Gypsy West

Gypsy looking to camera with her hands in her pockets.

I am originally from Australia, came to New Zealand over 12 years ago on a $40 flight and never left. My mother and I spent two weeks on that trip travelling the South Island in a campervan, and I just fell in love with every corner we discovered. 

As a self-taught floral artist, I love to push the boundaries in floral design by including unusual and unexpected pieces in my work. I treat it as an art rather than just making bouquets. There are no rules—it's all about creating intuitively and from the heart.

I'm always observing nature, the changing seasons and the cycle of life. I grew up in Tasmania, so the landscape and distinctive seasons of Central Otago, especially the crisp, cool air of autumn, bring back childhood memories for me.

After moving here, I met a beautiful Kiwi guy; we had our daughter and made Cromwell our home. I love the arts, local wines and food, and exploring our backyard with my family. Queenstown certainly is a place of beauty with so many wonderful activities around.

Uncover Arrowtown's Autumnal Side

Arrowtown in autumn is a must-do—the magical colour explosion will seriously wow you. The gorgeous historic main street is filled with many charming shops and restaurants. Slow Cuts has amazing food, and I pick up my morning coffee from Terra Mia Italian. The river walk is one of my favourites; I have so many fond memories of exploring nature on this track with my daughter when she was young.

Sip Bubbles on a Mountain

A helicopter flight to a mountain top is a spectacular experience and pretty gob-smacking when you see Queenstown from above and realise how large it actually is. Looking down on the lake and the mountain ranges is very calming and takes your breath away. We recently surprised my sister in law with casual pre-dinner bubbles on a mountain for her birthday. 

Lace-Up and Trek Bannockburn

I love going to Bannockburn Sluicings with the family. The terrain is so unusual, you feel like you're in the desert. Relatively easy and great for kids because there are so many little places to explore. Plus, you can take your dog too.

The Bannockburn Slucings.

Unwind with Picture-Perfect Views

Jacks Retreat is located out at Jacks Point, about 20-minutes from Queenstown. A beautifully designed studio with a patio, open fire and uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu and up through to Cecil Peak. Rebecca, the host, has created a garden full of grasses that dance with the wind. It's one of those places I'd love to treat myself to and just disconnect.

Devour Super-Local Eats at the Sherwood

Hands down, you would find me having a meal at Sherwood Queenstown. I love that the food is cooked from the heart. Chris is an amazing chef. The menu to the flavours are just so unexpected, and the produce used is fresh from their own home-grown market garden. The staff here are incredible too, and it's such a relaxing place to just sit out by the fire and have a drink.

Get Schooled in Handmade Ceramics

I've been following Sam Mayell's pottery journey on Instagram for a while, so when he started to offer pottery classes, I thought, I just have to go and do this. Fortunately, he now has space in his Queenstown studio to offer both wheel throwing and clay hand-building workshops.

Treat Yourself to a Pamper Sesh

I've always wanted to indulge with a pamper package at the iconic Eichardt's Private Hotel Vault Spa. Imagine taking your girlfriends, going for lunch at Eichardt's Bar, sipping on some bubbles and treating yourself to a relaxing pamper session.

Back Otago's Independent Boutiques

Folklore is hands down my favourite shop to find a special item (and I always have to buy something for myself too!). Make a day of it because Clyde is such a cute wee town to visit and explore. Or pop to Angel Divine in Arrowtown, where the lovely ladies will sort you out with a new autumn jacket!

Go Dome in the Mountains

Get a dose of high country dome hospitality at Cross Hill in Lake Hawea. Each private geo-dome is the perfect place to relax and take in the remote mountain views and night skies. You can also head down to Cross Hill Lodge for a degustation dining or a soak in the outdoor hot tub.

Wander Around the Queenstown Gardens

In autumn, the Queenstown Gardens are insanely picturesque with deciduous trees, the little pond and bridge, the maple trees and the rose gardens. You can easily pick up some delicious food from the cafés in town, walk down to the end of the peninsula or around to the other side, looking up at The Remarkables.