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Modern lakeside dream: AQA

Lake Wakatipu is easily one of the most picturesque settings in the greater Queenstown area. So, having a bespoke designed modern home overlooking its waters is a dream for many. Thanks to Alessandro Quadrelli, and in collaboration with Simpson Building Ltd, the dream is now a reality.



Willow House, located in Kelvin Heights, has received top honours at the recent Southern NZIA Awards.

The north facing, three-storey modern home overlooks the calm waters of Lake Wakatipu.

The design takes full advantage of the lake frontage while not dwarfing the surrounding homes lining Willow Terrace.

The northern façade is the most eye-catching part of the exterior, as it dominates all the available space on the east and west side of the 305sqm house.

The house is broken into three parts and consists of an open living space with lounge, kitchen and dining area.

The bedrooms upstairs are part of a metal cladded box, which sits atop two schist walls at the ground floor and a larger than normal concrete garage.

For more information on this award-winning design or the build, email or check out the business online.


In the snow about après ski

Europe may be out of bounds, but that does not mean elements of its mountainside culture need to be.


Those in the snow know one of the perks of hitting the slopes is what comes at the end of the day – après ski.

A mountainside custom coined in the Swiss and French Alps, après ski is, as the name suggests, what comes “after” a day on your skis or snowboards.

Some European and North American ski destinations are known for their post-slope party atmospheres, Kiwis can still get a slice of the action close to home – even if your idea of action is a relaxed mulled wine by the fire.

And there’s no better place to indulge in some après than at the foot of the Southern Alps in Queenstown and Wanaka.

QUEENSTOWN: With dozens of bars all within a 1km radius, simply follow the lake’s edge or cobbled lanes and you’ll find yourself on the doorstep of many an après destination.

WANAKA: More lakeside après offerings await in Wanaka township, or if you’re heading down the mountain consider stopping at the iconic Cardrona pub, complete with roaring outdoor fire.

APRÈS AT HOME: Make the most of your bach or hired accommodation by whipping up some mulled wine or buttered whisky from home. Liven things up with some retro ski gear, and après like it’s 1980.


Exceptional in Otago: Ferguson Builders

It’s been a whirlwind of change over the past four years for Ferguson Builders of Queenstown. Since moving to Central Otago, Rob and Mel Ferguson have seized all the opportunities the area has offered to grow and expand their company.



“When we first moved here and began building, our team was no more than four. Now we have a team of 16 – from builders to office staff and an in-house quantity surveyor (QS),” Mel says.

“But one thing that is not going to change is Rob’s close relationship with our clients. He is still the person clients deal directly with. That’s our focus and what has helped us be successful.”

It is true that Ferguson Builders’ goal as they have grown has been to find even smarter ways to serve their clients.

“The in-house QS saves clients time getting accurate pricing. We have an office now with plenty of yard space and a meeting area for clients to see samples of the interior products we use in our builds. That presents a professional image for clients and has freed up our own home that we used to work from, to be a living showhome of our workmanship.”

The company is the specialist builder of choice for architecturally-designed houses.

“We have great relationships with local architects, like Artur and his team at Artektus who create beautiful architectural designs, are efficient and a pleasure to work alongside. Our high-performing employees all share Rob’s passion and commitment for this demanding and detailed type of work.”

Ferguson Builders have built several architectural homes at Jack’s Point, including their own family home. Each is exceptional in its construction and finish – a testimony to their craftsmanship.


Mountain Retreat: Mason and Wales

Architect Ruth Whitaker of Dunedin-based Mason and Wales Architects was delighted to take on the client brief for this stunning timber home which sits on a raised plateau on the Crown Range, high above the snow line and overlooking the Queenstown Basin. “The client wanted a mountain retreat that really enhanced its incredible location and that they could enjoy all year round,” Ruth says.



