Elisabeth Easther stays at Heritage Boutique Lake Resort, Cromwell, Otago.

Where is it:

Wrapped around the shores of Lake Dunstan, just a few minutes' drive from Cromwell.

A taxi from the airport costs: The closest airport is Queenstown - 62km of spectacular driving - and it costs $25 by shuttle or $160 for a taxi.

Check-in experience: Perfectly helpful and friendly, people who live around here seem to know exactly how lucky they are and are happy to share their local knowledge.


The room: Our lake view studio room was swanky and serviceable - twin queen beds, cupboards, a little fridge, toaster and kettle - but for extended family groups there are bigger options, including fully equipped villas. As for the views - simply scrumptious, and changing continuously.

A hotel for all seasons: In winter this is a fine base for all sorts of alpine adventures with Cardrona less than an hour's drive away. In summer it's perfect for taking the cycle trails, hiking and water sports, in autumn you'll be bombarded with colours, and in spring, blossoms are the theme. All year-round you can indulge your fondness for wine at nearby Mt Difficulty.

What's so good about this place: The location, right on Lake Dunstan; the views never get tiresome and the adjacent restaurant serves the most delicious food.

And the bad: I imagine the motorised water sports could get a little noisy in the summer if you're resting - but you'll probably be out on the water too, so it won't really matter. And besides, nautical law forbids boaties going faster than five nautical miles an hour in a marina, so you'll be fine to leave your earplugs at home.

Five a day: There are loads of orchards where the growers sell their wares, you'll not risk getting scurvy round here.

The kai: The Moorings Restaurant is a lovely, warm refuge on a cold night - with a blazing outdoor fire and cosy indoors - lovely in summer too.

Meet the winemaker: While sipping on a glass of Mount Michael's pinot noir, the actual winemaker may come over to say hi, then buy you a glass.

What's in the neighbourhood: Seriously photogenic mountains, a range of walks from strolls to hikes, that amazing lake and very little else aside from the on-site ski rental shop open in winter. The hotel's restaurant is the nearest emporium and if you want more than that, you'll have to saddle up and head into Cromwell, a few minutes' drive away.


Toiletries: Standard Heritage fare, and one hell of a decent hairdryer, it'll blow you away.

Food and drink: The in-room breakfast had everything from cereal to fruit, cheese to toast.

Perfect for: Chilling out or being seriously active.

The writer was a guest of Heritage Hotels Group.