Ultimate Queenstown


Bike Queenstown - Something for everyone

Posted by Dave Fahey: 26th Feb 2014 @ 20:01:08

It's fair to say that in the last 3 years biking in the Wakatipu has boomed. The rise in popularity of mountain biking is largely led by the introduction of a Gondola accessed bike park and the only of its kind in New Zealand.

By no means is the mountain biking scene in Queenstown a recent development. What most don't know is that many of the Bob's Peak classics have been there for years. Built by hand by a passionate crew of locals that were often seen slogging it up the road to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Throughout this time the likes of Coronet Peak, 7 Mile and Wynyard DH, to name a few, saw constant bike travel.

The recent rise to fame of Queenstown Bike Park certainly has helped rocket the progress of all avenues of mountain biking in the basin. With an increase in biking based tourism comes an increase in funds, funds that to date seem to largely be reinvested into the trail network. In the last two years new trails have appeared in the form of Rude Rock and the Skippers Link. While Gold Digger and B.o.b have appeared near the 7 Mile Bike Park. And of course we can't forget to mention the new 100km of Wakatipu Trail.

It's with confidence that I say that if you want it, Queenstown has it. Whether it's fast and flowey, steep and rocky, 1 hour to full day, X Country or a gentle cruise through wine country you can do it all in Queenstown.

So whether you're a regular biker travelling with your trusty steed or a fist time biker wanting to feel the thrill of gravity, Queenstown biking is for you. If biking is your thing or if you're looking to explore new modes of transport or fitness then look no further for top quality bikes, well organised activity providers, and a bunch of riders lacking egos!

Dart River Funyaks

Posted by Dave Fahey: 24th Feb 2014 @ 20:26:21

This summer I have had the pleasure of being able to take numerous people from around the world and New Zealand up the stunning Dart Valley. While I have made a return to driving Jet Boats in Queenstown, the raft guide in me has be rekindled, as I have also spent some time moonlighting for Dart River Funyaks. Simply put Funyaking is inflatable canoeing & is one of the real hidden gems in the Queenstown activity offering.

In my opinion the Dart Valley represents real New Zealand, somewhat of an untouched Gem, and on this tour you discover every last corner of it. Your day starts with a hotel pickup and a 45km scenic drive along Lake Wakatipu as you make your way to Glenorchy. Upon arrival you are kitted out with all of the equipment you will need to make your day on the river safe and enjoyable. And this is where the day starts to get awesome. Instead of just your standard moads of transport, you are whisked to the start of your trip on the great Kiwi Jetboat. During this trip you get a full commentary on the area plus get your hair blown back with some 360 spins.

On arrival at the top of the river you find your canoes ready and waiting and provided a full safety briefing. The best thing about it is once you push off the shore you are the master of your own destiny paddling yourself down the Dart River. Now for the scenery – WOW! We all know NZ has some pretty stunning vistas, but these are amongst the very best. Not only are you paddling through Mount Aspiring National park, you are also paddling through a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Everywhere you look you are dwarfed by glaciers and snow-capped mountains with stunning native forest reaching all the way to the river’s edge.

And then there is the jewel of the trip, the Rockburn Chasm. Half way down the river you pull off the Dart River and venture up a small tributary to where you have lunch. The water in the Rockburn is as clear as Gin and you can see the stones on the bottom some 12 meters below you. You are pointed towards a crack in the rocks, and as you paddle inside the chasm opens up and snakes up the valley. You can paddle almost 200 meters up the creek, all the while you’re inside an earthquake crack with share rock walls and ancient beech forest towering overhead. Meanwhile the Guides are preparing a stunning lunch for you to enjoy on the riverbanks. Insect repellent is a must however as the sandflies can be vicious.

Did I mention Lord Of The Rings – the whole time you have been negotiating the river, and snapping shots of the mountains you have been traveling through numerous Lord of the Rings scenes. And as you depart from the river and join the bus trip back down the valley the guides point out more of these.

While this is not the cheapest activity to do in Queenstown at $319 per adult it represents pretty good value for money. You will be away from Queenstown for 7 – 8 hours, be provided with all of the equipment necessary to make the whole experience comfortable, be ripped up the river in a Jetboat, have a fully guided canoe trip and fill up your belly's with a full buffet picnic lunch included.

If the great outdoors is your thing then this is a pretty good way to see and experience it all!

Fergburger - Voted #1 Burger Joint by CNN!!!

Posted by Dave Fahey - Frances Cha, CNN: 17th Feb 2014 @ 10:14:30

I've worked in numerous locations around the world and one question that constantly pops up when explaining to people that your from Queenstown, New Zealand is, 'So whats this Fergburger place I hear so much about? Is it as good as people say?'.

For years we have all been telling people that Ferg is the best burger you will have ever tasted, which as you can imagine is a statement that is met with some resistance. However it now appears as though we may not have been as bias and one eyed as folk may think.

Check out a recent article posted by Frances Cha from CNN  which shouts the praises of Fergurburger from roof tops around the world.