Constructed by the team at Landmark Homes Central Otago, this two-bedroom residence showcases attention to detail, while Ruth’s design combines three objectives: intimacy and warmth, capturing the majestic views at every opportunity, and blending into the iconic mountain setting.

Created as a cluster of interconnecting timber structures, the main living/dining/kitchen structure and guest wing is aligned on the axis of Coronet Peak, with Mt Beetham in the foreground.

At 90 degrees to this, the master bedroom/library suite is aligned on the axis of The Remarkables.

Both forms capture these two prominent peaks whilst creating an enclosed outdoor living space with an open wood fire in between.

From here, the central outlook is the striking view far and wide across the Wakatipu Basin.

Low stone garden walls span out from the house, connecting it with the land but ensuring a small amount of the wild pasture is hospitable.

Inside and out the beauty, warmth and tactility of timber – used for floors, walls, ceilings, exposed roof trusses, architraves and joinery – further bonds the home to its spectacular landscape.


There’s a time & place

Queenstown has become the go-to getaway for New Zealanders from all the way up north to the bottom of the south. While the town offers amazing attractions year-round, when there are events on, it gives you all the more reason to head there. Metropol has collated some of the most exciting upcoming events that you will not want to miss!



26 JULY – CARDRONA MOUNTAIN BIKES ON SNOW: You probably don’t have to think too hard about what this event involves. It’s fairly simple… a mass start, first to finish race divided into men and women. Entry is $25 – try not to break anything.

4 AUGUST – THE BIG BIKE FILM NIGHT 2020: Calling all cycling fanatics, we have the perfect night planed for you. Cosy up at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and view some of the best cycling short films from around the world. Tickets from $12.50 to $22.

21 AUGUST – THE REES CULINARY SERIES WITH FELTON ROAD: Five wines and five courses including a welcome drink and canapes! If you weren’t sold on the event by now, maybe the stunning panoramic views at The Rees Hotel will be the selling point.

19-21 SEPTEMBER – DAGG’S QUEENSTOWN OPEN: If you’re a super fan of rugby and golf, then we have the perfect weekend for you! Spend three nights at the Novotel in Queenstown (breakfast included) and get out on the green with Israel Dagg himself.

24 SEPTEMBER – SPREAD THE JAM: A great mixture of burlesque, drag, comedy and circus makes for a winning combination. This 18+ show sounds like a whole lot of fun, we just wish it was making its way to Christchurch.

5 OCTOBER – THE SHOWS MUST GO ON: This is an open call for all musical theatre lovers. Enjoy a night out listening to an all-star cast of New Zealand’s finest singing some of the best of Broadway. This is set to be a showstopper.


Exploring Queenstown

With winter’s opening shots recasting our adventure capital’s offerings, the razored ridgeline of the Remarkables is sporting a decent coast of snow, accentuating the resort town’s cinematic good looks.



It’s worth the ride alone on the Skyline Gondola, to drink it all in. The gracious old lady of the lake, TSS Earnslaw, will resume faithfully plying Wakatipu’s waters in early July, but if you’re after a fresher scoop of floating pleasure, board Southern Discoveries’ gleaming catamaran.

They operate daily excursions to Mt. Nicholas Station, one of New Zealand’s most historic, family run merino sheep stations.

Spanning 100,000 acres of golden high country terrain, the 45-minute scenic cruise down Lake Wakatipu affords glorious vistas of Mt. Earnslaw, Cecil Peak, and the tucked away valley beneath Mt. Creighton, where the Hollywood set have previously purchased homes, including Arnie Schwarzenegger and John Travolta.

Arriving at Mt. Nicholas Station, you have a variety of add-on sightseeing options including a 4WD Safari, a two-hour high country walk or the Woolshed Experience.

I opted for the latter, which was a wonderfully hands-on exposition of merino wool’s journey from fresh fleece to top-end clothing. All Mt. Nicholas Station merino wool is sold to Icebreaker.

