How to spend an unforgettable Christmas in Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown’s popularity is not confined to the cool winter months. If you’re planning to visit this epic resort town around the Christmas period, there are plenty of attractions that will get you relishing the cheerful New Zealand summer days. Here’s how you can spend the holidays in the best possible manner.
Visit the Arrowtown Christmas Market
This is one of the first Christmas-themed celebrations to reach Queenstown’s surrounds. For those unfamiliar with Arrowtown, it is a former gold mining village just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown – its proximity has made it quite a good place for a day trip. Every year Arrowtown Plunket hosts a Christmas Market fundraiser, with stalls filled with handcrafted items of all sorts – from clothes and jewellery to homewares and acessories. The market will be held on Nov 19 2017 – a gold coin donation is all that’s asked for admission.
Passing through Wanaka? Check out Santa’s Grotto
Wanaka is another must-visit for those wanting to venture outside of Queenstown for a day or two. For the past three years, the community has hosted a charitable Santa’s Grottoevent that encourages everyone to unleash their inner child. Market stalls, Santa appearances plus a number of fun-filled family events are some of the key highlights of this celebration. Santa’s Grotto will be open for the first weeks of December and tickets are around NZ$5 per person.
Have a Christmas feast at the Skyline Gondola
The Skyline Gondola’s Stratosfare Restaurant will host a special lunch and dinner on Christmas Day and New Years’ Eve. For the former, expect plenty of live music, a delectable traditional buffet, plus a scenic Gondola ride, two luge sessions and a visit from Santa himself.
Alternatively, have a lavish Christmas meal at the Hilton
If you’re wanting to splash out on some festive fine dining, the Hilton is the place to go. In 2017, the luxurious venue will bring its patrons a two-hour Christmas BBQ lunch or a three-course meal at the hotel’s Wakatipu Grill, plus five-course dinner offerings on both Christmas and New Years’ eve. Again, reservations are an absolute must to avoid disappointment.
Go on a Christmas adventure
Queenstown is one of the few places in New Zealand that doesn’t fully ‘shut down’ on Christmas Day. Many of the popular thrill-seeking attractions will still be operating, albeit for a limited time. It’s also worth noting that some bars and restaurants will remain open too – just keep in mind that you may get hit with a holiday surcharge on your orders. But for the adventure seekers, this is the time to get a summer adrenaline rush – activities to put on your to-do list include kayaking, jet boating and rafting through the Skippers Canyon rapids.
Have a picnic by the lakeside
Why not celebrate Christmas in a low-key Kiwi style? Stock up on food supplies before Christmas Day and head over to the lakeside for a scenic picnic. Queenstown is surrounded by the glistening Lake Wakatipu waters, so you won’t be short of options of places for an outdoorsy feast. If you want to head further afield, there are some great picnicking places en route to Glenorchy too.
Source: The Culture Trip.