the-moment haste just prior to midnight on the 31st of March. ¬†This is partly because you’re holding out hope you can afford more than one season pass, but mostly because you want to make sure you choose the resort that’s right for you, and coincidentally will have most of your friends riding there through the season as well. ¬†The feeling of impending shred-days is also exacerbated by the start of daylight savings on the 2nd of April, after which the temptation to drag out your shred-kit increases ten-fold.

For us in the Queenstown Lakes District area, it’s generally a choice between NZSki (The Remarkables and Coronet Peak), Cardrona and Treblecone. ¬†For those based in Queenstown it’s probably a choice between NZSki and Cardrona, and for those in Wanaka it may be between Cardrona and Treblecone. ¬†Cardrona is pretty much in between Wanaka and Queenstown, and thus tends to be convenient enough for both towns. ¬†However the proximity of the resorts only really matters if you’re intending on doing a season here. ¬†For those that are coming over for holiday, we would highly suggest to leave your decision-making until you get here, and not get too caught up in the distance to the resorts.

This is for a couple of reasons. ¬†Firstly, terrain and conditions can vary quite significantly between each mountain, and depending on the day it may be better to go ‘here’ rather than ‘there’ so to speak. ¬†Holding off until you get here gives you the best chance at getting the best conditions at whichever resort on that day, and if you’re serious about slashing the white stuff, this is enough of a reason in itself. ¬†The second reason is that when you’re visiting, you should endeavor to experience as many resorts as possible. ¬†If it’s your first time here, you may find a particular mountain suits you and your riding style, and thus finding that mountain might be paramount to getting the most out of your holiday. ¬†But – rather more poetically – we should also remember to enjoy the journey. ¬†Our roads are surrounded by vistas you find on postcards and instagram, and sometimes (particularly if you drive yourself) you might just find that hidden gem on the way back for that apres drink you’ve positively earned that day.

Whatever resort you decide, just remember that no ‘epic’ day starts by complaining about the effort required for said day. ¬†Just make sure you book your accommodation ahead of time if you want to be at Queenstown’s best and most central accommodation. ¬†Just because the resorts aren’t especially convenient, doesn’t mean everything else can’t be ūüėČ