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KennethT

Otago over Christmas time - suggestions please!

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My wife and I will be spending a short holiday in South Island over Christmas this year.... we're planning on spending most of our time seeing the many natural wonders of Otago - we're not really into bungee jumping or anything like that - but we do like hiking with nice scenery, kayaking, and other non-energetic stuff!  We were thinking about staying in Queenstown as it seems to be central to a lot of the attractions of the region.  We'll have a car, and don't mind a bit of driving - I'm actually looking forward to driving on the left side of the road, and driving around beautiful scenery with very little traffic - it will be a nice change of pace from my daily commute here in New York City!

 

Is this a good idea, or are there any suggestions on other places we should use as a base of operations instead?  Also, please chime in with any dining recommendations as well for good local fare...

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I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip!

In 2005, I was lucky enough to spend Christmas Day at Martin's Bay Lodge (as part of the Hollyford Track guided walk) and New Year's Eve on the beach at Punakaiki.  Such a beautiful place - I'd love to go back. I do think Queenstown is a good base as there are good hikes you can do right from town, lots of restaurants and if you decide on any guided activities, they all pick up in Queenstown.  Since my trip was quite a while ago, I don't have any specific recommendations but I'll be following along!

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@blue_dolphin Thanks for your thoughts.  Is Queenstown very loud and raucous?  We were looking for something tranquil with great scenery.  There seem to be some nice hotels in Queenstown that seem to have lake and mountain views, which is great, just as long as we're not surrounded by a bunch of party-ers or something like that.

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Bumping this thread... the other night, I saw a show on BBC America featuring Gordon Ramsey cooking in South Island... he was learning about Maori cuisine from Monique Fiso, who is the Maori equivalent of our own @gfron1.  Evidently, Maori cuisine features a lot of foraging, and some of the best product is not so easy to get to.  I'd love to be able to experience some of that type of cuisine - does anyone have any suggestions?  Unfortunately, Monique's restaurant is in Wellington, which is nowhere near where we'll be... but I was hoping there would be some type of Maori restaurant in the Otago area...

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Bumping this thread... does anyone know of any casual but good places in Oamaru?  We'll be spending our first lunch and dinner there, immediately after landing in Christchurch after 30 hours of flying and a few hours drive - so no long tasting menus....

 

We were thinking we'd pull in, grab something for lunch, then take a nap, get dinner then watch the blue penguins come in around sunset (around 9-9:30 this time of year) and go back to bed!

 

We're looking for standard NZ fare - fish/chips, local lamb, venison, etc....

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