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Queenstown: Exploring New Zealand’s Adventure Capital

Every year, about three million tourists visit New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. It is located in the southwest portion of the the country’s South Island and is the second-largest urban area in the Otago region. Like most destinations in New Zealand, Queenstown is renowned for its stunning landscapes, adventure sports, gorgeous vineyards, historic sites, and all-around laid-back atmosphere. It’s no wonder why millions of people flock there every year – there’s an epic adventure waiting to be had for most any type of traveler.

Here are a few of our tips on how to explore Queenstown:

Hiking & Skiing

 There’s a plethora of long-distance trails in New Zealand for tramping (which is the local term for trekking). As it happens, Queenstown is a jumping-off point for many of those tramps, like the Routeburn Track and Hollyford Track. If you’re pressed for time, there are plenty of day hiking opportunities from town as well. The walk up Queenstown Hill is short and sweet, and the trailhead is located a mere 15 minutes away from the town center. After two or three hours of hiking, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the town, the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu, and The Remarkables – a stunning mountain range known for being a ski destination (and which also requires a visit, if it’s ski season).

Compared to Queenstown Hill, taking the trail to Ben Lomond is quite challenging. It affords a much closer view of The Remarkables and during the colder months, its snow-capped peaks are begging to be photographed. Other short hikes worth looking into are Moke Lake Loop, Bob’s Cove, Lake Alta, Cecil Peak, and Bob’s Peak. These trails are short but extremely rewarding.

Wine Tours

Some of the best vineyards and wineries in the world can be found in New Zealand as a result of its microclimate – and this is particularly true in the Otago region, where Queenstown resides. The country is known for its Sauvignon Blanc, but is also gaining international acclaim for Pinot Noir of late. Whether or not you fancy yourself much of a wine aficionado, a wine tour is a great way to get to know the local culture and history of Queenstown and in the greater Otago region. The Gibbston Valley, for instance, is considered a pioneer in the local wine industry, and is a fascinating place to visit and learn about as you sample a few bottles. You can also join wine tours to Amisfield, Peregrine, Rippon, and many others.

Town Limits

There’s plenty of things to do within the town when you’re not in the mood for hiking or exploring. You might notice a long line for a place called Fergburger, and you should definitely try it out for yourself. This restaurant is a local institution and has been hailed by Kiwis as having the best gourmet burger in the entire country (if not the world). If you do indulge in one of these delightful local favorites, you can then burn off the calories by playing a round or two of frisbee golf in the Queenstown Gardens. It’s a pastime among locals and there are discs and targets available for public use in the area.

Given that majority of travelers in Queenstown are young (or young at heart), the bar scene is fairly active. The Pig and Whistle Pub, The World Bar, and Loco Cantina are local favorites and fun places where you can often meet fellow travelers. SkyCity is another point of interest for those looking to make international friends. It’s an entertainment complex and casino located in the heart of Queenstown and is a testament to the expanding casino culture of New Zealand. Most Kiwis actually engage with this culture via free pokies online (their word for “slots”), but for people visiting the country, the real thing is a bit more of an attraction. Plus, as alluded to, there’s plenty to do at SkyCity beyond its casino, particularly if you need a bit of time indoors.


Bonus: Day Trips

If you have the time, why not squeeze in a day trip or two from Queenstown? Arrowtown, a historical site, is just a short drive away from the town center. It served as a living settlment for Chinese gold miners way back in the 1800s and it has since been transformed into a cultural center. Searching for gold in the river can be a fun activity, if you want to embrace the area’s history specifically. When you’re done though, the main street is lined with restaurants, confectionary shops, and souvenir stores that are all worth exploring as well.

Day trips to Milford Sound are also available through the dozens of tour groups you’ll find in Queenstown. Do note, however, that this trip makes for a full day of traveling, and you’ll need to plan accordingly. The drive to Milford Sound winds through valleys, mountain ranges, forests, and natural parks, making the journey part of the attraction. When you get to Milford Sound, at least on some tours, you’ll be ushered to boats that travel around the fjord. The “mystical” waterfalls are the biggest attractions, but do keep an eye out for adorable seals lounging on rocks as well!

Lifestyle Travel Travel

Atlanta’s Black Cupid…

Black Cupid? Yes, you read that correctly. Jerome “Jay Dee” Davis takes his self-proclaimed title of “Black Cupid” seriously. The consummate professional, and husband, Davis and his wife, Shelly, enjoy traveling the world.

It was on one of their luxurious vacations that Davis expressed his disappointment in not seeing more couples of color at the vacation spots they visited. That disappointment lingered resulting in Davis creating Black Couples Getaways and taking on the title of “Black Cupid.”

Now in its third year, Black Couples Getaways is the most significant black traveling group in the United States. Throughout each year the group meets at pre-planned travel destinations. Upon arrival, the couples enjoy a myriad of events which can include: a welcome reception, pool parties, all white party, dune bugging, horseback riding, meals, relationship empowerment sessions, networking, partying and even a booze cruise. The motto relax, relate and recharge fares well with the participants.



Although attendees have a lot of fun, Davis’ mission to promote love and commitment among couples pays off. The testimonies of renewed relationships, behavioral changes and spontaneous proposals are a testament to his purpose. Leading by example Davis and his wife help other black couples realize that having it all is possible.


