June 4, 2010

Queenstown Part 2 – What to do there!

One of the most exciting things to do in Queenstown is to visit the Remarkable rocks. There are a number of ways to do this. You can take a scenic flight over the area and land on the snow…big thumbs up for this one… or your can drive up there , take a coach up there , or do what I did and take a Nomad Safari.

Nomad Safaris have custom build vehicles that they use for their various tours and one of them is the Lord of the Rings tour. Now if your not a Lord of the Rings fan don’t worry it’s only part of the experience. The tour starts by driving you to various parts of Queenstown from Coronets peak to the Remarkable rocks, and along the way your charming guide will stop and show you the various places where some of the scenes of the movie were shot, it must have been hard job for the location coordinator to settle on the locations because it’s all beautiful.

The best part of my tour was the stop half way up the Remarkable rocks where I got to play in freshly fallen snow. To some of you that might not be a big deal, but for me this was almost my first experience. It’s soft and pure white and so easy to make snow balls out of, and of course throw at each other! From here we went to Arrowtown to drive through a river – which by the way is a public road, my recommendation get a 4WD and go nuts!

And here are another few things to try, for some more amazing views of the city take a ride up the Gondola, once you get there have a go on the Luge – race down and slopes for a bit of a thrill. If that’s not your thing, here’s what perked me up.

It’s called the ZIPTREK. Flying fox is just the funnest experience, but do it with these guys and in this backdrop, they have the perfect recipe. It runs every day rain or shine, it’s incredible, and currently there are 4 ziplines at various heights. Some of the best views and a very cool way to see them… and while you’re at it, try a few stunts…perhaps do and upside down star. ZIIPPPPPPPPPPPEEE!

June 2, 2010

Queenstown, New Zealand Part -1

Wonderful Queenstown
So I’ve just returned from my very first trip to Queenstown and let me just tell you, every picture you’ve seen of that fantastic view is really what it is. It’s not Photoshop and it’s not edited. Most places die down in the winter, but Queenstown is just waking up. A few days away from the snow season and the locals are practically up the mountain, and boy are they REMARKABLE.

There are 2 major ski areas in Queenstown Coronet peak and the Remarkables. In my understanding they offer equally exciting ski runs for beginners and experts alike, since they have such a varied terrain.

But let me tell you about my experience of Queenstown…..the most amazing flight in, and I’m not talking about a scenic flight, I’m talking about the regular Air New Zealand flight into the city. When you’re landing the flight crew says “Please remember that you are not permitted to take photographs or use your mobile phone till you are inside the terminal”. This is the hardest thing to do… I guarantee that when you get your first look at Queenstown you will fall in love with it….the beautiful back drop of the Remarkables that just roll on with the beautiful white peaks, the cold breeze that hits you in the face and wakes you up and if your lucky enough to get the clear blue sky – you’re a gonner!

I spent the rest of the day exploring what the city had to offer, a delicious lunch by an open fire and an exceptional glass of pinot noir at Amisfield Winery, followed by a thrilling jet boat ride over the Shotover river, a quick scenic flight over the area and finished up with a steam cruise (TSS Earnslaw) in a boat as old as the Titanic across to Walter peak for a hot soup and varied selection of salads and food. All in all a perfect day in Queenstown.