Peppers Beacon


Peppers Beacon in Queenstown was a sanctuary after being carsick during an hour long drive. We had a standard room, but it had double doors that opened up to a big grassy deck area with park benches and barbecue grills. These park benches were for eating on.

When we got to the room, it was pretty hot inside. Not only was it possibly one of the hottest weeks of the year here, but there was also no air conditioning. A little surprising considering that this place is supposed to be a luxury hotel. We opened up the windows, turned on a fan, and the place cooled down well enough. I laid down, showered, drank water, and complained.

Also, check out the view from our room window:

Lake Wakatipu

Our original plan had been to cook out on the grill for dinner, but I still wasn’t feeling the best so we decided on takeout. Eventually I felt well enough to go out and do a Pokemon raid and get takeout. We chose an Italian place, Farelli’s Trattoria, that seemed safe. Hayden called ahead to place our order and we set off to do the Ivysaur raid.

Our hotel was right on the water and isolated from the city noise, but only a 5-10 minute walk to the main city area and much closer than our previous Queenstown hotel had been. The raid was at the main Queenstown beach/waterfront, which was very beautiful. I couldn’t believe that we had completely missed this place the last time we were here. While Queenstown was just as crowded as I remembered, I appreciated the hubbub and the lively atmosphere that came with it. Plus, the weather was still great. I got a smoothie.

The Italian food was weird. My pasta had breadcrumbs in it. Why? But we watched more of the Bachelorette season 8, and that was good. Hayden is becoming invested in the story.

That night, I found a discounted activity website that had a ton of deals on things to do in Queenstown. We booked a few of them and filled our next couple days with plans for fun things.

Right-handed or Left-handed?

The first deal was $8 (NZD!) mini golf, at 9:30 that morning. We quickly cooked up the last of the eggs for a fast breakfast and set off for a fun morning game. I have never been great at sports, and today was perhaps the first time that I actually tried not to fail at mini golf. Hayden seemed to know a lot about golf in general. But of course Hayden knows how to golf.

The course was 18 holes and the golf courses weren’t super zany and fun like many of the best mini golf courses. Instead, there were just lots of hills and curves with the occasional garden gnome blocking your shot. The best part about this was that it was $8 and it was a fun activity to get us out of bed early.

At one point, Hayden noticed how I was putting and asked “You’re left-handed too??” and I realized that I just swung the putter whichever way seemed convenient at the time. After that I felt self-conscious and only swung right-handed from then on out. I was doing okay during the first half, and then in a shocking turn of events, I lost. Hayden accidentally got a hole in one towards the end. I think I can do way better next time.

Hayden: I got a hole in one. Did you write about that? 😡 It was the best thing I did all day.

Hunting Pokemon post-mini golf took us back to the beachfront and we got smoothies at the same place, Patagonia Chocolates. We sat upstairs and had a nice view of the water.

other couples were there too, just ignore them

That night, we were planning on a meal at the Peppers barbecues. After a pit stop back at the hotel, we drove to the market and back.

Japanese Food!

It had been a long while since I’d had Japanese food, for fear that it would not be any good. After my run-in with breadcrumbs in my pasta, I was particularly wary of the authenticity of local ethnic foods. Queenstown had a couple Japanese restaurants with good menus and good reviews, so out of desperation I decided to try one for lunch. Minamijujisei had an $18 (NZD) lunch combo that included udon, california rolls, and a teriyaki chicken donburi. What a deal! There were real Japanese people and the food was great. Yum.


A perfectly timed Ivysaur raid popped up right as we were finishing lunch. We had done perhaps too many Ivysaur raids lately. I have 4 Ivysaurs now, but still not enough Bulbasaur candies to evolve an Ivysaur into a Venusaur.

Wandering around in the sun is pretty draining, so we took a very short break at the hotel before our next discount activity… bicycle hire!

Cycle Higher

At Cycle Higher, we had found bike hire for $25 for 2 hours. I’m no mountain biker and the last time Hayden was on a bike, he broke his arm, so we opted for a shorter bike ride on the Queenstown Trail around Lake Wakatipu. There were some hills and bumps, but the (mostly dirt) trail was pretty wide and and an easy ride overall. We stopped every once in awhile to take in the lake.

Queenstown Trail goes forever, so at the hour mark we turned around and headed back. With some time to spare, we stopped by the lake and dipped our feet in. It was cold but still nice.


After successfully breaking zero of Hayden’s bones on our bike ride, we set up at the barbecues for dinner. I made pasta on the Jetboil to use up the last of it, and Hayden grilled chicken and vegetables on the barbecue. The chicken drumsticks were only $2 (NZD) total because they expired that day. 🙂


The meal turned out great and Hayden applauded his chicken. I would rate the chicken at a solid rotisserie-chicken-at-Safeway. It was that good.


There were a couple hours remaining until our evening activity, so we showered and laid down until then. We also consumed a chocolate cake that we’d gotten from the market, which was much cheaper than getting one from a restaurant.

Murder on the Orient Express

Yes! I was so excited for the old whodunnit. I knew nothing of the story, so I was in for a surprise. It was fun to go out to the movies for a 9 PM showing and Murder on the Orient Express was intense in the best way.

Hayden: I don’t think there was one joke in that whole movie. :/

For the next day, we had a hike and one more discount activity planned, along with various other things (a Pokemon raid perhaps?)

Stay tuned!


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