Black Couples Getaways has taken a life of its own with over 300k Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter followers. Numbers don’t lie, black couples are striving to build better relationships, wealth and firm foundations, which ultimately makes healthier families and communities.

The 2019 agenda is set, and couples are already reserving their spots for a February getaway to Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, hosted by DJ Kid Capri. This trip includes an outing to Sugarland Cellars to sample the most exceptional homemade wine tasting events.

Memorial weekend is a sure pleaser for couples who will travel to the world famous, Las Vegas Strip. Most people know there is never a dull moment on the strip, from shows and concerts to relaxing spa days for a deep tissue massage. Black Couple Getaways adds fuel to the fire with a complete line-up of personalized events only experienced on one of their trips.

Davis doesn’t just leave couples with a good time he also equips them with business knowledge from building and maintaining personal and business credit, real-estate investments, company finance, and acquisitions, through his company The Momentum Financial Group.



Davis is dedicated to building strong communities and uses his nationwide network of professionals and a national community investment corporation to do so. He serves on the board of directors for the Development Corporation, Inc., and the Urban Hangover, Inc.

As Davis continues to urge black couples to travel more, he and his wife Shelly escort their travel group abroad to destination locations such as Santorini Greece, The Canary Islands, Paris France and the great motherland of Africa.

Jerome “JayDee” Davis is all about business. His stellar list of professional accomplishments is noteworthy: one of the founders of JazzNet (Jazz and Networking), First Fridays (Nashville), First Fridays United, and The Urban Professionals Ski Getaway.



The achievements don’t stop there, from 1992-2003, Davis served as vice president of Youth About Business, Inc. (a youth entrepreneur training program. He currently holds the position as Chief Visionary Officer for Urban Professionals which started in 2003 and is the largest web-based networking site for urban professionals.
Davis attributes his success to putting God first. You will not find quitting on his to-do list anytime soon. This Ohio native now living in the Atlanta metro area enjoys spending time with his daughters Alexis and Jessica, and teaches them that staying focused, working hard, and giving back to the community is the way to live.





Just Around the Corner – Bremen, GA

How does a community re-invent itself after its largest employers close their doors? Textile mills were once a thriving industry in the South. These mills – Sewell Manufacturing Co., Warren Sewell Clothing Co., Hubbard Co., Ray Sewell Co. and Arrow Shirt Co. flourished for decades, producing over 70% of all men’s clothing, which was loaded directly onto the rail cars literally at their front doors and employed over 3000 workers.

MilltownAs first time visitors to Bremen, my friend, Carolyn Parrish, and I were treated to a guided tour by Mayor Sharon Sewell and Kristen Gerspacher of the Downtown Services. Our initial destination was the new MILL TOWN MUSIC HALL housed in a former grocery store. We’ve all seen strip mall areas with large empty commercial space and wondered if anything will ever fill it again.

Well, the owners of that space, Randall & Tena Redding of RKR Construction, along with many others, have combined their love of the history of this town and of music to help create this gift, not only to Bremen, but to all who enter its doors.

Milltown2Walk with me through those doors as I surveyed for the first time the anticipated inside of MILL TOWN MUSIC HALL. To see the creative use of what most of us would consider “throw away” items, which were turned into works of art and then used as the theme for the décor, was quite inspiring. You must experience this yourself; however, as a teaser – old dress forms are used as floor lamps! The commendation for this creativity is given to the interior design talents of Tena Redding. She epitomized the appreciation Bremen natives have for their textile mills. That’s exactly what everyone will experience when attending a concert at MILL TOWN MUSIC HALL. They are bringing the resources and making something of value for every person who attends.

Lucky for me, this was just the beginning of my introduction to Bremen. We drove by two of Bremen’s event facilities – the HERITAGE HOUSE with its wonderful history preserved by the Museum Board and THE ROCK BUILDING, which I’d already been in recently for a wedding.

Next on our agenda was seeing a few of the projects that indicate how focused they are on the welfare of the community – the new Performing Arts Center across from the high school; the area in the park where a Special Needs playground will be built through the fundraising efforts of the Junior Women’s Club; and the large addition to their library. The education standards set for their schools have earned them some of the most prestigious awards given to a school system.

No trip to Bremen is complete without FOOD! Our lunch was at Callie’s Alley. We were greeted and served by Life Skills students from the high school and Callie was one of those we met. This is another example of the community’s concern for others and their resourcefulness in problem solving. The students wanted a way to earn money for their school projects and trips, and there was an empty building just waiting to be used. By the way, I just had to try their fried bologna sandwich, which was a “blast from the past”, and it was GREAT!

Even though we had homemade banana pudding – WOW – at Callie’s Alley, Carolyn couldn’t leave town without stopping and having “at least one” of Monica Brock’s cupcakes at FLUFFY’S CUPCAKES. I opted for the King Cake, which was the best I’ve ever had, even when living in Mobile, AL – the original home of Mardi Gras.

Of course, no woman can leave Bremen without visiting a boutique. The one that was open was LADY BIANCA’S BOUTIQUE run by Bianca and her mother, Mary Ann. They have great prices and a large selection of items, many of which are made by both of them – such talented and welcoming hostesses. Can’t wait to get back and do some serious shopping!

Never underestimate the power of a community when it is united in preserving what it has been while re-inventing where it wants to go! Come travel with me to a new destination the next time on “JUST AROUND THE CORNER” where we keep our dollars in Georgia.

Written by: Patty Wenck