As a premium wine-growing region, swooned over for its pinot noir, a swirl of wine trail tours can whisk you across the vineyards of the Gibbston Valley and beyond.

I cheated and headed straight to The Winery, a one-stop-tasting shop in the heart of Queenstown and also Arrowtown (the Queenstown site is yet to reopen).

It’s indulgently effortless, where you can taste over 80 wines, including several dozen delicious pinot noirs, at the press of a button.

All of the industry’s rockstars are showcased, including Valli Bannockburn, Mt. Difficulty, Black Ridge and Amisfield.

Complement your wine sampling, by grazing from a flavourful platter of local cheese, salami and olives.

Speaking of food, if the billowing tangle of humanity, pre-Covid, spilling along the footpath of Shotover Street, outside Fergburger, turned you off from sampling the gourmet delights in buns – now’s your chance without the crowds.

One of my favourite noshing spots is Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan, just up the road by Lake Hayes.

On Steamer Wharf, graze heartily from the share plates at Public Kitchen & Bar, a convivial celebration of local produce overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the gazillion dollar views.

Another recommended fuss-free experience is the Ballarat Trading Company, stunningly outfitted in the style of an 1850’s trading post, with lip-smacking gourmet food.

Walking options abound and heading east from the town centre, the Frankton Arm Walkway is a heart-stealer, with its unobstructed lake and mountain views.

A coffee stop beckoned at Boat Shed Café & Bistro. Its back-story is fascinating, set in the restored New Zealand Railways Shipping Office after beginning life as a store in the 1870s.

In 1936 it was bought by Frank Duncan, a Dunedin lawyer, who moved the building from the town centre to its current waterfront location.

From The Boat Shed, the gravel walkway wends its way along the shoreline to Frankton, passing a quaint parade of rustic Kiwi cribs – a laid-back world away from the pretence of some of Queenstown’s more recent glamour pad developments. They’re anything but flashy. It is such a great antidote to savour this unmolested vestige of old Queenstown.

Ten kilometres west of Queenstown, on the road to Glenorchy, I enjoyed a brisk hike in the Mt. Creighton Scenic Reserve. After a steady climb, the peaceful trail through native bush steeped in goldmining history leads to Lake Dispute.

There’s a variety of options, but this 90-minute loop circuit hits the sweet spot.

Not only does it give you the chance to gawp at some of the under-the-radar celebrity hideaway trophy houses, strung across the valley, but the elevated vistas across the lake to Cecil Peak and Walter Peak are supreme, delivering a fresh scoop of Queenstown’s unstoppable beauty.


Winter adventure awaits: Destination Queenstown

There’s never been a better time for Kiwis to visit Queenstown and the town’s community is ready and waiting to welcome you for the winter.



The snow has gathered on the mountains and all four ski areas will open to offer Queenstown’s epic winter experience. What’s more, a recent survey of Queenstown businesses showed that 96 percent of respondents would be open for business this winter. Combine days on the slopes with delightful après ski, vibrant nightlife and cosmopolitan dining by night, and give your legs a rest with a day’s excursion to Gibbston, Glenorchy or Arrowtown. Perhaps an adventure in the air or on the water is on the cards so you can take in the scenery and challenge yourself with a new experience?
What are the most important elements to your Queenstown itinerary? Read on to find out.

Family fun: Pack up the kids and watch them experience a range of firsts in Queenstown—first snow play? Tick. First lake adventure on a steamer? Tick. On or off the mountain, there’s so much to see and do, great learner slopes and ski schools for the young ones, and this winter, a bunch of great deals too.

Private touring: The exclusive offerings don’t end in the kitchen. Queenstown’s wineries make for the perfect day off the slopes, and a bespoke tour is available with a private charter for your group. Let your preferences guide you, or ask for expert advice to create the perfect wine odyssey.
Group tours to Gibbston’s cellar door highlights are also available if you’re keen to make new friends.

