Two star-crossed lovers, the young warrior Matakauri and Manata, the beautiful daughter of a Māori chief who forbade them to marry. One night, the cruel giant Matau stole Manata and hid her away in his mountain lair.

Completely distraught, her father declared that the warrior who was brave enough to rescue her could marry her. Matakauri accepted this challenge, because he knew that the next time the warm wind blew from the north-west it would put the giant to sleep. 

Soon enough the warm wind blew and as the sleeping giant lay curled on his side, Matakauri rescued Manata, setting fire to Matau as the couple escaped to ensure he never stole Manata again. The giant’s body melted, creating a massive hole that filled with melted ice and snow. The large ‘S’ shaped lake left in his place is now called Whakatipu, which translates as the ‘hollow of the sleeping giant’.

With Glenorchy at his head, Queenstown resting on his knee, and Kingston lying at his feet, people say Matua’s heart still beats in the lake, creating the mysterious, rhythmic 12cm rise and fall of its waters - a phenomenon which is now witnessed by lovers from all over the world.

With its turquoise waters flowing beneath spectacular mountain ranges framed by vast, clear skies, Queenstown provides the ultimate backdrop for romance.

Every little moment can be a celebration of love here—from taking in sweeping lake and mountain views from your accommodation when you open the curtains in the morning, to lingering over your morning coffee at one of many bustling cafes.

If privacy is what you seek, retreat to a luxury lodge and indulge in spa experiences, gourmet menus and intimacy in a spectacularly secluded alpine location.

Soak in a hot tub and watch the light transform the mountains from tawny golds to bright copper peaks that fade to silver shadows at night. 

Gather a picnic and jump in a helicopter together to be left on a remote mountaintop for an afternoon, sharing the incredible views and the feeling of being the only two people left on earth before coming back to town for a languid wander.

Queenstown’s wineries are the spot for romantics to taste to their heart’s content, and dine in exclusive bistros overlooking rolling hills covered in vines.

There are dining options at every turn too, whether you want to cloister yourselves away in a private dining room, or get amongst the buzz of Queenstown’s cosmopolitan dining scene and put your love on display.