Queenstown, New Zealand is our home, and it’s our deepest privilege to share our culture with the world.
Written By: Linda McIntosh, Trade Marketing Manager – Destination Queenstown
Surround by majestic mountains and nestled on the shores of crystal-clear Lake Whakatipu, Queenstown offers diverse, world-class experiences, a warm welcome and a cosmopolitan vibe. Queenstown was founded by adventurers and to this day our love of adventure is the common thread that defines our people. From the early Māori and gold miners to outdoorsmen who seek thrills in our remote backcountry and innovative tourism pioneers who have turned their passions into enterprise. Queenstown has fuelled imaginations and inspired many to explore.
This is a place to venture beyond – whether you’re chasing the snow, exploring our trails, indulging in award-winning food and wine, experiencing the great walks, discovering stunning fairways or seeking adrenaline thrills, Queenstown offers an adventure for everyone, of all tastes, tempos and temperatures. Let Queenstown’s magnetic energy inspire your clients.
While we’ve been waiting to welcome you and your clients, Queenstown has been developing, upgrading and expanding. From new hotels, including the region’s first 6-star property to new activity products and great food options, Queenstown has been busy. Read on for an update of what’s been happening recently, so you can build your client’s itineraries with confidence.
New Zealand and Queenstown are “ready to welcome back the world”
This week, the New Zealand Government has announced new dates to open-up borders for visitors. Australians will be able to come to New Zealand without isolating from April 13 and fully vaccinated travellers from visa-waiver countries (like the US & Canada) will be able to enter New Zealand from May 3. For a full outline on the current plan to reopen New Zealand borders, visit the official Covid-19 website.
Airlines are set to take flight
Air New Zealand is set to relaunch 24 international routes, including some long-haul destinations as New Zealand gets prepared to open its border. Following the Government’s announcement on a five-step reopening plan, the national carrier responded with plans to restart flying to popular destinations like Singapore, Hawaii, San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago. Read more here.
Air New Zealand has released a 2021 Sustainability Report which sets out the airline’s path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Our accommodation capacity has grown
Our hotel capacity has seen a 40% increase between 2018 – 2022 across a variety of accommodation types. Here are some of our latest offerings:
The Carlin Hotel Queenstown’s first 6-star hotel is opening March.
Quest Queenstown located in Frankton and close to the airport, is now open.
Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park offers a full-service hotel with a range of modern facilities, now open.
Sudima Queenstown ideal for both leisure and business travellers, now open.
For further updates download our Queenstown Accommodation Pipeline PDF to learn more about all the latest accommodation developments that are now open and under construction.
Air Milford has launched Ride from the Sky. Fly over Queenstown, Lake Whakatipu and the surrounding mountains to a beautiful alpine setting in the Von Valley. Then bike the 32km trail traversing rolling hills and the shores of Lake Whakatipu as you ride from the Von Hill, past Mt Nicholas station to Walter Peak Homestead. Once you arrive at the homestead, enjoy a delicious gourmet BBQ meal at the Walter Peak homestead. To finish, cruise on board the historic TSS Earnslaw back to Queenstown.
Altitude Tours has added two new experiences to their epic small group travel offering. The first is New Zealand’s only Gin Tour. Or, your client’s can choose the world’s first Heli Gin Tour together with The Helicopter Line. Both gin experiences depart Queenstown daily at 1pm and return at 7pm. Your clients will visit three different and unique cellar door experiences – Cardrona Distillery, The Winery and Broken Heart.
Millbrook Resort has launched a new championship golf course. The Coronet 18 opened in January and is a combination of the stunning new Coronet 9 which winds its way around a newly-developed area of Millbrook called Mill Farm, and the existing Coronet 9 holes. With the Remarkables 18 also in play, Millbrook is now one of only two golf courses in New Zealand to offer two distinctly different 18-hole courses.
Kingpin Queenstown has opened at the Upper Village and offers ten pin bowling lanes, arcade, virtual reality games, escape rooms, karaoke rooms, table tennis, billiards, cocktails and corporate functions.
