Run Report

Queenstown parkrun recap

Here’s a recap of my visit to Queenstown parkrun, from December 12.

Way, way back, when parkrun was preparing to restart, I decided to look at flights to the South Island.

With Covid putting a long pause on international travel (and the kybosh on any return to the UK for a lengthy holiday to see my mum and sister) I decided to see how far I could stretch my airpoints and dollars.

I had hoped that 2020 would be the year I got to complete Countryman status (all parkruns in New Zealand), but like everyone else I didn’t know that Anderson parkrun in March would be the last trip for a long while.

When it was clear that parkrun would be restarting in July I started booking flights. Air New Zealand had started adding more flights to its schedule (almost back to normal) and prices were low as Kiwis hadn’t yet cottoned on to this domestic tourism lark.

parkrunday morning
Getting there

I’d already mentioned my tentative parkrun tourism plans to other event directors, and when Queenstown ED Chris Seymour said I could stay with him and his wife if the dates worked out, I made sure they aligned. I got a good return fare too.

It takes a while to actually arrive in Queenstown from Rotorua. I eventually landed at 2.45pm (due to work schedules I was dropped off at Rotorua Airport at 8.15am for a 10.25am flight).

To get into the town centre I caught the bus outside the airport. They arrive every 15 minutes and the fare is only $4.

I was meeting Chris and Jamie after work, so spent the afternoon soaking in the lake and mountain views (I spent an hour at Queenstown Airport using the free wifi in the comfy chair area near the baggage carousels).

We dined at Paddy Gaddy in Queenstown Mall. Pre-Covid the place would have been full on a Friday, but like so many other establishments, there are more tables than available patrons.

For dessert we stopped by at the Cookie Time store on Camp St. They have a happy hour from 6pm to 7pm where freshly baked cookies are half price.


Onto parkrunday. Chris was run directing, so we arrived at the event start/finish area at 7.20am. It was very windy and I was regretting my choice of run outfit, though once we started it was perfectly okay.

If you’ve not run Queenstown before it’s an out and back made up of three loops, pretty simple once you’re running.

The first loop is up a hill and down a hill. It separates the locals from the visitors (or at least, the ones who set out too fast, not knowing what’s around the corner).

Then you run two laps of the gardens and lake path. It’s varied scenery so you get a taste of everything. There are quaint gardens, a bowls club and bandstand. Then a forest with a carpet of soft cones and needles, and finally the lake and mountain views.

My first lap of this loop I stopped for photos and video. I already knew it wasn’t going to be a PB course so didn’t worry about the clock time, I was here for a good time!

The second lap I wanted to run and enjoy it, which I did.

After your second lap of the second loop section you run back to the finish straight – remembering to turn onto the grass and through the finish funnel to collect your finish token.

There was a small field of 37 today but that didn’t detract from the experience. Instead I think a small field makes it more homely as you can connect with the volunteers and other runners.


With a small field the majority went on to Yonder Cafe for parkfaff – and the results processing.

It has a great menu selection and baked goods, with plenty of vegan options.

I had the Full Yonder and hot chocolate. It beat me!

There’s much to do in Queenstown, especially if you’ve never visited before. I had no plans aside from parkrun. In the afternoon we drove out to Gibbston Valley, where there are a plethora of wineries.

I learned that there are more than 140km of cycle trails, so if cycling is something you’re into you can either bring your own bike (off-road tyres are best) or hire one to tour the wineries or other parts of the area.

Cargo Brewery

We went to Cargo Brewery, which looked like a converted church building. There was plenty of outdoor space for games or lying on a blanket.

I probably didn’t do my trip to Queenstown justice by not partaking in a full winery tour or engaging in adventure tourism.

However, I’ve been before and this time I just wanted a chilled trip away. And I got that.

A bonus was enjoying the Mandolorian season finale, episodes of The Chase and a great Thai takeaway.

When I was back at the airport on Sunday morning I couldn’t help but plan another visit, longer and with bikes.

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