How to Shop and Find Hidden Gems in Queenstown New Zealand
I am so not a minimalist. My husband wishes now and then that I was as I love shopping for keepsakes and mementos from my travels, my life experiences, and just well, everything that puts a smile on my face. I collect magnets, sewn patches, glass Aussie animal figurines, and have plans to create the most amazing scrapbooks of my travels someday.
So, in the spirit of collecting these precious items I love which complement my oodles of photographs taken per destination, I am bringing the next chapter in the Bucket List series to Queenstown’s impressive shopping options. Here are my Top 5 Shopping Favourites in town.
- Roam Clothing NZ
Formerly known as “Fetch,” this innovative clothing store struck my fancy thanks to the ability to design my own hoodie or tee shirt! The clothier who was established in 2004, reflects true Kiwiana culture with its variety of local designs waiting to inspire everyone from the well-travelled to the newbie nomad. Grab a hoodie, tee shirt, or even a knitted beanie and choose the text and image that speaks to you. For us, we came to Queenstown prepared to push the action envelope and experience death-defying activities, mixed with the impeccable natural phenomena of the gorgeous mountains, lakes, and wildlife. Depending on your chosen text, and complexity of your design, the prices vary. We opted for already-created text and selected a mini image that quintessentially says “New Zealand” for the back. Ours were $90 NZD and worth every penny. Our experience topped our list thanks to Brittany who was a joy to speak with and as helpful as ever getting our clothes made in record time.
- The Ivan Clarke Gallery
Those who know me, know that I don’t gravitate to museums or galleries too often. My trip to the Louvre in Paris consisted of following the marked path to Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and ticking off the paintings featured in the Da Vinci Code. However, with my reputation preceding me, I still decided to venture in to view the Ivan Clarke Gallery as my husband has such an appreciation for various forms of art. Well, my friends, I wasn’t completely converted, but I did adore this gallery.
In case you haven’t heard of Ivan Clarke, he is a well-known artist who lives in the Southern-Lakes region of New Zealand. He originally began as a landscape painter, Ivan put the brush to canvas producing such incredible works now featured in many galleries and homes worldwide.
Ivan’s work came to major spotlight after his creation of the Lonely Dog series, capturing the hearts of connoisseurs and newbie gallery-browsers like myself who find ourselves gravitating to these clad-dressed pooches. This artistic phenomenon has since morphed from a classic best-selling book to paintings, limited edition sculptures, and crafted stationery. The book’s first edition sold out in 2012 with plans for a possible second edition to be released in the future.
The beautiful story has even reached the hearts of Warner Bros. Executives who have now acquired the rights to the Lonely Dog Art collection whose whimsical world could be transformed to the big screen.
What I loved about this gallery is the welcoming feeling being surrounded by such warm and emotional pieces of art. The scenes depicted in each piece truly captivate the eyes of the admirer creating a contemplation for bringing one home for over the mantel or in a swanky office space. Paintings and pencil sketches vary in price anywhere from $200 NZD through to multiple thousands. The large sculpture standing beautifully in the centre of the gallery is extremely rare with only two produced. Should you love it for your living room (I would!) it could be yours for $500,000 NZD.
Should your budget allow for an art purchase, need not worry if your new piece will be ruined in your suitcase. The gallery packs your purchase securely and ships worldwide with insurance. It will be waiting for you when you get home 🙂
If art is not in your trip budget, the beautifully printed note or greeting cards may be up your alley for an artsy souvenir to your time in Queenstown.
- SilvermoonWhat I loved about Silvermoon was the friendly reception when entering the store. I find jewellery shops with their crisp clean glass displays intimidate many a budget or traveller other than the elite. (I cannot tell you how inadequate I feel walking into Cartier…) This jewellery store didn’t have that atmosphere, but instead, makes visitors feel welcome regardless of budget, with items most guests can afford. Another plus for this shop is the variety of styles and products. Here you will find globally-known brands as well as unique pieces designed exclusively by local New Zealand artisans.
First opening in year 2000, this company has survived hardship and success all wrapped in one. 13 shops span the country on both the North and South islands with its head office in Christchurch. The company boasts a low staff turnover and praises its staff for keeping faith as they survived through two devastating earthquakes that closed store locations for up to 8 months.
If you want to bring home some beautifully designed jewellery that is reasonably priced, or even a classic item like a New Zealand exclusive Pandora charm, this is the store for you.
- Send a Cookie Postcard from the Cookie Bar!You probably remember me raving about the Cookie Bar in my Top 7 Foodie Musts post not too long ago. It is such an innovative place to enjoy gourmet cookies and drinks, but also for its adorable and creative merchandise! While you sip your crafted shake, why not do some shopping and pick up a classic Cookie Muncher hoodie, plush toy, or better still, send a cookie postcard to anyone in the world!
For $10 NZD you can send a boxed cookie with the greeting of your choice from a handful of options to anyone anywhere in the world! What a unique souvenir from such a wonderful town? As well, do remember to take a selfie in the funky rainbow car and send it to yourself on Facebook for an additional fun memory.
- The StationSo, the Station is not specifically a shop for objects, but instead for experiences. It serves as the official pick-up hub for the multiple tours you can book in town and is also where you can browse to your heart’s content every activity available. What I love about the Station is that it is the central office for AJ Hackett, creator of the bungee jump, as well as an agency featuring everything else offered around town. Hubby and I had booked the Nevis Swing– a not-for-the-faint-hearted swing that plunges from a platform 70 metres, then swings across a canyon. Crazy right!? Well, my friends, I wish I could write about the experience, but it was sadly cancelled due to heavy winds. (Our mothers vocally expressed their relief.) Not into bungee jumping? Don’t worry! Here at the Station, you can book EVERYTHING from skydiving, jet boating (read my review on the Skippers Canyon Jet!), and horse trekking (more about this here!) to Spa days, winery tours, and all things mellow. The friendly staff will assist with planning your perfect itinerary with a huge variety to choose from.Walking through Queenstown, you will be bombarded with tour agencies on every corner. (Kinda like the Starbucks of the travel industry.) Choose one, or head to the Station and you will have assurance knowing your experience will be organized without a hitch.
So there you have it. Unique shopping experiences for you in Queenstown. If these don’t strike your fancy, or your budget doesn’t have much wiggle room, you can always pick up your usual souvenirs at the shops located on every street, featuring magnets, postcards, spoons and t-shirts, and my favourite – Canned New Zealand Air….