This week’s small pleasures #226 or Queenstown weekend part 1

For this week’s small pleasures post, I’m going to take you with me to Queenstown, where we have been for a long weekend break. For those of you who don’t know, Queenstown is one of the main tourist destinations in New Zealand. Sitting on the banks of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the Southern Alps, it is well known for its adventurous sports (I think I am correct in saying the first bungee jump was here), but is also a great place to use as a base for visiting and just exploring the region. With no foreign tourists just now, it seemed a good time to go, before the town is packed to the rafters with visitors again (pre pandemic, during the main ski season, there were around 59 flights from Australia per week alone). We flew down on Friday morning, and it almost felt like you could touch the mountains as we came into land.

After checking into our hotel and grabbing a quick lunch, we headed over to the Skyline to take the ‘Southern Hemisphere’s steepest cable car’ to take advantage of a bright, clear afternoon and enjoy the view from the top. Those of a more adventurous nature than us might wish to take the luge down…we however stuck with the cable car. Below you can see the view from the top.

On Friday evening, we had dinner at Rātā, after which we walked back to the hotel, watching the ducks, boats and people enjoying a warm, autumn evening.

On Saturday morning, we awoke to this amazing sunrise, the sky lit up in shades of red and pink, it was quite dramatic. We drove over to Arrowtown…but more of that in the next two blog posts.

Of course, no Small Pleasures post would be complete without mention of food and drink. I had an Aperol spritz for a Friday evening aperitif treat, some wonderful courgette fritters, complete with a courgette flower and a flavourful sauce at The Dishery in Arrowtown for lunch on Saturday, a chicken sandwich on soft Turkish style bread (with chips…) at The Glenorchy Hotel for Sunday lunch and an excellent mushroom and avocado toasted sandwich at Halo when we arrived on Friday. Sunday’s dinner was at the Queenstown branch of Madam Woo, where I had honey and soy squid.

Back to activities…and before dinner on Saturday, we went for a stroll in Queenstown Gardens. I loved this statue of a leaping dog, next to the little stone bridge. You can see a little autumn colour below, and the view across the lake through the trees. After our walk, we stopped for a drink before dinner at a little place by the water – see the featured image at the top of the post of our view (unless you are reading this on an iPhone, in which case go to the home page of the blog to see).

We woke on Sunday morning to another, but very different, interesting sky, with low lying clouds below the mountain tops. Long white clouds too – well, Aotearoa means land of the long white cloud! What we did on our Sunday trip will be featured in yet another post – so three more posts on the weekend to come.

All in all, it was such a lovely weekend and a perfect break. Below is a picture from Sunday evening, a last moment to enjoy before flying back on Monday morning. Please note that travel is allowed in New Zealand, we didn’t break any rules! We flew with Air New Zealand and hired a car on arrival to give us the freedom to do what we wanted.

What were your small pleasures this week?

Sorry to miss  Natalie’s Coffee Share this week.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. Queenstown is such a beautiful place! The first photo especially shows just how beautiful it is…and your food looks delicious. This must have been a wonderful weekend away, and what better time to go than before all the tourists start to come! We have only been to Queenstown once, but we definitely intent to return!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have great memories of going to Queenstown for a few days before we did a cycling trip on the Otago Rail Trail a few years ago. We loved the area and the towns you mention here we visited too! We went back the year later and cycled the Hauraki Rail Trail. We will be back one day when we can travel again top do more of NZ, just love it! Thanks for the trip :). Also appreciate you mentioning my #shoutoutsaturday post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely to share your weekend away – in the UK we are still dealing with internal decorating and external planting. This week we can escape for a short time with friends outdoors. Lucky the weather bodes well!!! 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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