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.
With almost 25 years in the construction industry, well-respected Wanaka local Nathan Simon brings a wealth of expertise to his new role as both Managing Director and Project Manager of Jennian Homes Wanaka.
While running his own business since 2006, Nathan built two homes for the Jennian Homes Southland franchise owners, who then offered him the opportunity to franchise for the Wanaka area, which hadn’t yet had a locally owned and operated Jennian presence.
Nathan took over Jennian Homes Wanaka mid-year and, while aligning with the company’s values and standards of excellence, he is stamping his own creative mark. Previously focusing on top-end bespoke architectural new builds, he strives to incorporate architectural flair into family-living. “I’m currently working on the Wanaka Alpine series, which is a range of three designs, specifically created to suit the smaller Wanaka sites, which are typically 400-500sqm sections. It’s about finding the right design to suit the section, while still including everything on the homeowner’s wish list and keeping within their budget.”
With an extensive choice of Jennian ‘Proven Plans’ and ‘Ready Range’ to choose from, or the option for a design and build from scratch to fit the section, Nathan works closely with clients throughout the entire process. As both the Managing Director and Project Manager, the depth of experience and knowledge he gained while running his own business has proven invaluable. With the assistance of home consultant Abi Casey, Nathan takes the time to find out his client’s needs and wants, planning every step of the journey with them. “Clients like the fact they are dealing with the owner/operator right from the very first consultation to the home’s completion, as it provides more of a personal touch and there’s also that next level of trust and peace of mind for them.”
Operating since 1982, Jennian Homes provides a 10-year Master Build Guarantee with all homes. It is also consistently New Zealand’s most awarded building company, throughout the Registered Master Builders House of the Year Awards. Jennian Homes guarantees the completion of your new home and has never failed to complete a home over the 37 years since it’s been running.
Jennian Homes has built its reputation on design, quality and continued customer satisfaction, ensuring the best possible plan designed for the client’s site and budget, while reflecting their personal needs and style. The company’s long-term partnerships with leading suppliers, brands and trades ensure every new home will exceed the homeowner’s expectations and give them many years of enjoyment and satisfaction.
In the greater Wanaka area, Glen Williams is known throughout as being everyone’s definitive go to for all things plumbing.
As the second longest serving plumber in Wanaka, Glen Williams’s trademark style of work ethic and wit has earnt him plenty of loyal customers over the last two decades. This year, Glen Williams marks the tenth anniversary since he set out on his own and started GW Plumbing Ltd.
As a certified plumber gasfitter and drain layer, Glen’s knowledge and ability to tackle any job is second to none. With no job too ambitious nor too tough, Glen and his small team of handpicked professionals can do it all, whether you have a new build which needs its first set of plumbing, or maybe your timeless abode needs a refit, new hot water cylinder, or just general maintenance.
Glen and the team provide free quotes, charge no call out fee and will arrive on site within 30 minutes of the arranged time or the first hour is free, guaranteed.
They also service all commercial, residential, new builds and alterations in Wanaka, the wider Central Otago region, Haast and South Westland. GW Plumbing Ltd is also the service provider for Moffat (commercial) and the service agent for Rinnai.
So if you want the expertise of Wanaka’s best plumber on hand to ensure your project is completed in the most professional and entertaining manner, contact Glen Williams direct on 021 709 918, visit their website www.gwplumbing.co.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Vision Optometry is an established and family orientated practice in Wanaka, committed to providing the best possible eye care at a reasonable price.
Optometrists Tui Homer, Jill Mottram and Katie Hill are all therapeutically qualified, so they can treat a range of eye conditions. Jill and Katie are also CAA accredited, for pilot examinations. Tui and Jill are both qualified to treat and manage glaucoma, saving some patients from having to travel to Dunedin for treatment.
Katie is a Behavioural Optometrist, specialising in assessing and treating patients with problems with their eyes that can impact on learning, and is able to create a tailor made Vision Therapy programme for patients. They also have the latest diagnostic testing equipment (such as an OCT and Visual Fields) for all your eye health needs. The front of house staff of Jan, Lisa and Sally will help you choose the best frames and lenses for your needs.
Get in touch on 03 443 0736 to book an appointment today, or call in and have a chat. The team would love to see you.
Central Vision Optometry is located in The Wanaka Lakes Health Centre 23 Cardrona Valley Road, Wanaka with plenty of parking available.
In ancient times, those who went off raiding and plundering in ships were said to be ‘going Viking’. These days such behaviour is frowned upon, but Southern Lakes residents can at least dust off their furs and party like they’ve made it to Valhalla (Viking heaven).
An innovative charity fundraiser, The Viking Ball is being held next month to raise money for Upper Clutha Hospice Trust. Wanaka event manager Samantha Stout feels strongly about giving back to her community and has teamed up with Pete and Claire Marshall – owners of high-end venue Corbridge Woolshed – to plan the evening.
“It will be a totally immersive experience, with highly theatrical elements,” Samantha says. “Prepare to be surprised.”