"It's a tough headline to swallow.

Best burger in the world?

Yeah, right.

Cue the commenters getting carried away "my burger joint is better than yours" rants.

Walk them past Fergbuger on the main street of New Zealand's adventure capital of Queenstown, however, and the doubters might quickly turn into believers.

Colloquially known as "Ferg's," the burger joint is swollen with customers who spill out in their dozens to hundreds every opening hour, happy to wait around an hour at peak times for a feed.

And "peak time" describes most of the store's 21-hour day.

International tourists can be seen emerging with their takeouts, delicately removing a Little Lamby (lamb burger) or Sweet Bambi (venison), reverently folding the brown paper bag with the treasured logo and carefully tucking it in a backpack.

Next step, burger selfie straight to Facebook.

"My mates in Taiwan/Sweden/Canada/wherever are gonna be jealous of this. Big check mark in that Kiwi trip must-do box."

Probably the last time the line didn't reach out the door.

Like checking out the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Ferg's has become the compulsory stop in Queenstown.

If Michelin stars were still dished out the way they originally were, Fergburger would bag at least a couple, arguably three. ("Exceptional food, well worth a special journey.")

Among burger lovers anyhow.

And on any given day (save Christmas when Ferg's closes for a breather) burger lovers pick from quite a big menu -- around 20 variants, ranging from the standard Fergburger to the Southern Swine (beef, bacon, avocado) to the Chief Wiggum (pork belly) to stuff for impurists like the Bun Laden (falafel), Codfather (cod) and Holier than Thou (tofu)."

Enough said, all that's needed now is for you to hop on a plane to little old Queenstown, NZ and wrap your laughing gear around possibly the worlds best burger.

Enjoy - we know you will!

The Remarkables Expansion

Posted by Dave Fahey: 16th Feb 2014 @ 18:18:33

The rumour mill often begins to cycle furiously around this time of year with plans or perhaps just local dreams of what new developments we might lay our eyes upon as we slip into our ski boots on opening day. 2014 will be a special year, a year where rumours and dreams will be turned into reality. Yep that’s right 2014 marks the season where The Remarkables see its most significant expansion to date and sees an incredible growth in terrain.

The Curvey Basin chairlift has been set to begin installation when the winter snow of 2013 dissipates. Not only will we be seeing a relief in current lift queues but a significant increase in skiable terrain and vertical meters. Up until now the Curvey basin and Wye ridge has only seen the turns of those dedicated few. Those prepared to leave the lifts behind and earn the turns on foot.

As an avid slack country tourer the accessibility that this chair will provide to the whole south face of the remarks opens a whole new world of opportunity. And with the Doolans and Why basin now just a short hop away, the hard question will now be Wye ridge or Alta Chutes. Or possibly more to the point which one first.

Besides the obvious increase in terrain the benefits to dedicated Remarkables park crew is not to be overlooked. With a decrease of numbers on the previous overloaded Alta chair a 20 minute ordeal from the base building to Sugar chair will be a thing of the past. Now a trip for a pie and a coffee to erase the fuzzie head from the night before will not need to cut into park time & get between you and learning that cork 7 that was the goal for this year’s season.

2014 Remarkables season, here I come!

Queenstown Mountain Bike Club - Trail Diggers

Posted by Dave Fahey: 13th Feb 2014 @ 20:11:19

It’s no secret that the Queenstown mountain bike scene has boomed out of control in the past couple of years. It doesn’t take long when walking the streets of Queenstown to see someone flying past sporting a brightly coloured ‘Dirt is the new Snow’ t-shirt.

One of the keys to this new biking boom is the continual and rapid development of the trails in the Wakatipu. While we have all heard a lot about Queenstown Bike Park with epic Gondola accessed downhill tracks and the well-publicised Wakatipu Trail, a silent achiever chips away – literally!

While most return from work and frantically grab bikes from the shed, a dedicated team of a few are quickly throwing down a snack and loading the car with tools. The individuals I refer to belong to the rapidly growing Queenstown Mountain Bike Club – QTMBC. Wednesday nights see this small group of QMTBC members pass on biking for an evening in favour of moving dirt. Not a single dollar will pass hands and yet stoke levels are high as they work towards a common goal and the promise of a cold Speight’s at the end of the dig. Many of you will ask why? And the answer is as simple as the question – they love it! They love to ride trail, and they love to ride new trails more. They love to see people stoked on riding trail, but the ultimate reward is the feeling of flowing effortlessly around a berm that you sculpted with your own hands.

At the leading edge of this is club president and long-time trail builder Tom Hey. Tom is often found wondering aimlessly around the hills of Queenstown looking for the next piece of hillside to turn into trail gold. But don’t be mistaken, it is not just as simple as finding a hill and cutting a trail. Before the first piece of dirt has been turned there is always countless hours of negotiating DOC consents, liaising with private land owners and route planning that must happen.

