This is the last of my Queenstown holiday posts and it’s about our adventures outside of the main QT town. For the second half of our trip, we had a car so we also explored Arrowtown, Cromwell, Gibbston Valley and Glenorchy. This part had some of my favourite parts of our holiday.
It was quite a dreary day when we picked up our rental car but it was still beautiful driving around the area. Our first stop was Arrowtown. It was absolutely freezing that day but this little town looked so magical.
We walked around the strip of shops and of course we had to inside the Remarkable Sweet Shop for fudge. We got some to take home as the Remarkables shop in QT town was actually temporarily closed.
Apparently, Arrowtown bakery is really good and known for their pies so we made a quick lunch stop. Max had a pie and I had a sausage roll.
Crown Range Road / Summit
After Arrowtown, we drove up Crown Range Road. It was such a cloudy day that we couldn’t see the view from the summit. It was quite an experience but we decided not to go further up Cardrona and Wanaka this time around and we headed towards Gibbston Valley and Cromwell instead.
We also stopped by Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge where people bungy jump. It was such a cold rainy day that no one was bungy jumping.
We visited three wineries / cellar doors around Gibbston Valley. They were across 3 days so we visited one per day and they weren’t all planned either. We just ended up going to them before or after our planned activity. The last one was completely out of the blue and turned out to be my absolute favourite.
Gibbston Valley Winery
This was our first winery and we parked ourselves inside for a few hours. We found a spot by the fireplace and just chilled.
We had a massive cheese platter and a paddle of their different wines to try. I realised I’m not a champagne/bubbles kind of person now but the other three wines were great. I loved their rosé (2nd glass) and the late harvest pinot gris (4th glass). I bought a bottle of these two wines to take back home with me.
We stopped by Kinross after go-karting in Cromwell (more on this later). It was raining and was quite cold. Max was recommended this place by a friend as they have a fireplace outside.
This place was beautiful and felt even more magical with the rain hitting the roof, the firewood crackling and snowy mountain view in the distance.
We were very happy to be seated right by the massive fireplace. It’s so big, you can fit in there. I had a selection of their wines, Max had a beer and we shared their house baked bread and parmesan truffle potatoes. We spent a nice afternoon here and it was what we needed after our go-karting adventure in Cromwell.
Cargo Cellar Door & Brewery
This was my favourite out of the three for many factors. The other two were great and I recommend going there too but Cargo Cellar Door was special for me. Firstly, we weren’t planning on coming here at all. It wasn’t even on our list (the two above were). When our flight home got cancelled due to the snow, we got to stay another day and we had to think of what else to do. During brunch at Yonder, we searched wineries to go to and I stumbled upon Cargo Cellar Door and we were in for a treat.
First of all, it looked so beautiful because of the snow. The building is an old Presbyterian church from Dunedin. It was built in 1894 and in the early 1950s, it was deconsecrated and it became a library and community hall. It was relocated in the winery in Queenstown/Gibbston Valley area in 2000.
I love old buildings and this had a lot of character. The timber walls inside and windows were beautiful. The only thing missing here is a fireplace inside but I understand that they couldn’t add it to an old fully timber building.
The best part of Cargo Cellar Door is that they have a cat. His name is Max which made it even better! Max and I both love cats and we have cats of our own. We’ve been away with our cats for a week and we were missing some cat cuddles. When we came, Max the cat plopped down on achair and we were able to pat him!
We were so happy we got to see Max the cat. He is quite a big cat. We got good pats and eventually he went out. We were glad we were able to see him. It honestly made my day. If our flight didn’t get cancelled, we wouldn’t have gone to Cargo Cellar Door and we wouldn’t have experienced this. It all worked out for the best.
Max started with mulled cider which was delicious and then beer as they are also a brewery. As for me, I ended up having two Cargo flights of wine so in total, I had 8 different wines. I’m not a big drinker so this was a lot for me and I did get a bit drunk hahaha. I had the ‘A bit of everything’ and ‘Pinot Lovers’ flights. Surprisingly for me, I enjoyed the red wines I tried. I used to stay away from red wine but I tried 4 different red wines and they were all good!
Overall, highly recommend Cargo Cellar Door & Brewery. From the building, the selection of wine and beers and Max the cat, I absolutely loved this place. We had a magical afternoon as we watched snow fall from the gorgeous windows while drinking inside.
We really enjoyed all the wineries / cellar doors we visited. They were relaxed and more up our street.
The reason we drove to Cromwell was for go-karting. On our initial booking, the weather wasn’t great so it got rescheduled to the next day. We ended up checking out Lake Dunstan that afternoon instead.
We saw a camping cat at this stop which was cool and we skipped some stones.
As I said above, we had booked go-karting at Highlands but it got rescheduled. We ended up doing indoor go-karting at Game Over QT (near the airport) instead. Then the next day we drove back to Cromwell for the outdoor go karting at Highlands.
Between the two, I prefer Highlands more. The track in Game Over is quite small but for my first ever time go karting, I’m glad we did Game Over first because I was really nervous. I got into Formula 1 last year after watching Drive to Survive on Netflix and Max has been into F1 before that. He was so keen to get me to try go karting and I’m glad I did. Highlands go karts and track are much better. I was quite careful and a bit slow to start but towards the end, I really pushed myself and ended up doing better lap times. Overall, I’m glad I’ve tried it and it was so much fun.
On the way back from Cromwell, we stopped by Roaring Meg Lookout. It’s a nice view of the Kawarau river but it was absolutely freezing.
One of my favourite places we went to was Glenorchy. We’ve both never been before and the drive to get there is stunning. It’s one of the scenic drives I’ve been on. The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy is around 45mins.
We stopped by Bennetts Bluff Lookout on the way.
The view from the lookout is beautiful. It was so cold when we were there though but the view was worth it.
The most famous building in Glenorchy. We had to check out this shed.
Glenorchy is a small town but it is so beautiful. The views from wherever you looked was pretty.
In Glenorchy, we got coffee from The Trading Post and lunch from Queenie’s Dumplings. Queenie’s is a Chinese restaurant/takeaway place in Glenorchy which seems a bit random but it was what we needed that cold day. We got the Chicken and sweetcorn soup and Pork dumplings. It was the most scenic place I’ve ever had dumplings.
Our last stop after Glenorchy was Bob’s Cove. Again, the views of the snow-capped mountains were beautiful.
That’s basically all of the places we went to during the second half of our trip. For our last extra night, we actually moved hotels (as QT was fully booked and had a much higher room rate) and I booked us at Mi-pad Queenstown Hotel. It was closer to the town and it was just what we needed for one night.
Overall, we had such an amazing holiday. We might not have been able to do everything we wanted (Milford Sound flight and cruise / helicopter alpine landing) due to the weather but we got to experience snow fall and got an extra day in this beautiful place.
If you missed my other Queenstown holiday posts, here they are: