Happy Ever After and Queenstown

I love Queenstown. Absolutely adore it. It’s why Happy Ever After is the 2nd of my books to feature it as a location – Wish You Were Here was the first.

Anyways, these are some of the locations in Queenstown and surrounds that I’ve used…so far…

Lake Wakatipu

Of course. Framed by The Remarkables Lake Wakatipu is so amazingly beautiful. In fact, it’s so beautiful that it takes me by surprise. Every time I see the lake and mountains it’s as if I’ve never seen them before.

The SS Earnslaw

The Sun rolls it’s way through, lighting different parts of the peaks- almost in time with the breath of the breeze. That in itself is an interesting concept in that the lake rises and falls by up to 20cm every half hour or so, yet it isn’t tidal. It’s as if the lake is breathing.

And that’s all part of the Maori legend of the lake.

Apparently, a local ogre named Matau (they had local ogres in those days) was burned to death for taking advantage of the daughter of an important chief.  The resultant fire melted the snow and ice of the surrounding mountains and it all ran into the deep hole where Matau fell- creating Lake Wakatipu. Yet the ogre was so strong that his pulse survives in the daily rise and fall.

I love stories like this.

Vudu Cafe & Larder

My absolute favourite place for brekky. They have another cafe now – Bespoke Kitchen, but the original is still the place to be in my humble opinion.

Down on the lake, I reinvented this place as Jess’s Beach Road Cafe in Wish You Were Here and it has a role in Happy Ever After as well.

Madame Woo

The absolute best street food Asian in Queenstown – and possibly the best I’ve had in NZ – and you know I love my Asian street food…#bigcall

The Road to Glenorchy

Check that view. Is that inspiring, or is that inspiring?


There’s a pub here, a general store and trading post, a photogenic wharf and it’s also the jumping off place for the Dart River adventures (absolutely recommended) and a few tramping tracks.

Just down the road is Paradise – the scene of many ads, movies and TV shows…plus a rather spicy love scene in Wish You Were Here


A charming gold-rush town at its absolute picturesque best in the autumn.

Cardrona Hotel

A great place for a Sunday session, the Cardrona is on the Crown Range Road between Queenstown and Wanaka – another road with spectacular scenery.


An old gold mining area now famous for amazing wines. I loved it for the fields of wild thyme and other wild flowers in late spring.

Old Cromwell

As opposed to Cromwell town which is the new Cromwell.

“Upon the completion of the Clyde Dam in 1992, the valley behind the dam was flooded to create Lake Dunstan. To preserve the town’s gold mining and pioneering past, dedicated volunteers painstakingly moved the buildings from Cromwell’s original town centre to higher ground.” (From the official tourism site…)

In case you missed it…

From next week all my personal, travel, wrap-up and linky posts will be over at And Anyways. I explained why here. I’d love to see you there.

This site will be devoted to books and writing – and the business of writing… I’m hoping that it’s the right way to be going…

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

19 Replies to “Happy Ever After and Queenstown”

  1. I’ve never been to Queenstown but I hope to get there and the rest of NZ one day in the not too distant future! Your photos are gorgeous and make me wanna be there NOW! The photographer side of me would be in heaven over there. All the best with your blog shuffle. #TeamLovinLife

  2. Other than my jaunt to Christchurch to see Lisa when she lived there I’ve only been to NZ one other time and a friend and I went to Queenstown but I really loved Arrowtown. My fave pic of that entire trip is of a snow-encrusted house there.

    PS. I’ve preordered your book so assume Amazon will send us an email telling us it’s available for downloading when it’s out? (Never pre-ordered anything before.)

    1. Yeah, you get an email & it turns up in your kindle – if it all works ok, that is…I’m getting nervous about it now…

  3. Hi Jo! I love NZ full stop. You can overdose on the scenery. I remember Queenstown and thank you for bringing back some lovely memories of our visit there. We had a delicious dinner on the lake and went on the SS Earnslaw as all tourists do. I also remember we drove to Mt Cook area and climbed for hours to see a glacier which was more of an ice cube than a glacier! Luckily we made up for it when we visited the Franz Josef Glacier. Beautiful photos. have a great weekend. xx

    1. Thanks Sue. It’s the most beautiful country. I remember doing a helicopter flight across Mt Cook on one visit – so memorable. Have a great weekend.

  4. I really think I need to learn more about New Zealand. My daughter has been to Auckland twice as a friend lived there. I am now in a very active and lovely Head and Neck cancer support group that is NZ based and when everyone talks of where they live I feel very ignorant. All the very best with the book Jo!

    Denyse x

  5. I can imagine Queenstown and surrounds would make for the perfect scene for a romantic novel. I’ve been here 3 times and each time I fall in love more and more with the place. Your photos are absolutely beautiful.

    1. Thanks Kathy. I think those photos are probably spread across 3 or 4 visits at different times of the year. I actually have a mystery novel in mind too…so watch this space…

  6. Hi, Jo – Your photos and descriptions are so rich and compelling! I’m with your other commenters who want to visit each of these places NOW!

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