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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

PART 7: Pub-crawling around the world - Minus 5, Queenstown, New Zealand

As well as all the brilliant outdoor activities to do in Queenstown, it has a really buzzy nightlife. I sampled quite of the bars around the town celebrating my jump out of the sky but I have to write about Minus 5 since it's one of those unique experiences that you have to try once.

I had spent the day hiking in the nearby mountains, taking in the spectacular views over Queenstown and wasn't up for anything too hectic so Clara, one of my room mates, and myself booked a discount ticket to Minus 5 Ice Bar. You can buy tickets at their office, but it's twice the price and you do need to book ahead in order to enter. We used which has great discounts for all the activities in Queenstown and we got our entry for NZD$15 each including a cocktail.

It's located right down near the harbour, on Steamer Wharf, surrounded by other bars and restaurants. When we arrived, we were given warm winter coats, extra socks, gloves and Ugg boots to wear into the bar. I noticed the girl looking after us had an Irish accent so we got into conversation. It turned out that she was from Donegal town (where my mum comes from) and is friendly with two of my cousins, Daniel and Peadar. She had even lived with Daniel in Australia. Seriously, the world is so small!

A group of about eight of us entered the bar and to be honest, any more and it might have been cramped. Apart from the fact that the bar is made of ice, the designs are actually incredible, everything was hand-carved. It's quite fascinating that people do this as work!

The bar seems to be sponsored by Absolut Vodka, which suited me down to the ground. There was a range of fruity cocktails to choose from so I chose a blackcurrant based one, which was very tasty but rather sweet. These were served to us in tumblers made of ice, so you had to hold it in your gloved hand or suffer ice-burn.

We met some other German girls in there (Clara is from Germany) and had a little chat with them but most peoples' time is taken up posing on or with the various items carved out of ice in the bar. I got so cold I could barely speak after being in there 20 minutes but perhaps a few more Absolut cocktails would have warmed me up.

I'd definitely put it on the list of things to do but you wouldn't be spending a night here with your friends. We moved up to Winnie's for some warming beverages afterwards.

Ambience: 9/10 - Although not somewhere you will stay for long, you can't beat it for sheer coolness. (Yes, yes, I know - pun intended.)
Price: $30 per person including one cocktail, unless you buy ahead online.
Food: No food available, unless you find your appetites sated by crushed ice.
Location: Steamer Wharf, Beach Street, Queenstown
Toilets: You have to exit to use the toilets.

Overall: It is a once-off experience and definitely worth it. 9/10