Aboard the Southern Discovery, cruising in Milford Sound
Aboard the Southern Discovery, cruising in Milford Sound

Fantastic experiences, fabulous accommodation, & the Queenstown marathon!

I recently visited Queenstown and Wanaka, to test out some properties and products. It wasn’t just all fantastic experiences and fabulous accommodation, I also ran the Queenstown marathon! We packed in a lot over our 5 day trip that’s too much for just the one blog entry. Arriving on day one in Queenstown airport at 9:00am. Matthew from Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters greeted us. After a quick 2 minute drive we were in the Glacier South Lakes hanger for a safety briefing. Shortly after we were airborne on our way to Discover Milford Sound by 10:00am. As the heli makes its way to Milford Sound spectacular views abound of Lake Wakatipu, snow capped mountains, glacier lakes, ancient valleys, and pristine rivers.

Enjoying a scenic cruise in Milford Sound

The first glimpse of Milford Sound is absolutely breathtaking and never gets old with towering rock faces jutting out of the turquoise blue waters. The Milford Sound extended heli flight flies close to Bowen Falls, a huge cascading waterfall, then lands 2 minute drive from the Milford Sound Visitors center. Keith our pilot walked us across to a waiting bus, for a short shuttle trip to the visitors center. We then picked up our tickets for a 1.5 hour cruise on board Southern Discovery. As we cruised along Milford Sound there is commentary explaining the history and geography of the area, pointing out the waterfalls, rock formations and wildlife. We were fortunate on our trip as we saw both seals and a pod of dolphins!

The spectacular Bowen falls in Milford Sound
The spectacular Bowen falls in Milford Sound

Time to land the helicopter on Mt Tutoko glacier

Once the boat docked back at the visitors center our pilot Keith was waiting for us and we made our way back to the waiting helicopter. As we took off Keith headed over the snow capped peaks in the Fiordland National Park. We made a landing on Mt Tutoko glacier, where we were able to get out of the heli for a walk around. The views were absolutely breathtaking, and it was fun to see, touch and feel snow at what was almost summer! After time for photos (LOTS) we headed back into Queenstown, with more of those never ending glorious views and vistas! This trip is absolutely a must do!

Landing almost 9,500 ft above sea level on Mt Tutoko glacier
Landing almost 9,000 ft above sea level on Mt Tutoko glacier

Checking into Queenstown Park Hotel

Landing back at the airport we collected our hire car and headed to Queenstown Park Hotel. The hotel is perfectly located within walking distance of the lake front, cafes, and restaurants. There are great views from the Remarkable Rooms of the Remarkables mountain, and of the Gondola from the other rooms. Both room types are spacious and welcoming. The staff at Queenstown Park are all lovely they made us feel very welcome. You can read another blog by us about the sophistication & style of Queenstown Park Hotel.

Queenstown Park Hotel

Pre-dinner drinks & canapes at Queenstown Park Hotel

After checking in and dropping our bags we made a short walk into town. We were in the heart of the township within minutes in time for a relaxed wine on the lakefront and some window shopping. Then we headed back to the hotel for complimentary pre-dinner drinks of local wines and canapes. Queenstown Park Hotel do not offer evening meals, but they are so close to the many fantastic restaurant options available in Queenstown. It’s the perfect location for exploring the area!

I would like to thank Glacier Southern Lakes, and Karen and her team at Queenstown Park Hotel for a perfect start to our time in Queenstown.

Kay Campbell

Originally from the UK, I now call New Zealand my home, relocating 15 years ago with my husband and two children. I have been with Luxury Adventures for 15 years. When not planning perfect vacations and honeymoons for our clients, I enjoy running and recently completed the Queenstown marathon, along with reading, walking in the bush and on the beach with my two dogs and finding new favourite places in New Zealand.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *