Take in Mother Nature's spectacular show from the balcony of this property.
Oaks Shores Resort is an alpine oasis. It's just a five-minute drive from the centre of Queenstown but, perched on the lake with breathtaking views, it feels more like a rural retreat. The property is undergoing renovations in multiple stages and I am staying in a block that's already complete - call it a sneak peek into the future, as the full facelift is expected to be completed by 2025. By then, the resort will boast 130 luxury apartments, a state-of-the-art gym as well as a restaurant, which - according to Minor Hotels' New Zealand area manager Jamie O'Donnell - will have an expanded dining area and a circular bar. It's going to be a major facelift but - looking at my digs - one thing is clear: nothing will get in the way of the view.
Located just out of town on Frankton Road, the resort is a 15-minute drive from Queenstown International Airport. It's utterly calm here: pull off the main road and down the resort's driveway, and the sounds of city life disappear and the views take over. Having Lake Wakatipu and the imposing Remarkables mountain range smack bang in front of you is the main appeal.
The vibe is wild-west-meets-Swiss-Alps, from the rich colours used to decorate the apartments to the vistas on offer from every room. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom open-plan apartments are neatly decorated in crisp, clean blues and mustard yellows that match the bold hues outside.
Making coffee in the self-catering kitchen, staring out the window at my private postcard panorama, I realise that luxury does not need to forego practicality. There's plenty of room for the whole family in the living room, complete with comfy couches around the fireplace, as well as a separate dining area, spacious rooms and a private balcony.
Navigating around the resort, weaving through the concrete carpark, can feel like being in one of those maze maps they give to kids in restaurants. You can check into one of the rooms, but they're a tad small at 23 square metres. So if you like to spread out, sign up for one of the one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom apartments, where there's plenty of room, with vast windows. In my cleverly-designed abode, the two bedrooms are separated by ensuites and a laundry.
There's delicious food to be found only a short drive from the resort. Close to the town's main pier is the chic Rodd & Gunn restaurant, where you can feast on fresh local fare with panoramic views of the lake. But if you're in the mood for something casual, head to the famous Fergburger, just a few streets back from the lakefront on Shotover Street. The Ferg empire includes a bar, bakery and gelataria, all with long queues snaking around the block.
The stunning backdrop makes it hard to justify leaving the resort for anything, but a stroll in the town along the lake provides some incentive. Meandering along the banks, dotted with poplars, is a great way to catch a glimpse of local life: fitness-types out for a run, dog-lovers walking their fur children and daredevils enjoying a swim in the ice-cold waters.
The view! The blue of the glass-still lake and the soaring mountains in the distance make me feel like I'm in a painting.
That is, until a speeding jet boat appears out of nowhere - skimming across the water, Kiwi cowboy at the helm - and I realise this is quintessential Queenstown.
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Where: Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort, 327-343 Frankton Road, Queenstown, New Zealand
How much: From $189
Explore more: oakshotels.com
The writer was a guest of Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort.