After a good night’s sleep it’s time to explore Queenstown. We got up, had some breakfast snacks and headed out. Town is just down the mountain about a five minute drive away. I suppose we could have walked it. Going down would have been a piece of cake but the return trip the steep mountain would have been murder so we opted to drive.
The town center was bustling with people walking everywhere. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were finally enjoying a bit of warmth (in the sun anyway) in spite of the cool breeze drifting across the water. One of the first things we noticed as we began walking around is how pristine the streets and are here. There isn’t a single spec of garbage to be found anywhere….not even a cigarette butt or scrap of paper. It’s like the city is a perfect gift that has just been unwrapped. It’s absolutely astounding and it really is something that is hard to imagine if you haven’t seen it with your own eyes. We couldn’t stop talking about it.
We meandered though the shops and enjoyed a stroll through the craft market where the locals had their wares on display along side of Lake Wakatipu. Mary picked up a warm hat that suited her just perfectly and after a bit it was time to grab a bite to eat and enjoy a few beers in the Irish pub, Póg Mahone’s. We were the first people to enter as they opened on this bright sunny afternoon and because of our promptness we were able to secure the most amazing table right in front of the fireplace! The sun was shining that day but there was a cool breeze coming across the lake so the cozy, warm fire was a welcome treat.
The food here is exceptional. Mary and I had the Beef and Guinness Pie and the boys had hamburgers. We truly enjoyed this little lakefront gem; so much so that we came back the following day. After all, when you find something good you stick with it right?
We learned that this place is owned by a Kiwi and an Irishman. They opened it in the late 90’s and they wanted it to be so authentic that they had the entire place built in Ireland and then shipped to New Zealand and assembled. That’s some dedication to authenticity there now.
Later that afternoon we had reservations at the Minus 5° Ice Bar. If you’ve never been to an ice bar we highly recommend it. No, it’s not a place where you go to spend an afternoon but an hour in one of these places is pretty cool. No pun intended. We’re sure our friends who live in the northern part of the U.S. this year are laughing at us for even considering this fun but for us, it was a great little treat and of course it yielded some really fun photos as well.
The first thing they do when you arrive is outfit you with super warm and cozy coats and gloves. And, if you don’t have proper shoes they will even give you socks to keep your feet warm. Then at our appointed time they escorted us into the frozen bar. Yes, everything inside is made of ice…the tables, chairs, sculptures, bar and even the cups that your cocktails are served in…it’s all ice! And it’s beautiful!
As you can see Dan is really getting into the spirit…or maybe the spirits are getting into him!
They have changing colored lights that slowly fade from red to blue to green which makes the whole place look different every few seconds. The sculptures are absolute works of art. There’s a bear, an alligator, a cowboy and more. We take turns having photos taken with every object in the place. The bartender even lets me go behind the bar to get a photo with the frozen sign in the background. The drinks? All are variations of cocktails made with vodka. Our admission fee of $27 NZD/person included two drinks and we paid for an extra one. About twenty minutes before our time was up Mary and Dan decided it was too cold so they took their leave. Jack and I decided we had paid for the ride and we were going to see it through to the end. So, we ordered an extra cocktail to help us keep warm and kept taking pics. When our time was up we headed out into the warmth of the outdoors. It wasn’t really warm outside but it’s was a darn sight warmer than the bar.
From here we took a walk back down by the water where there is a boat that’s a floating bar. Well, why not? The sun was out and the water was beautiful so what better place to spend an hour or two? We hopped aboard, ordered a few beers and headed to the upper deck to enjoy the lake views.
After a wonderful afternoon in town we went back to the house to relax for a bit before heading out to dinner. Tonight we decided to head down to V’Know. It’s a really cool restaurant and wine bar just down the hill from our house. The owner, Danny Carson, is a really great guy and the food here is top notch. We highly recommend stopping in if you are ever in the area.
By the time we had dinner and made it back to the house we were all exhausted from the day. One thing is for sure, we certainly love Queenstown and we made the most of every moment here today. Tomorrow we have more amazing adventures ahead including a ride on the Skyline Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak and a trip on a true steamship, the TSS Earnslaw. It’s the only hand fired steamship in operation in the Southern Hemisphere! Check back because you won’t want to miss this!
Jilly & Dan
P.S. Just a couple more entries before Team Dazzler sets sail again! This year we’re off to Tonga and Fiji and maybe a couple of other places. Subscribe to our blog to be sure you don’t miss a single adventure.