Check-in Desk: Four ways to recharge in Queenstown

By Shandelle Battersby

The Walter Peak Station, a 70,000ha property with magnificent homestead. Photo / Jim Eagles
The Walter Peak Station, a 70,000ha property with magnificent homestead. Photo / Jim Eagles

1. Cycle through farmland

One of the best ways to appreciate that beautiful landscape is to get in amongst it. The Station 2 Station Cycle Trail - great in spring, summer and autumn - starts at St Omer Wharf with a 45-minute scenic cruise across the lake aboard the Spirit of Queenstown catamaran to Mt Nicholas High Country Farm. Once you disembark with your bike at Mt Nick, you'll get a map and a bottle of water and bike the 12km eastwards through picturequese farmland to the homestead at Walter Peak Station (about an hour). On the way you'll encounter a few gentle hills, sheep, cattle and deer (fenced), juddering cattlestops, and plenty of spectacular scenery. At the other end make time for the gourmet barbecue buffet lunch at Walter Peak before loading your bike on to the TSS Earnslaw steamship, and cruising back to town.
southerndiscoveries.co.nz

2. Start the day with yoga

The Sherwood - a hotel with a strong community focus - has been operating from its 1.2ha hillside site out the outskirts of town for just under a year. Its owners have transformed a mock Tudor motel into a welcoming property, which offers much more than just a bed for the night, for locals and travellers alike. Head chef Ainley Thompson uses fresh, seasonal food harvested from the Sherwood's own gardens and orchards, there's a wide range of talks and workshops on subjects from breadmaking to permaculture, a stonking live music lineup, and one of the area's best wellbeing programmes. Start your day with an hour of gentle awakening hatha yoga with the Sherwood's resident masseuse, Pilates and yoga teacher Ayumi Gallagher. Everyone is welcome. $10. sherwoodqueenstown.nz

3. Relax with a treatment

You'll instantly forget you're in one of the busiest places in New Zealand as soon as you step into the serene reception area of the Sofitel's So Spa. Its menu offers three uniquely Kiwi spa treatments: the Healing Manuka Honey Facial, the Ataahua Beautiful Body Scrub (using manuka honey and Rotorua geothermal mud) and the Greenstone Massage. We tried the latter, which saw therapist Rhea use heated pounamu of different sizes to help ease tension and negate the body's bad energy - the stones are believed to have healing and harmonising properties. sofitel-queenstown.com

4. Hit the shops

A nice way to spend a few hours is with a wander around the town centre which has lots of unique stores and art galleries. For contemporary New Zealand artworks from the likes of Dick Frizzell, Karl Maughan and Ann Robinson, poke your nose into Milford Galleries on Earl St or Art Bay Gallery on Marine Parade; for an interesting and varied collection of New Zealand art, ceramics, and jewellery stop by Vesta, housed in one of Queenstown's oldest buildings also on Marine Parade; Bound is an excellent independent bookstore on Church St; and for New Zealand and Australian designer clothing head for Angel Divine on Searle Lane.

- NZ Herald

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