I’ve been on a road trip to Queenstown. I was last in Queenstown as a teenager with my Dad and honestly don’t recall a thing about it – other than remembering it looked like Switzerland. Not that I’d been to Switzerland back then but I thought it must look like the Swiss Alps – because the majestic mountains surrounding Queenstown are very alpine-looking. Now that I’ve been to Switzerland, I can say yep, it has the Swiss alpine vibe about it.

El Hubs announced that he’d take me to Queenstown for my birthday, which is May 8. He was here in 2012 with my step-son when he was visiting from France. I was working in Rome at the time so missed out.

We decided to drive rather than fly (especially since the latest fares we looked at were around NZ$1,000). The drive from Christchurch is around 5 hours 45 minutes and we decided to stop at Fairlie. We went through Fairlie about three years ago on our way to Lake Tekapo. I guess it’s known for one thing – the Fairlie Bakehouse. Here you get the most amazing pies.

Basically, when you get to Fairlie, visitors usually turn right on their way to Lake Tekapo or Queenstown. Not too many turn left and that’s a shame because it’s a quaint little NZ town. We stopped off for a pie (I had a salmon one) and I also had an old-fashioned jam doughnut with REAL cream, not that mock-shock stuff.

The day was beautiful and sunny. A glorious day to see the wonderful NZ scenery. The landscape was studded with poplars and trees displaying amazing colours – from russet red, to burnt orange and lime. It reminds me of the New England landscape in the United States. In the late 1990s, I drove through Massachusetts to see the Fall foliage. OMG. Stunning.

After Fairlie, we continued on to Lake Tekapo and further to Cromwell before arriving in Queenstown around 4.15pm. Wouldn’t you know it – we left a sunny Christchurch only to arrive in wet and cold Queenstown. The loooooooong drive though really affected my left side, which took a battering when I fell off Karma last week. It’s still pretty stiff and sore.

The next day, we walked around the town and I must say it is EXPENSIVE. It’s a town catering to the tourists, skiers and adventurists. As a local told me, Queenstown folk don’t shop in the town. I saw a really gorgeous jacket made from lamb’s wool and it was NZ$3,995. I’m not talking a designer brand here just a plain black jacket made from wool. Sheesh.

I did snap up a few frugal buys as a birthday present to myself, which I’ll show you in another post. I love the Zsiska brand of jewellery and a boutique had a “buy two get the second one at half-price” sale going on. I spotted two rings I’d been lusting after on the Zsiska website so bought them on the spot. Then, in a funky designer boutique a little further on, I saw a cute little NZ-made purse.

The hotel we stayed at is amazing and I took plenty of photos. Next post!


Quaint little Fairlie Bakehouse with fantastic pies and cakes.


I had a salmon pie and El Hubs scoffed a pepper and steak pie. Check out the size of that jam doughnut with REAL cream. Couldn’t eat it all though – too sweet.


The truly stunning Lake Tekapo.


The rugged landscape of Central Otago.


Amazing trees dot the Otago landscape.


Clouds gather Queenstown way and, when we arrived, it was drizzling and cold.