Sustain yourself in style: You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to après ski. You could easily be here for weeks on end and not visit the same place twice—although a favourite may make itself apparent a couple of days in. Local restaurants are continuously reworking and updating their menus meaning even your all-time favourites will have some new winter warmers this year.
Apartment dwellers also have private chefs on offer to provide a special meal without leaving your wintry home whether you’re celebrating a special birthday, or giving your holiday the sayonara it deserves.

A room with a view: From hotels perched right on the lake’s edge, to high up overlooking the Wakatipu and Remarkables mountain ranges, there’s an accommodation option for all styles of traveller to Queenstown. Looking to splash out on some luxury? The town fit for a queen has that in spades too.

Queenstown’s slopes open days:
Coronet Peak 26 June
Cardrona Alpine Resort 26 June
Treble Cone 27 June
The Remarkables 4 July

Thinking of heading to Queenstown this winter? Find all the inspiration you need, plus awesome deals from Queenstown experiences at


There is more to see! – Crowne Plaza

There has never been a greater time to re-connect with the powerful landscape of Queenstown.



Renowned as the Adventure Capital of the World, it is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier four-season mountain and lake destination.

With its wide range of attractions, you will never run out of things to do.

It’s time to re-discover our own NZ backyard and Queenstown has it all – from the best ski the country has to offer, to breath-taking hiking trails; from world-class cuisine to sophisticated wineries; from indulgent spas to thrilling adventures.

Right in the heart of it all is Crowne Plaza Queenstown, proving that location really matters for a hotel.

It sits on a privileged site, just opposite the historic Steamer Wharf and prime lakeside eating, drinking and entertainment destinations, with the great Coronet Peak ski field just a mere 25-minute drive away.

Regardless of the season, Queenstown is unique, stunning and guaranteed fun. And what better way to experience them than by staying in close proximity?



This month has welcomed the first snow of the season, with a blanket of fresh white heralding Queenstown’s winter transformation.



The Southern Lakes ski areas are all set to open in coming days, with Coronet Peak and Cardrona Alpine Resort scheduled to open on 26 June, Treble Cone scheduled to open on 27 June and The Remarkables Ski Area set to open on 4 July.

Destination Queenstown interim chief executive Ann Lockhart says snow fans should start digging out their ski gear, tuning skis and snowboards and booking flights to visit Queenstown this winter, joining visitors from all over New Zealand.

“Winter at Alert Level 1 means that Queenstown’s ski areas have very few restrictions—skiers and boarders will be truly free to experience all we have to offer and we’re very excited for this!

“There’s been a high level of anticipation for the first significant snow fall of the season after a few early dustings in the last few weeks, and some frosty mornings,” she says.

“Queenstown is the Southern Hemisphere’s leading four season resort, the skiing is world-class and the range of activities in Queenstown itself are second to none. The ski areas are fully prepared for safe operations as we move through Covid Alert Levels, and our businesses are open and ready to welcome visitors again—with 96 percent of respondents to a recent survey intending to open for winter,” Ann says.


Time for a Queenstown staycay! – The Rees

It’s important not to ignore all of the amazing little getaway hotspots that we have in our backyard, especially now that the country is trying to get back on its feet. Make The Rees Hotel Queenstown the destination of your next holiday.



It’s easy to see why this hotel has a Qualmark five-star tick of approval; all you have to do is look at what it has to offer.

“Sixty hotel rooms, 90 apartments and five private, three-bedroom, three-bathroom lakeside residences, all with terraces, showcasing spectacular views across Lake Wakatipu to the alpine panorama of the Remarkable Mountain range,” Director of Operations Roman Lee-Lo says.

Not to mention the notable amenities: free parking, free Wifi, family rooms, airport shuttle, non-smoking rooms and a fitness centre.

Queenstown is calling and there’s a room at The Rees with your name on it. Book now via the website and check out their highly discounted rates on the STAY NZ page of their website.