10 Days in the South Island Day 8

A beautiful sculpture lakefront at Queenstown

10 Days in the South Island Day 8 - Queenstown

We wake to a beautiful winter day in Queenstown.

It's around 7 am and I head out for a morning walk into town. It's still dark and around -2 degrees c, but there are lots of people out walking and jogging.

Early morning in Queenstown mall

The day though is clear, and it looks like it will be perfect for our golf at around 11 am.

As I make my way along the lakefront to town, tour coaches line up outside the larger hotels, ready for the day ahead. Some will be heading off on extended tours to other parts of the South Island, but there are some that are preparing for the day trip to Milford Sound.

Although it's not on our itinerary this time, we can't wait to visit Milford Sound again. It's been a few years since our last trip there, and it's one of those places that the brochures don't do justice to.

Towering cliffs, deep dark water, and thundering waterfalls are all part of what makes it, and it's "twin" Doubtful Sound, a must do.

Views from Pepper's Beacon Queenstown

It's a big day (about 12 or 13 hours in total) but well worth it. The drive there is in itself something that you will remember.

You can learn more about Milford and Doubtful Sounds on our dedicated pages (just click on the highlighted links below):

As I reach the town center the first rays of sun appear. My eyes are drawn up to the top of Bob's Peak, and the Skyline Gondola complex. If you want the best views of Queenstown, it's the place to go.

Our plan is to head up there tomorrow or the day after. It's just such a special spot, that we make sure we head up there each time we are in Queenstown. Can't wait to show our friends the view.

A tour boat on magnificent Milford Sound - image courtesy Tourism Holdings

My stroll this morning takes me on a circuit around the compact town center. There are still a few stragglers out from last night (Queenstown has over 100 bars and restaurants), and many of the businesses are preparing for the day ahead. At this time of year, Queenstown is particularly busy, with the nearby ski fields in full flight.

I stop in the mall to take a picture, then use an ATM to top up my cash (all of the major banks are represented here). I head around the corner to a small supermarket that I come to every time I'm here and buy an "apple square" (a small cake with stewed apple between two crumbly bits of pastry - yum), then head past the world famous Fergburger.

Queenstown golf club

Is this the most well known burger joint in the world? If the crowds are anything to go by, it must be. Over the next few days we are amazed by the queues, no matter what time of day or night, that stretch out of the shop and along the footpath. Their gourmet burgers include "Southern Swine", "Little Lamby" and "Sweet Bambi". I haven't had one but my son swears by them!

I make my way back to our unit around 8 am. By this time it's full daylight, and I stand by the lake and take in the views. It's hard to imagine anywhere more stunning than Queenstown.

The three minute walk back to our apartment at Pepper's Beacon makes me appreciate the location. No need to get the car out of the garage, and no hills to conquer. Make sure you check it out.

Lakeside at Queenstown Golf Club

By the time I get back to our apartment everyone else is up, and breakfast is cooking. Bacon, eggs and toast! Perfect for what will be a full day.

After brekky we chill out for a few hours and around 9.30 am Dave and I head off to Queenstown Golf Club. In a straight line from our apartment, it's probably only a kilometer to the course, but we need to drive around part of the lake to get there. Road works mean it's about a 20 minute drive today.

The girls have a day of shopping planned and they can't wait to head into town.

Dave and I arrive at golf, collect our cart and hire clubs, and register to play. We are a bit unsure what to do next, until a friendly local named "Bob" introduces himself and takes us to the starters hut where we meet the captain.

The steamship TSS Earnslaw viewed from Pepper's Beacon

He tells us which hole we are starting on and mentions that he will partner us with two members. We make our way to our tee and are met there by two of the club's life members. They are great blokes and we make our way around the course, swapping stories, and trying hard to concentrate on golf, which is difficult when our attention is constantly drawn to the view.

It's a lovely course and after play we make our way inside for a few beers with our playing partners. We meet a few more members and are impressed by how friendly and welcoming everyone is. A great spot.

Around 5pm we head back to our apartment and meet up with the girls who have had a very enjoyable day.

Dusk in Queenstown

The central Queenstown shopping area is quite compact and is concentrated around three or four city blocks, fronting the lake. Filled with bars, restaurants, gift shops and boutiques, it's a shoppers paradise, if that's your thing.

During the day Kim and Paula stopped at Fergburger's sister store Mrs Ferg, where they had a delicious gelato.   It was then off to the Saturday markets, which are held by the lake next to the shopping area. These local markets have a great range of local produce and hand crafted items.

After a short wander through the markets they finished up with a few local wines at the Pub on Wharf before heading home.

Reunited, we sit back with a wine and a beer, and watch the steamship TSS Earnslaw cruise by.

A beautiful baked dinner in our apartment, looking over the lake, makes for the perfect end to another wonderful day in Queenstown.


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