Entertainment includes live music, a fire dancer and actors dressed as Vikings. Without giving too much else away, Samantha reveals that a traditional Viking burial ritual will be re-enacted using the small lake at the venue.
And what to wear to an event that is heavily themed around the seafaring warriors of the late 8th to 11th centuries? Think natural fibres: leather, wool and fur. Samantha suggests people could further support the cause by finding an outfit at the Upper Clutha Hospice Shop in Wanaka.
The Viking Ball is on Saturday 4 August at Corbridge Woolshed, 707 Wanaka-Luggate Highway. Tickets cost $160 per person (10 percent discount available for groups of 10 or more). Email email@example.com or phone 027 931 6003.
The chance to drive the new Ford Endura range around Queenstown earlier this month was a great opportunity to put the five-seater, twin turbo, 2 L performance diesel through its paces on some great terrain.
Winding through the Crown Range to Wanaka, I got a real feel for how smooth the new generation platform will run in New Zealand conditions.
Called the ‘Edge’ in the northern hemisphere, the Endura is an SUV that can provide the power and torque needed for a great drive and will fill an important space in the Ford product range.
Refined and spacious, yet with a very capable boot space, I could see a strong resemblance to the Landover Discovery Sport in both looks and performance, with a price tag starting at $73,990.
The high profile of the bonnet and the 20-inch rims make for appealing eye candy but with an 154kW/450Nm engine and electronic stability program (ESP) that made cornering and drive through very pleasurable on such a challenging drive, it’s much more than just a good looker.
I was going to try it on the rough gravel road to Cardona ski field but was way laid at the Cardona Distillery, a must see when in Otago, testing the orange liqueur, vodka and gin. The silver-lining of this hold up was that I got the opportunity to find out what the passenger experience is like while my companion on the trip drove back.
Key features include leather trim and seating, Apple CarPlay, eight-inch colour touch screen, heated seats – great for those cold Queenstown mornings – and with a great satellite navigation system in such a quiet cabin, you hardly heard the drive. Overall the experience was brilliant; a worthy addition to the Ford line-up and a great option for someone looking for a quality SUV.
Four Southern Lakes ski areas will open soon, heralding a winter of thrills and spills on the slopes. Here’s a taste of what skiers and boarders can expect… after all, it’s all downhill from here.
The Remarkables is extending its learner terrain by a massive 70 percent this season, as well as installing a new conveyor to access the area. Ski Area Manager Ross Lawrence believes this will significantly improve the experience for novice riders. “The learner experience is about progression, so providing another step will get guests feeling even more comfortable and capable as they gradually move up the mountain.”
Remarkables Snow Sports Academy will also continue. The freeski and snowboard development programmes offer season-long and school holiday courses for children aged 6-18. For those who love jumps and bumps, there are extensive freestyle features across three dedicated terrain parks. The Remarkables is a 40-minute drive from Queenstown and three-quarters of the road is now sealed.
Coronet Peak offers the longest skiing hours in the Southern Lakes. Mornings start with First Tracks, when earlybirds can watch the sun rise as they glide down freshly-groomed trails against the backdrop of panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu. As twilight arrives, families and friends can catch up over a pizza or burger, watch the sun go down and take to the slopes under lights.
“People love night skiing – it’s a magical and fun experience,” Ski Area Manager Nigel Kerr says. “And it’s extremely convenient at just 20 minutes from downtown Queenstown.” This winter, night skiing runs three times a week, with Wednesday added to Friday and Saturday nights. “We have key events teed up for our guests to enjoy, bringing some well-known and loved DJs and bands to Coronet.”
Treble Cone is renowned for its unmatched terrain and leg-burning vertical, new General Manager Toby Arnott says. “To complement this, visitors can expect a fresh approach to the Treble Cone experience; wide open, uncrowded terrain, and short lift queues,” he says.
It has a northwest-facing learners’ and beginners’ area, so it’s bathed in sunshine and warmth all season. For hard-core types wanting advanced terrain, Saddle Basin and Summit Slopes offer plenty of challenges with open powder faces, natural half-pipes and fun drops. New for 2018 is a Snow Shoe Experience, which includes a scenic chair ride to the top of the ski area; snowshoe and equipment rental, and a fully-guided walk with a qualified instructor.
Cardrona Alpine Resort is handily situated between Wanaka and Queenstown. It has three wide, open basins featuring some of New Zealand’s most progressive terrain and promises that every family member will find a favourite trail. It also boasts New Zealand’s only gondola cabin-style lift on a ski area, McDougall’s Express Chondola.
Spokesperson Jen Houltham predicts “another epic season” this year. “Highlights of the 2018 winter up at Cardrona will be the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival; the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ, and the Jossi Wells Invitational,” she says.
The team at Casa Construction has had a big year already. A brand refresh, launched in March, has helped to position the business for expansion down south to Wanaka. Now with the Master Builder awards in full swing, Casa is focussed on completing more houses that are as beautiful and well-crafted as this year’s entry, titled ‘Light Luxury’.
