Written by: Brenda Pomponio
Short Stop: 2 days in South Island, New Zealand
Snowcapped mountains, vast evergreen valleys, lakes that sparkle with the suns rays – this is the magic that lay before our eyes as we descended from our flight from Melbourne to Queenstown – the most picturesque beauty from a bird’s eye view of our plane.
We were travelling to the South Island of New Zealand for my best friends wedding. Sounds like a line from a movie – well it got better. The location of our friends’ wedding was in the small town of Wanaka – you may have heard of it because of the famous Wanaka Tree or the splendid lake that the town is situated around or the majestical mountains in the distance.
It was September when we visited and it was still cool and snow still graced the tops of mountains in the distance like a dusting of icing atop your favourite cake – the scenery just made you smile. After the wedding festivities, we ventured decided to spend our other 2 days exploring on our way to Queenstown. We had heard so many positive statements and stories of the South Island, yet, as the story goes – nothing is really as good as living it yourself.
Wanaka – Otago – Arrowtown
So, after the wedding was over we started the morning with a quick stroll through Wanaka, stopping for breakfast at Kai Whakapai Cafe for a much-needed re-fuelling. You can’t really leave Wanaka without seeing “That Wanaka Tree” and even though part of me felt that sorry for the tree, I could attest that the tree itself is situated in a pretty idyllic spot in Roys Bay. Be warned though, that there a quite a few “Instagrammers” needing to get their fix of the right shots of the tree also. We moved to Cardrona for another quick stretch of the legs – because our tummies were still full we didn’t stop to eat, although we did take a look inside the Cardrona Hotel and that would have been my pick for a great long lunch.
Moving on, we soon hit Arrowtown, a delightful historical gold mining town which is evident in the street shop facades. There is a quaint river – Arrow River – behind the main street which would be an ideal spot for playing and letting the kids run loose however we were back in the car and off towards Queenstown.
Queenstown is nestled in amoungst towering mountains that you can’t help but feel a cocoon-like safety and protection. It’s small enough to walk from one end to the other taking in the various aspect each side affords. It’s easy to see why families flock to this town – it’s an easy town for families to get around, to explore and most importantly feel included. Once we checked into our Airbnb, we ventured out straight away not wanting to miss a thing. The boardwalk along the Franklin Arm of Lake Wakatipu was the perfect way to set the scene. A glimpse of The Remarkables from this vantage will give you a certain perspective of their size and grandeur.
Because we knew we only had a few days in Queenstown we all felt eager and excited in equal measures. I remember sitting at a lakeside bar, enjoying an afternoon wine and tapas board mapping out our plan of adventure.
That evening we enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant before walking back to our accommodation.
The blue skies and shining sun greeting us the next day, so it was perfect for exploring. The evening before we planned out what we all thought was a good itinerary so set off.
Skyline Cable Car and Luge
With the snowcapped mountains beckoning us – it was hard to resist the pull of a chance to be carried away via cable car up to a scenic lookout where there is more fun to be had. Snap a picture fro the viewing deck, drop a dollar in to use the telescope and why not take in the view whilst you enjoy a coffee or even something more substantial? We arrived mid-morning and the crowds were already steady, however, not overwhelming. There is the option to add on a chairlift ride up further to then luge down, which was a blast! If your children love a bit of adventure (or if you are a child at heart) this is one activity that will certainly tap into all those child-like fantasies of go-carting down back streets as a kid.
Ferry + Walter Peak High Country Farm
Whilst the wind picked up, we really were keen to see as much as we could so we jumped on board the afternoon ferry that took us on Lake Wakatipu and dropped us off at the Walter Peak High Country Farm. I have not seen a farm more happily situated, perched on the edge of the river bank, mountains on either side and views of the river either way. We were treated to a shearing show (this was quite good even though I guess as Australian’s it’s not a novelty) and the children loved patting the animals and feeding the lambs. Our hosts provided a decadent afternoon tea and we were free to roam the beautiful gardens – or if your children are like mine, find the best tree to climb.
As the sun drifted lower behind the mountains we enjoyed our ferry ride back to Queenstown in the warmth and calm inside the cabin. Our faces told me that we’d had our fill – that today had been a day spent travelling well, travelling to immerse, see, experience and be together. It was a great feeling. Queenstown is a place I would like to visit again, to see more.
We were due to leave the following day, saddened by our quick journey coming to an end.
For more information about Queenstown,
Spread the love
Spread the love
Spread the love
Spread the love