Although there's no denying it absolutely sucks you're going to have to table your plans to eat your way through Italy for the foreseeable future – I have an even better plan for you.

If you're a born-and-bred Kiwi, I'm guessing you've already been to Queenstown – but I also bet that when you went it was heaving with tourists, right?

Well, in a blessing and a curse (obviously, mostly a coronavirus curse), these days Queenstown is quiet and idyllic so it's the perfect place for a European-esque getaway, without suffering through the long-haul flight, jetlag and crowds.

Because Air New Zealand is not banking on long-haul international routes getting back to anywhere near pre-Covid-19 levels for another year, you'll be saving so much coin forgoing those lavish international holidays.

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On that note, I think you simply must treat yourself on this trip. You deserve to be pampered. You survived a pandemic, remember?

Okay, so the last time you went to Queenstown you slummed it in a local backpackers or budget-friendly accommodation so you could spend all your money on partying and bungy jumping, and now you've got no clue how to plan a glamorous adult vacay?

Don't worry, I'm here to help – because pre-Covid, I was lucky enough to spend a fancy weekend in Queenstown, and I spent the duration of miserable lockdown dining out on the memories.

Gibbston Valley Lodge and Spa: your not-so-humble abode. Photo / Supplied
Gibbston Valley Lodge and Spa: your not-so-humble abode. Photo / Supplied

First things first, book your not-so-humble abode – Gibbston Valley Lodge & Spa.

There are no cheapo backpackers' bunk beds here folks - just lavish private villas with secluded courtyards overlooking the vines.

Spend an afternoon drinking local wine in the sun-drenched conservatory or, if it's chilly, cosied up in front of the lodge fireplace.

Peckish? Thought so. Book the exclusive lodge cellar for dinner and a soak in the onsite spa pool, then snuggle up in the onsite movie theatre while you crack open another bottle. (You're basically in Italy remember. Eat, pray, drink!)

The next day - after a hugely self-indulgent sleep-in (until noon at the very least, you're in Europe remember. It's the done thing there, I think) - I've got plans for you.

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Book a biking wine tour through the vineyards to burn off all those carbs and booze, but make sure you book an e-bike. Now is not the time to show off to your mates that you're basically worthy of the Tour de France, we need to conserve all our energy for eating and drinking, remember?

Spend the arvo half-heartedly pedalling while you snack and sip your way through local vineyards Peregrine, Kinross and Brennan before collapsing in front of the fire again.

When you eventually wake from your pinot-induced slumber, head back into Queenstown's CBD for the ultimate luxury pampering experience – Onsen.

You must have seen Onsen on Instagram; it's those bougie spa pools nestled in the mountains that overlook Shotover River canyons.

Queenstown's ultimate luxury pampering experience - Onsen Hot pools. Photo / Supplied
Queenstown's ultimate luxury pampering experience - Onsen Hot pools. Photo / Supplied

The private hot pools seat four, so take your mates or your partner – or heck, even just go by yourself for some luxurious "me time".

I've done all three options so I can vouch for how blissful they all are; the only downside of going alone is having to try to wrangle a bragging selfie without dropping your phone in the pool (and you know the smug selfie is half the point of going).

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Also - I promise I don't have a drinking problem - you can take wine in there if you're that way inclined.

Peregrine Winery: There are stunning stop-offs to sip your way through on the e-bike trail. Photo / Supplied
Peregrine Winery: There are stunning stop-offs to sip your way through on the e-bike trail. Photo / Supplied

Once you're sufficiently pruney, hoon back down the mountain and book a table at Blue Kanu. I've eaten all over Queenstown and, aside from the absolute must-try Ferg burgers, this Polynesian-influenced eatery is hands down the best food in town. Think golden tempura shrimp, char siu pork ribs, crispy Szechuan calamari and Fijian market fish kokoda.

Don't worry about deciding what to order, just "trust the wok", and they'll serve you up all their favourites – everything's good, so you can't go wrong.

See! You wouldn't get Polynesian food in Italy, would you? Forget Europe, Queenstown is your new luxury OE.

FACT BOX

GETTING THERE

Air New Zealand flies from Auckland to Queenstown. airnz.co.nz
PLAYING THERE

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At any time of the year, Queenstown has something for everyone. In winter there's a huge range of activities on and off the slopes. In summer, the landscape welcomes all kinds of adventures, from mountain hikes and river rafting to lake sailing and kayaking.

DETAILS
queenstownnz.co.nz

For more New Zealand holiday ideas, go to newzealand.com/dosomethingnew