Cool job: Victor Cagayat saws through a block of ice as he builds a cocktail lounge from 25 tonnes of the stuff


A professional ice sculptor’s carving it up at Queenstown’s newest ice bar.

Aucklander Victor Cagayat is building a cocktail lounge from 25 tonnes of ice at Future Hospitality Group’s latest venture, Queenstown Ice Bar, at the resort’s Upper Village.


Cagayat’s expecting to pack up his chainsaw and chisels in time for owners James Ace and Bert Haines to throw open the doors early next month.

Cagayat tells Mountain Scene he’s been sculpting ‘‘everything that’s possible to carve’’ — including margarine, chocolate and vegetables — for about 30 years, using skills gained from wood carving.

He got into the line of work for big hotels in the country of his birth, the Philippines, and since emigrating to New Zealand, has been in demand here and in Australia.

Ace says they’d planned to open last month, but Auckland’s lockdown meant they couldn’t get Cagayat down earlier.

With space for up to 50 guests, it’ll be a ‘‘little more plush, with Scandinavian
touches’’ than Minus 5 Ice Bar, which they’ve owned for a decade.

‘‘We know people love the concept, they love the experience, they love Queenstown and exploring and doing new things, and we’re just adding to that.’’