Join Accor Plus for cool room upgrades, discounted stays & up to 50% off meals

Cool upgrades first because I’m sure that’s what readers want to see, then the business end where I list hotel brands part of Accor, and explain how Accor Plus works (Accor Plus is part of Le Club Accor Hotels loyalty programme). The information is based on our experience as Accor Plus members for nearly two years, it’s not written in association with the hotel chain.

Cool upgrade Number 1* – Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa
We booked a superior room for two nights at Sofitel Queenstown but were upgraded to a luxury room. The upgrade included complimentary evening drinks … Read the rest

TSS Earnslaw Lake Cruise in Queenstown

We were travelling in the slow lane on this trip to Queenstown so a cruise on the TSS Earnslaw out to Walter Peak Station for a farm tour and afternoon tea sounded like the perfect afternoon out, and it was.

TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu

TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu

The grand old Lady of the Lake is a coal powered steamer and made her maiden voyage in 1912, the same year as the Titanic. In the early days she delivered sheep, people and supplies to isolated farms along Lake Wakatipu. Road improvements meant less demand for steamships, but tourism saved the Earnslaw from the … Read the rest

Cheap & Curious in Queenstown

10 cheap and curious things to see and do in Queenstown for under $50  ….

Curious Kai – Aggy’s Shack, corner Marine Parade & Church Street
Update: Farewell Aggy’s Shack – a Skyline Enterprises building is on the way (December 2015).

Curious or Chicken? Fear Factory, 54 Shotover Street
I’m definitely chicken – the brochure says Fear Factory is “Scarier than Wolf Creek”, that’s too scary for me to contemplate. The Wolf Creek claim is backed up by an initially skeptical reviewer so the Chicken List is definitely where I’d end up. If you’ve packed a spare pair of pants … Read the rest

Backpacking Rydges style in Queenstown

Looking online for a hotel in Queenstown I came across budget rooms at Rydges Lakeland Resort advertised as ‘Private Backpacker Style Accommodation’. Given I’d booked a night in a Sanctuary Dorm at Base Backpackers I thought I’d stick with the theme and see how the Rydges backpacker accommodation stacked up. In short, Rydges is top shelf.

Twin budget (backpacker style) room at Rydges, Queenstown

The room and ensuite were both large and light, facilities included a fridge, tea and coffee making provisions, iron and ironing board, flat screen TV with Sky, the usual towels and toiletries, and unlimited free Wi-fi.… Read the rest

A night in a Sanctuary Dorm at Base Backpackers, Queenstown

I’m curious about backpacker hostels catering specifically for women travellers so on a solo trip to Queenstown I booked a bed in a Sanctuary Dorm at Base Backpackers on Shotover Street. Base is a big, busy hostel and as to be expected in a backpacker party town like Queenstown, the hostel is well used, and it shows.

Sanctuary Dorm, Base Queenstown

Sanctuary Dorm, Base Queenstown

The girls only Sanctuary Dorms sleep 8, the bunk beds are made with decent linen and each bed has its own reading light. (Check in at 1pm to nab a bottom bunk). The pink walls and Hollywood style mirror … Read the rest

Quirky Creeksyde Holiday Park – Unusual Accommodation in Queenstown

Curious, quirky and unusual all describe the facilities at Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park Creeksyde. From the ‘Tapas Room’ barbecue pavilion to the trompe l’oeil (deceive the eye) murals in the communal bathrooms …..

Tapas Room BBQ Pavilion

Tapas Room BBQ Pavilion

Tapas Room BBQ Pavilion

Tapas Room BBQ Pavilion

The ‘Oast House’ communal bathrooms are built with timber recycled from an old brewery.

Oast House communal bathrooms

Oast House communal bathrooms

The trompe l’oeil (deceive the eye) murals inside ‘Oast House’ – mind the stairs in the mens room.

Mens bathroom - mind the stairs

Mens bathroom – mind the stairs

Girls get a Body Sanctum bathroom with the Skyline Gondola in the shower.

Body sanctum bathroom

Body sanctum bathroom

Read the rest

Curiously Cool in Queenstown

Below Zero Ice Bar was a bit like a 3D New Zealand tourism brochure in ice, if you melted the polar bear. Although the polar bear’s handy for holding vodka bottles, and plenty of vodka is needed to fill the ice glasses with Perky Penguin and Chilled Kiwi cocktails.

Ice gondola at Below Zero

Ice gondola at Below Zero

Below Zero Ice Bar, Queenstown

Below Zero Ice Bar , Queenstown

The ice sculptures have changed since our visit, the jet boat may have gone but the gondola remains. The gondola comfortably seats two, although getting up close and personal isn’t a bad idea. After 30 minutes or so in Below … Read the rest

High flying in Queenstown – G Force Paragliding

G Force Paragliding, Skyline Gondola, Bob’s Peak
After a legal high in Paihia with Flying Kiwi Parasail I’ve been keen to keep my feet on the ground, or at least on the water. It was the white collar crim turned high flyer who was brave enough to fly off Bob’s Peak with G Force Paragliding.

Getting ready to go

Getting ready to go

The floating chair

The floating chair

Mike was matched with Rene for the tandem flight, and strapped into a harness – part of the harness turns into a chair once you’re in the air. With the paraglider wing open behind them, they took a … Read the rest

Jet Boat Adrenalin Action in Queenstown

Thunder Jet, Earnslaw Park, Beach Street, Queenstown
“I was caught, In the middle of Lake Wakatipu, I looked ’round, And I knew there was no turning back, The engine revved, And I thought what could I do?, And I knew ….. hold on, you’re on the Thunder Jet”.

The real AC/DC lyrics boom out of the stereo on the Thunder Jet as you speed across Lake Wakatipu. Our driver Kylie was as good at spinning the boat as Angus is with his riffs. Usually when someone gives you the finger it’s not a good sign, but on the Thunder Jet … Read the rest