We all woke up to another drizzly day in Queenstown but we had high hopes that this one would be a bit happier. Unfortunately our son wasn’t in a good way though and we ended up at the Emergency Department being treated for concussion following yesterday’s accident. Again, we were thoroughly impressed with all the nurses and doctors, and thankfully, having arrived at 9am we were there before all the skiing accidents turned up so we were seen to nice and quickly. They managed to get lots of strong painkillers and some fluids and ice cream into him so we left with a much happier boy. Unfortunately the first thing he did when we got back to the apartment was throw himself into the TV stand and give himself a bloody, swollen nose and two black eyes!
Despite that, the rest of the day was a great success. We finally managed to go on our 90-minute cruise around Lake Wakatipu with Million Dollar Cruises. At only $39 per adult and $20 per child, it is one of the best value activities you can do in Queenstown. It was a small group, I think there were only about 20 people on our cruise, but the maximum it ever takes is 60, so a lot more personal than most other cruises around the lake. We went across Lake Wakatipu right to the end of the lake, viewing stunning homes, rare birds and other birdlife, Historic Dam and Willow Islands and all the magnificent scenery of Queenstown from the water.
The captain of the boat gave great commentary, we leaned a lot about Queenstown such as the fact that there are no native trees because of the alpine climate, so the thousands of trees you see have all been introduced. We also cruised past a home that has a 24 car garage – really!
Having three little kids who can’t sit still, we were worried beforehand about how we’d cope for 90 minutes and how we would keep at least one from going overboard! We needn’t have worried, the cruise was very relaxed and there was plenty of space on top of the boat, at the back of the boat and in the inside, which was thankfully, heated. There was a small bar onboard which sold drinks and snacks for normal prices (shock horror) – normally at places like this the prices are double what you’d normally pay so it was a pleasant surprise.
Following the cruise we popped next door to check out the underwater inhabitants of Lake Wakatipu at the Queenstown Underwater Observatory. Diving ducks, massive trout and slinky eels mix and mingle just metres from the lakeshore. The kids loved it! Two species of trout are on display the Brown imported from Europe around 100 years ago and the Rainbow, a North American import. Scaup Ducks (also known as Black Teal) dive among the fish for food while the New Zealand Long Finned Eel gliding through the water could live up to 90 years and weigh up to 16 kilos (35lbs)! Informative storyboards also told the Maori mythological history of the lake. At only $10 per adult and $5 per child over the age of 5, this place is a good value attraction in Queenstown, offering fascinating and informative entertainment for all ages, whatever the weather.
The day definitely ended so much better than it started with a family dinner at Winnies Gourmet Pizza Bar.
It’s a good job we aren’t rich locals otherwise we’d be eating here every night! The service was impeccable, we couldn’t fault it. The staff were friendly, attentive and the food came out quickly (which is what you want with three hungry kids)! There was colouring in for the kids and crafts to make which kept them all happy while we waited for the food. We had a table booked for 5pm and the lively, atmospheric restaurant was about half-full. By 6pm it was pumping and had people queuing for tables! One tip – don’t eat too much for the starters and mains as you really want to save space for their amazing dessert pizza!
The kid’s menu was perfect for our little ones – they had a pizza, fish & chips and the pasta dish. All licked their plates clean! I was reminded why I don’t like sharing pizza with my husband as if I’m not quick enough he eats it all and this was no exception. It was a race to make sure I got my fair share. We had the Montonara (fillet of chicken, sundried tomatoes, brie & spring onions, drizzled with sweet chilli sauce and topped with pistachio sour cream) and the Peking Pizza (aromatic plum sauce base, confit chinese chicken thighs, crispy shallots, spring onions, topped with shaved cucumber and hoisin sauce).
There is a whole separate menu for vegans and there are lots of gluten free options available. If you don’t like pizza’s then you’re not out of luck, they have an extensive menu full of other yummy sounding treats.
On our next visit we’re going to book a babysitter for the night and go kid-free so that we can properly savour the delicious food and the atmosphere and experience their opening roof – a real point of difference to other Queenstown family friendly restaurants.
In our next blog, we head up the Skyline Gondola for the views and some luging fun for the kids (don’t worry, helmets were provided)!