Queenstown – the adventure capital of the world or home of the Cookie Muncher Cookie Bar, Mrs. Ferg’s Gelateria and The Winery. From the sounds of this one would think I only spent my time in Queenstown eating and drinking however I did actually take in the surroundings on two great walks right on Queenstown’s doorstep – The Queenstown Hill and the Frankton Walking Trail.
The original goal was for Jack, Helen and I to hike up Lomond bright and early but the previous evening’s shenanigans left us feeling slightly less energetic so instead we decided on the Queenstown Hill trail for the afternoon. First stop though was the Cookie Muncher Cookie Bar which sold freshly made Cookie Time Cookies. Cookie Time Cookies, according to my friend AJ, are the best cookies in the world! Reason enough for me to find and test them, so we followed the aroma of freshly baked cookies wafting down the street and arrived outside a vibrantly coloured hole in the wall cookie bar. Inside the walls are plastered with pictures of their bright red monster mascot, shelves are covered in cookie tins and cookie flavoured ice cream and fresh made cookies stare at you willing you to indulge. Over the two days I tried three. Between 6-7pm it’s “Cookie Time” meaning two for one. Then if you really want a cookie but don’t want to pay for it you can sing for one between 7-8pm at “Cookie Karaoke”. Day one I tried a chocolate salted caramel cookie. Day two I went for the Blueberry Hazelnut Crumble and Chocolate Fudge Brownie. The blueberry hazelnut crumble was my melt in your mouth good! They had captured the taste of homemade blueberry crumble perfectly without it being overly sweet.
With cookies bought and energy in stock we headed up to Queenstown Hill. It’s basically straight up, and bound to get your heart pumping but it’s not a difficult walk. You just need to be wary of the possible gale force winds which will try to run off with your sunglasses or hats. Beginning in a Fir Forest and winding its way up to open grassland you arrive at the top with a spectacular 350° view of your surroundings – Queenstown, mountains and Lake Wakatipu battle. And if you don’t’ want to go all the way to the top you can still take in most of the view from the Basket of Dreams, a weaved metal sculpture that was created for the millennium. A great place to have a moment of zen.
Later that evening after the Ferg Burger experience and a trip to the cinema for Mockingjay I required a bit of comfort. I had been told as a Hot Chocolate fan, that I needed to try Mrs Ferg’s Gelateria’s hot chocolate. It was dark, cold and I had just seen a rather depressing film, what other excuse does one need. I wasn’t disappointed. It was my perfect hot chocolate – rich thick melted chocolate that warmed you to the bone. I took one sip and wanted to “ring out the bells and fling out my arms… to sing out the news. I have found [it},” a real hot chocolate! It went down a treat, lifted me up and I spread the word.
The next morning, to balance later indulgences Steph, Mel, Katy and I took to the Frankton Arm. A leisurely bike or walking path that runs along Lake Wakatipu connecting Frankton to Queenstown and can be combined to visit Kawarau Falls Dam and bridge. We got as far as the little café where I fell in love with a puppy and had to make a detour to ask what breed it was. It looked like a giant teddy bear!
Next stop, cue The Winery, Queenstown’s cellar door. I will rarely pass up an opportunity for a good glass of Marlborough but I had missed out on stopping off in the region so this was the next best thing. The Winery offers over 80 types of wines, champagnes, ports and sherries to choose from that you might not normally be offered from a wineries cellar door and you get to pour them yourself…sort of. In essence you put a pre-paid card into the slot for the wine you want to try, select the glass size and press pour. Each wine has a small description to aid you in your decision process. Claire and I treated ourselves to a Petite Cheese board to go with our wines and plonked ourselves down in the big comfy leather chairs. My top two favourites from the seven I tested were the Sauvignon Blanc Semillon from Pegasus Bay Winery. And Johanneshof Cellar’s Marlborough Gerurztramner
It was a cold and rainy evening my last day in Queenstown. Eight of us huddled around a table in Base over a warming dinner of Butter Chicken Curry and iced coffee before we headed out for one last hurrah in between packing. Tomorrow would be an early start again for me with more goodbyes before heading northward towards Mt. Cook. Obviously, I had to end my stay with another quick visit to Mrs Ferg’s as I deemed it too early for a burger although it was a tough decision. I sprinted over before the bus took off and nabbed a hot chocolate with a warmed cream cheese, sundried tomato and herbed muffin. Altogether not a bad way to start an early morning adventure and brush off the goodbye blues.