Where's the après-ski party in New Zealand
Let’s face it, when it comes to New Zealand winter ski holidays, snow is only part of the picture. Maybe it’s the healthy mountain air that sends ski bunnies into a schnapps-seeking frenzy when the lifts start shutting down for the day, or maybe it’s the need to debrief after a rad day on the slopes. Either way, the après-ski maketh the holiday. Whether you’re into a cosy wine bar, gourmet dining or high jinks and shots, we’ve got the lowdown on some of NZ’s hottest après-ski spots on the South Island.
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Dance under the snow and the stars: Winnies Winnebago’s (Winnie’s) is a huge pizza and party joint located right in the middle of Queenstown. The party gets going with delicious cheap pizzas and large beers served up to a ravenous post-ski crowd, before the music gets louder and the atmosphere gets wilder later into the night. The crowd is young and fun, and the real highlight of this joint is the opening roof, which is pretty special if it’s snowing out. Old-school cool: The Cow Right in the middle of town, sitting at the bottom of Cow Lane, The Cow is a true longstanding Queenstown institution. Housed in an old, stone cow shed, its cosy classic stone interior and wooden beams really warm the cockles. The clientele is a mix of loyal locals and visitors, and the simple but delicious menu of pizza, pasta and salads has changed very little in over 30 years. This hidden gem is very popular so be prepared to queue.
Fergburger Don’t let the enormous queues up the street put you off! The wait is worth it, and that queue moves faster than you think it will. Fergburger is a serious contender for the title of the world’s best gourmet burger, and its popularity speaks for itself. This is the place to head when you’re after a satisfying and affordable après-ski takeaway bite to eat before hitting the bars.
Chill out: ice bars If you haven’t already had enough of the cold stuff, Queenstown has not one, but two ice bars! Below Zero Ice Bar is a handcarved ice palace with everything from the walls, the bar, and the furniture made from ice. Minus 5 Ice Bar is the town's second below-freezing après-ski venue, where you can sip vodka and cocktails from glasses carved from ice and party among ice sculptures while dressed like an Eskimo! Minus 5 Ice Bar is located at Steamer Wharf. Cruisy après-ski: Harry’s Pool and Sports Bar As with so many Queenstown après-ski venues, Harry’s Bar is cosy, friendly and welcoming. This is the place to pop into for a beer and a game of pool when you want to chill out and avoid the raucous après-ski crowds elsewhere.
Trés chic: The Bunker One of Queenstown’s best-loved secret spots, The Bunker is discreetly tucked away down Cow Lane with all the finesse of a members-only club. This is the place to head for an intimate warming atmosphere where you can kick back on plush leather couches while sipping cocktails and fine wine served up next to a blazing open fire.
Where the party’s at: HQ Bar Wanaka’s Headquarters Bar a.k.a the HQ Bar, is a top spot to knock back and enjoy few bevvies while debriefing after a long day on the slopes. The beer flows, the crowd is young and grungy, and the music blasts well into the night. Cocktails and views: Lala Land Open from 5pm for the après-ski crowd, Lala Land is the place to relax and unwind on comfy couches post-Cardrona session. The amazing views across the lake and the well-priced cocktails might just hook you in for the night!
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