Why Queenstown is actor Luke Carroll’s happy place

When he’s not appearing on stage, TV or the big screen, actor Luke Carroll loves to explore this New Zealand alpine region on a gondola or ramp up the adrenaline on its snow-capped mountains.

Mountains overlooking lake in Queenstown.
  • Paul Ewart
  • January 2020

Best known as a presenter on long-running children’s show Play School, seasoned theatre, film and TV actor Luke Carroll has been a fixture on both the screen and stage for decades, whether it be in Home and Away and All Saints or treading the boards in theatres across the country. Now he lets us in on his across-the-Tasman getaway, Queenstown – a world-adventure capital where ski slopes, beautiful scenery and extreme sports meet.

What’s the best thing about your job?

That one job is never the same as the next. I’m almost constantly changing characters and mediums – be it stage, TV or film.

Your happy place is in Queenstown, New Zealand. Why?

I first visited about eight years ago during winter and was absolutely blown away by the natural beauty of the whole region. The snowcapped mountains, Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables… they’re all sublime. With four commercial ski resorts, Queenstown has some of the country’s best skiing and there’s epic views from the runs.

Actor Luke Carroll in a live theatre performance.
Luke Carroll loves the natural beauty of Queenstown.

What’s a typical day like for you when you’re there?

I’d start by taking a short stroll into town for breakfast at one of the local cafés – Vudu is my favourite. Then, I’d walk down to the lake to explore the shoreline before heading up the gondola to Bob’s Peak for some of the most amazing views over the city. Queenstown is renowned for its adrenaline sports, so either skiing, bungee jumping, zip-lining, jet boating or hang-gliding would likely feature at some point in the day. Driving through snow-capped mountains and stopping to fill up your water bottles with ice-cold pure water flowing down from the mountains at Milford Sound is something you’ll never forget. I’d end the day winding down in one of the relaxing onsen baths in the area – complete bliss.

A shopping street in Queenstown.
Luke loves starting his day with a short stroll into town for brekkie.

What’s one extraordinary thing to do in Queenstown?

The area is so picturesque and the ultimate way to view it all is from above in a helicopter opens in new window. You’ll fly over alpine glaciers and remote lakes and you can even get dropped off for a picnic on the top of a mountain. For a romantic date, that’s tough to beat.

You’re based in Sydney – what do you love about where you live?

How beautiful it is. We have the harbour, the beaches, the mountains and a great climate – Sydney in summer especially comes alive.

Your dream destination?

Japan, definitely. But I’ll need to visit twice, during the cherry blossom and ski seasons. I can’t wait to immerse myself in their quirky culture.

Here’s former rugby player Beau Ryan’s tips on the best things to do in Cronulla.