We received a wedding invitation last year from a special young couple, a pair known for many things but to us ‘the guy who cared’ and ‘the girl who always danced with our daughter’. The wedding set for the last week of the April school holidays in the beautiful region of Tauranga, we began planning a 10 day family holiday that would take us Dunedin - Queenstown - Auckland - Tauranga - Queenstown - Dunedin.
It had been 7 years since we were last in Queenstown, somewhere we used to visit semi-regularly transitioning to Wanaka as a favourite family holiday spot in Central Otago after becoming parents.
With limited time in Queenstown this trip, (1.5 days) weather wise we encountered splashes of blue, plenty of cold, grey & drizzle - not so conducive to great photography but despite this the magnificence of the landscape was truly breathtaking.
H o l i d a y h i g h s a n d l o w s
When you are working with photography, it is creatively inspiring and beautiful but has a way of casting a gloss over life that can illuminate the pinnacles and mask the truth to a degree. A lot of the good but not so much the bad or the ugly.
Wanting to share some of our holiday favourites but take a minute for a reality check…like all good family holidays there was vomit, there was tiredness and tears by 2/3 of the fam, there were some great meals and some very average ones. There was indecision, arguments and threats of ‘consequences’ as well as laughter and connection.
We found some great accommodation and had one very long night at an air bnb attatched to party central. Nursing a stubborn shoulder injury - my exercise mat and bands were packed and part of daily holiday activities, with poor old Nick manhandling our overweight suitcases all over the country. ( think tripods/camera gear/ my shoe problem…..)
Despite the challenges along the way we had some moments, some memorable family moments which makes all the rest worthwhile doesn’t it?
O l d f a v o u r i t e s - l a k e s i d e
Sometimes it’s the simple things isn’t it? the lakeside walking track is a great way to take in the natural beauty of Queenstown.
N e w f a v o u r i t e s - H a n l e y ‘ s F a r m
Our first stop on arrival was to locate Hanley’s Farm which is a developing subdivision adjacent to Jack’s Point and home to a new recreational/playground area. What a fantastic space - our daughter would have played there happily for a long time.
It’s not often i’d call a playground therapeutic but this area ticks all the boxes and when you’re not watching your children….you can check out the nearby building development, have a BBQ or even do a spot of activity yourself on the outdoor gym or sprint track….
Despite being in Queenstown for just over a day we found a few faves:
F o r c o f f e e - VUDU CAFE & LARDER (the raw slices are exceptional)
F o r b r e a k i e - JOE’S GARAGE - On our last day of holiday we flew back to Queenstown (which was a balmy 4 degrees), in a bit of a shabby state after two days of wedding celebrations, a birthday, a lot of travel and not much sleep. What a relief to stumble into the warm cosy atmosphere of Joe’s Garage and watch the grill masters working their magic while indulging in great coffee and the perfect cooked breakfast - bratwurst to die for.
F o r d r i n k s - REDS BAR - QT Queenstown. If you are looking for somewhere spacious with elevated sweeping views taking in the lake and mountains this is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink.
D i n n e r o n a B u d g e t - FERGBURGER - Nick couldn’t resist joining the queue for his favourite burger on the planet.
Not to be forgotten - FERGBAKER - amazing pies to be found here!
BIG FIG - another goodie for groups or families looking for variety with slow cooked meals, veges and salads to select from.
F i n e D i n i n g - unfortunately we did none on this trip but would’ve loved to visit Rata again.
E n t e r t a i n m e n t - HAPPY THE SINGING SHEEPDOG & KIM
S t r e e t s i d e
SLOW - located on Beach Street this gorgeous boutique is well worth a visit with a dedicated coffee studio to relax in.
ROMER GALLERY - Showcasing the most beautiful photographic work by Stephan Romer, capturing the stark, raw, delicate beauty found in some of New Zealand’s most isolated areas. Located at 15 Earl Street this is a must see.
A c c o m o d a t i o n
QT Queenstown - 30 Brunswick St
Celebrating a birthday on our holiday we dedicated one night to a special hotel stay and we were so glad we chose QT Queenstown. Our stylish suite felt like a cosy, nurturing haven after long days of travel and cold drizzly weather outside, we loved it so much we opted for a night in to relax over heading out.
Q u i e t m o r n i n g s
What a spot to start the day, breakfast offerings at the hotel were broad and delicious accompanied by friendly and warm service, a mark of our experience at QT Queenstown.
A r u d e a w a k e n i n g
NATURE - can a photographer ever say ‘no’ to nature when it teases with it’s fierce and it’s finery?
Pictured roadside, south of Alexandra, it was blowing a gale, freezing cold and raining but after a roadie of ‘gently’ pointing out and discussing potential stopping points - it happened. The rainbow had taunted us for an hour until it became inevitable, we pulled over the Subaru and watched Nick do his (crazy) thing.
This post covered our time in Queenstown at the beginning and end of our April trip, if you’d like to see more of Nick’s photography from a few days spent in the beautiful suburb of Devonport Auckland or the beaches of Tauranga come back tomorrow. Thanks for reading