It wasn’t until a client mentioned it a few weeks ago that I realised, Marks friends were coming over on WinterFest weekend! They are over for the Lions Tour, but flew into Queenstown at the star of their holiday solely so they could see us. Aaaw thanks guys!
Luckily we booked our accommodation many months ago, as we have last minute attempted to go to Queenstown for the winterfest before and were always unable to get accommodation as the place completely books out.
I do love getting UK visitors, because it always grounds us and reminds us how very lucky we are to live in such an awesome location. Three of the visiting party haven’t been here before and they walked out of the airport and across the car park completely in awe of the scenery. Yes, I guess we are blessed to live in such a stunning country. How England used to be before it was too overpopulated, one said. Another lady we were talking to a week later at a local pub who had been to England also remarked on how very far you have to travel in England to find countryside. Here, just a couple of minutes virtually from anywhere and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the middle of no-where (colloquialism for that locally is the wop-wops!)
We all converged on the waterfront after everyone checked into their respective accommodation. Brrrr… Cold (we are in the mountains!) so mulled wine while we listened to a few bands was ideal, then of course the famous fireworks display to close the evening.
Of course, we had to introduce our visitors to Fergburger (the ones that had been before had previously disregarded the long wait line as pointless). Yip, it never fails to impress! I must have been hungry, I managed to eat ALL of mine!
The next morning, we had planned to drive up the crown range. Sadly the cloud was over – but we decided to risk it anyway. Icy roads means even slower than usual (and we didn’t take any chances and hired chains too) but the summit was out of the clouds so still a stunning view, even if the valley and Queenstown itself was obscured.
Over the other side we stopped at Cardrona for a photo of the hotel, very widely pictured. I’m glad we did because we haven’t been inside before and it was so quaint, oldy worldy colonial with proper thick brick walls, a picturesque courtyard and the biggest stack of wood ever!
Wanaka never disappoints, however the lake was lower than I have ever seen it; that Wanaka tree wasn’t even in the water!
We returned back via Cromwell for a little bit of history about the Flooding of the old village, a quick walk around Old Cromwell before heading down the Kawarau gorge to Queenstown.
Pog Magones was where we decided to convene for the match. Man, it was crowded… with red shirts! Keith didn’t like my black one so I was lent a red hat to go with it, that had lots of funny looks, ref my sudden identity crisis!
The next day, well… A.J. Hackett day, nope not me, nope not him… three visiting nutters decided to take it on instead! Crazy people! It didn’t make me any more likely to try it, watching three others jump of a bridge with a bit of rope tied to their ankles!
Of course, one more thing had to be done before the return trip back home, (or in their case onwards up country) and that was the Gondola and Luge. We ended up with Luge wars and the boys managed to score two bonus rides from visitors giving their tickets away!
Quite simply a whistle stop fabulous visit from Keith, Sharon, Mike, Erica and Emma. Off they went from there on a helter skelter ticky tour of the rest of South Island on the way to Wellington for the next test match!