In the last 18 months we have seen three new QMTBC lead trails pop up around the basin – B.o.B, Gold Digger and Rude Rock - and many more ideas on the cards and floating around heads of local riders. The best thing is that no experience is needed to muck in and help. Under the leadership of experienced diggers anyone young or old, local or visiting, boy or girl can experience the satisfaction of contributing to the ever-growing Queenstown trail network. Tools are also provided by the club and a cold beer and good banter can always be found too.

So next time you’re in Queenstown riding, why not jump on the QMTBC Facebook page and come join a Wednesday night trail dig.

Frisbee Golf Queenstown - Free for all!

Posted by Dave Fahey: 12th Feb 2014 @ 19:55:53

One of the questions I constantly hear from visitors to Queenstown, right after "Where is Fergburger?" is "So what's this Frisbee Golf that I keep hearing so much about?"

Answer typically is that "it's the best free activity that you can do in Queenstown". So for those of you who don't know what Frisbee Golf or Disc Golf is, here’s a quick rundown on what, where and how to make it happen.

First thing you need is a Frisbee or Disc, there is numerous ways you can acquire these. Either ask your hostel reception, get one off the guys at Watersports rentals on the lakefront for a gold coin donation, or hit up one of the local sports shops where a disc will cost you around $20.

Once armed with a Frisbee of your choice head to the Queenstown Gardens – which is located on the peninsula to the left of Queenstown Bay if you're looking towards the lake.

At the eastern end you will find a white rotunda and just opposite that a large sign marking out the course, holes, start & finish points and some Frisbee Golf quick tips.

From here you effectively follow the course maps and signs and just like golf make your way around the 18 hole course. All holes have directional markers and distance gauges so you know where you’re heading. The final target varies a little though from purpose built Frisbee Golf nets to trees or rocks you need to strike with the disk.

As you wander round the course simply count how many shots it takes you from tee off to achieving the hole and just like the real thin measure this against the par rating set out for each hole.

Once armed with a disc every round is free and the course is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A great activity to enjoy on a hot summer day with a cold beer in hand. Remember though that many of the holes are within throwing distance of the lake & many rogue disc have had to be retrieved by underwear clad swimmers!

Coronet Peak - The Ultimate Enduro Ride

Posted by Dave Fahey: 5th Feb 2014 @ 20:07:09

If gravity is your thing and you don’t mind earning the turn then Coronet Peak is a must. Coronet Peak has a long history of mountain biking in the form of the Skippers Pack Track and the Coronet XC trail, but with the introduction of Rude Rock and the yet to be named Skippers link track there is no need to look any further for the ultimate Enduro afternoon. With no need for a shuttle driver you can tick off a ride on Coronet XC, Rude Rock, Skippers link, the Skippers Pack Track and finally a bomb down Zoot track to finish. 5 tracks, 1 afternoon - boom! And if you've planned it well there will be a cold beer waiting for you at the end.

This mission can be done with the services of Queenstown Bike Taxis or by car with all transport being on sealed roads. Either start at Dan O’Connell’s bush (bottom of Zoot track) with a uphill ride to the Coronet Peak base building up the sealed road. Or if numbers and vehicles allow, drop one vehicle there and continue by car to the Coronet Peak car park.

From the base of Coronet Peak it's a bit of a grind to the top via the Coronet XC track, but once there the views are rewarding enough, let alone the thought of 4 tracks all going down to help push you through the pain. At the top of Coronet Peak express chairlift you have the option of flowing down the way you slogged up, or braving the DH track. Either option will take you back to the bottom and onto Rude Rock.

Rude Rock was the Queenstown Mountain Bike Clubs present to the Wakatipu for Christmas of 2012 and an integral part of linking this trail network together. 3.5km of superfast and flowy trail will wind you down the front face of Coronet, past the rock providing its name and towards some breath-taking scenery.

Just before the trail hits the road take the right had turn towards Skippers Canyon and onto the newest trail in the basin where you get to feel the speed of long flowy straights, perfectly executed burmed corners and rocky rolls. This new trail links you onto the famous Skippers Pack Track. The pack track was built back in the 1960s to access the legendary gold fields of the Shotover River, the second richest gold bearing river in the world. Now that the mining has dried up we have been left with one of the Queenstown classics to huck down by bike.

Once at the bottom of Skippers the final climb of the day awaits as you pedal your way up the 5km long gravel road to the top. If you time it well you may get lucky with a ride from one of the friendly Queenstown Rafting bus drivers, or guarantee a shuttle by dropping a cold beer into the rafting base at Cavell's Bridge on your way past.

Once at the Skippers saddle, soak in the views back towards Mordor (The Remarkables) and Queenstown below, before opening up the taps with a fast decent of Zoot Track. Much different from the other trails, Zoot is reasonably organic and contains everything from fast straights to ruts, burmed corners, rocky section and doubles.

A well planned mission will leave you back at your car at Dan O’Connell’s bush slurping an ice cold Speight’s trading stories of trail destruction.


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