Light Luxury is perched delicately on the Cashmere Hills, with broad sweeping views of the city and beyond through its industrial height windows.
The house itself is simple yet it is the details – courtesy of architect Thom Craig – that set it apart. The Casa team worked collaboratively with both client and architect to deliver the finishes required to ensure those aforementioned details, would sing.
Attention to the details is a particular passion of the Casa team. Managing Director, Jeff Root says, “anyone can build a house but it’s the hundred little things that we do differently that turn a house into a home”.
The team knows that when collaborating with architects this catch phrase becomes even more important. “Our architect partners have a vision. It’s our job to take that vision, fit it to the client’s budget and help realise the dream in the best way possible.”
The 2018 Master Builder Awards for Canterbury will be announced in July, with National awards announced in November. While the Casa team wait for their results, they will begin to apply their gold standard building practices to their first architecturally designed home, on the outskirts of Wanaka.
For more information, go to
Adventure capital of the world; winter wonderland; jewel in the tourism crown. The superlatives trip off the tongue when describing the Southern Lakes region, which has long been lauded for its jaw-dropping scenery, adrenalin-inducing activities and fine wine and food.
Whether you get your kicks bungy jumping from a great height; hurtling down a river at break-neck speed in a jet boat; sampling a glass of Central Otago pinot noir at a winery; skiing or snowboarding at one of the four mountain resorts; marveling at the majestic waterfalls in Milford Sound or discovering the quaint charm of Arrowtown in all its autumnal glory, it never fails to impress.
With Queenstown and Wanaka leading the charge and neighbouring towns (Te Anau, Cromwell, Arrowtown and Hawea to name just a few) nipping at their heels, the Southern Lakes region is riding a wave of growth and development that shows no sign of abating.
While more and more domestic and international tourists flock to the region and pour money in to the economy, its permanent population is increasing at an unprecedented rate. A number of Cantabrians moved to the area – particularly Wanaka – in the wake of the earthquakes. Others bought baches, or a piece of land with an eye to relocating in future.
Now the rest of New Zealand is following suit. Kiwis are starting to shun the big-city hassles and expense for a better quality of life in the regions, and many of them are choosing the Southern Lakes to live in, holiday in, or do a mixture of both.
Residential and commercial construction is booming as builders and developers frantically try to keep up with demand. Tradesmen are certainly a sought-after commodity in these parts. New subdivisions are coming on to the market thick and fast, with sections at Bridesdale Farm (between Queenstown and Arrowtown), Northlake (Wanaka) and the high-end Bendemeer (near Lake Hayes) being snapped up. Te Anau has also benefited from the Southern Lakes housing shortage as homebuyers and investors have increasingly looked for affordable opportunities there.
Businesses are doing a roaring trade too. The ever-expanding Frankton Flats industrial and retail precinct – handily situated on the main road between Arrowtown and Queenstown – is a hive of activity for both locals and tourists. Five Mile shopping centre, with its supermarket and a range of big-box stores, has filled a much-needed gap. The new kid on the block is Queenstown Central. Billed as ‘a premium retail environment’, stage one is due for completion later this year.
Young workers continue to gravitate to the bright lights of Queenstown and Wanaka to ply their trade in the hospitality, tourism and ski industries – and, of course, to enjoy the nightlife. At the other end of the spectrum, Queenstown Country Club is being built for retirees. With world-class golf courses nearby, lakes and rivers for fly fishing and boating as well as kilometres of mountain biking and walking trails on the doorstep, it’s easy to see the attraction.
Watch this space: Southern Lakes is on an exciting upward trajectory.
It’s going to be a big year for the Casa Construction team. With Wanaka’s population continuing to grow, Casa Construction has decided to start operating across the area, beginning early 2018.
Casa will primarily focus on residential new builds, working with local architects and building teams to deliver beautifully crafted homes.
Working in Wanaka has been a long-term dream for Casa Construction Director, Jeff Root. “A number of our clients either have holiday homes or are looking to move down that way. We’re delighted to be able to work with them on their new projects down there.”
Both construction activity and costs are expected to continue to increase in the broader Wanaka area, yet these challenges have not deterred the team. A number of innovations in supply chain, sourcing and team management are being considered to ensure the award-winning Casa Construction team can continue to exceed client and architect expectations.
Jeff adds, “It’s exciting to be able to bring something a little different to the market. There are a number of good operators down there already. We’re looking forward to the challenge of delivering the Casa promise of being on-time and within budget while maintaining the highest quality construction experience possible.”
The Casa team will kick off its Wanaka venture with projects in Hawea and West Wanaka. The team will be led by Jeff who will commute fortnightly, as well as a lead construction manager on the ground.
Casa Construction will continue operations in Christchurch alongside the new Wanaka venture.
For more information, contact Jeff Root on 021 460 670 or go to our website