Cardrona Alpine Resort has introduced an alpine swing with an incredible view of Soho Basin and beyond. It’s located behind McDougall’s Chondola top station and can be accessed by riding up in a Gondola cabin from the Base building or on foot whilst exploring Cardrona’s walking trails. It’s the perfect spot for guests to sit, get an insta-shot and enjoy the epic view year-round. Cardrona offers experiences all year round with snow in the winter months and several summer/autumn activities such as mountain carting, a bike park, hiking and a great food and beverage scene.
Queenstown Trails Trust opens on Saturday, 5th March, a new world-class, 50+km backcountry loop around Queenstown’s Coronet Peak for mountain bikers and hikers. The Coronet Loop trail opens up a unique part of New Zealand’s backcountry not previously accessible to the public.
JUCY Cruise has rebranded to Pure Milford. With this name change, it will be offering a slower, more immersive experience in Milford with departures to/from Queenstown by either coach or flight.
Latest culinary delights
There are over 150 bars and restaurants in Queenstown, offering an extensive range to tempt all taste buds, from fine dining to bustling eateries, family-friendly cafes and boutique restaurants. Below are some of the latest offerings are:
The Bunker has reopened after a six-month revamp. The discreet exterior of this favourite Queenstown establishment belies an intoxicating mix of rustic fine dining, cocktail lounge and private group dining room for up to 70 people complete with open log fires and leather couches to sink into until the wee small hours with one of The Bunkers superb cocktails, or before dinner for a premium aperitif.
Little Aosta is a family-friendly, fast-paced trattoria inspired by the cooking techniques of Northern Italy paired with ingredients of the South of New Zealand. The menu, curated by Ben Bayly and team, is designed to bring the magic of an authentic multi-generational Italian home into the heart of Arrowtown, capturing the essence of northern Italian food that is pared back and designed for sharing.
The Bavarian brings a German-inspired, New Zealand-embraced dining experience to Queenstown! Located in the new Upper Village complex the restaurant offers a unique blend of Bavarian-inspired diner and local pub, where guests can enjoy good food, good beers and good times.
El Camino Cantina, also located in the new Upper Village precinct, offers a value-packed, flavourful Tex-Mex dining experience complete with sombrero-filled party vibes. More here.
Queenstown Ice Bar offers an elevated take on the classic Ice Bar experience, offering premium cocktails, a striking lounge bar, and a truly unique night out. Immerse yourself in the Scandinavian-inspired cocktail lounge, built from 25 tonnes of hand carved, glass-like ice architecture. Stay cosy in our luxe winter coats, and quench your thirst with the carefully curated cocktail menu.
Marmolada Cafe has recently opened in central Queenstown and offers Supreme coffee and a seasonal menu.
An award-winning destination
Queenstown has received several accolades in the annual Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards:
Queenstown has also ranked #44 worldwide in the Leading Places: The 100 Most Loved Destinations Around the World for 2021 for 2021 from Tourism Sentiment Index (TSI).
Congratulations to The Rees who has been awarded Best New Zealand Ski Hotel 2021 for the 6th consecutive year at the 9th annual World Ski Awards.
Congratulations to Amisfield and chef Vaughan Mabee who picked up two awards at last night’s Cuisine Good Food Awards. Amisfield received American Express Restaurant of the Year and was awarded three hats, while Vaughan Mabee was awarded the Ora King Innovation Award. Other recipients include Sherwood who also received two hats, and Aosta and Botswana Butchery who received one hat each.
Congratulations to Sofitel Queenstown who received the joint win for NZ Hotel of the Year at the HM Awards.
Stay connected for your clients
With the anticipation of New Zealand reconnecting to the world, we would encourage you to sign up to our newsletter for the latest Queenstown updates and we invite all travel sellers to join our closed Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Our stream on-demand trainings will take you on a journey around Queenstown and the Whakatipu basin to bring you a sample of the seasons and what your clients can expect from a visit at any time of the year. Click here to see our latest video.
These resources are dedicated to keeping you up to date with the news, educational opportunities and insider knowledge for when it comes to building your client’s itineraries. See more tools for selling Queenstown here.
If you have any questions about Queenstown or want more specific information for you clients, please get in touch with me, I’d love to hear from you!