Arriving in Australia from China on Christmas Eve we had a couple of days to catch up with our dear Mums and a few of our beloved family and friends before flying off to New Zealand to spend a bit of time together as a family.
Our flight took a couple of hours longer than planned as one of the Air Hostesses became ill and we had to do an emergency landing for her in Christchurch before continuing on to Queenstown. We arrived about 6pm, booked in to our accommodation and headed straight in to town to get some take away fish n chips. Eloise lit the fire as it was quite cold and we sat back and enjoyed the views from our apartment overlooking the crystal clear lake. The sun forgets to go down until about 10pm which is wonderful as it gives you more time to appreciate the breathtaking views.
DAY ONE - Day of Adventure
We set off to the Shotover River where we joined some other adventurous people to ride the jet boat through the Shotover Canyons. It was the most fun I have had for a long time and we were tempted to line up to do it all again but thought we better move on to our next activity.
It was then time to climb aboard the gondola to enjoy the spectacular views of Queenstown from above. We had tickets to ride the luge down a few times which was scaring the hell out of me as I was worried I was going to go too slow and hold everyone up but in the end I was getting frustrated with people slowing me down. I guess my adventurous streak was slowly coming out,
We needed our ticket to catch the gondola down at the end of the afternoon but Eloise had lost hers. Lucky she is only a tiny thing as we had to squeeze together and go through the turnstile together which was a laugh. She was a speed demon so I am thinking her ticket probably blew out of her pocket as she sped down the mountain on the luge. Leo paid out on Eloise all the way down on the gondola for loosing her ticket but he suddenly quietened down when we got to the car and he couldn't find the ticket to get us out of the car park.
Out for dinner tonight Leo and I shared a lamb tasting plate. I was thinking of having a lot of fresh seafood whilst in New Zealand but I really don't think I could go past the lamb after tasting it.
The boys then spotted the sign to the Casino so we had to check that out. It was the quaintest little casino I have ever been to. Leo had a quick win and Clancy had a quick loss at 3 card poker so after a wonderful day of adventure it was time to go home.
DAY TWO - More Adventure
A slow morning this morning before driving to Glenorchy. The views along the way were breathtaking, with the snow capped mountains and the crystal clear water we wondered why we hadn't visited New Zealand before.
We had lunch at the Glenorchy Pub, walked around the little town and before I knew it Leo had bought tickets for us to go on a helicopter flight. So, "go in a helicopter", was ticked off my bucket list today and it was absolutely incredible.
That night Eloise and I made a cheese platter and we sat back in our apartment and had a lovely relaxed dinner after another wonderful day of adventure.
DAY THREE - Gourmet Food Day
We drove to Arrowtown today, what a gorgeous little town.
Clancy was keen to find his fortune and try his hand at gold panning so he and Leo set off down the river while Eloise and I checked out the shops. I got some possum fur mittens but there was nothing for Eloise as everything was too warm and cosy for life in the Territory.
There were many wineries in this area and we stopped at a Cheesery for lunch, it was a little like I imagine heaven to be.
That night we boarded the TSS Earnslaw Steam boat for a 45 minute ride to Walter Peak which is a working farm. There we enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner with spectacular views back to Queenstown. After dinner we watched a shearing and working dog demonstration, with the top dog being called Leo.
We caught the steam boat back to Queenstown enjoying the sunset at 10pm and just to add a little adventure to our gourmet day we jumped aboard a water taxi with standing room only and got soaked as we sped home to our apartment.
DAY FOUR - A day on the road
It was raining today as we drove to Te Anau but so lovely seeing the paddocks peppered with sheep, cattle and deer.
We arrived in the early afternoon which gave us girls time for a rest while the boys went and checked out the Real Estate market and yarned to the locals.
That night we went out for dinner, the kids and I had the Patagonian Lamb BBQ, delicious and Leo had the groper fish.
DAY FIVE - True Tourists
Up bright and early and we were picked up at our Hotel by our guide, Terry in a mini bus and we set off with a small group of people for our day trip to Milford Sound. The scenery was spectacular and there were many stops along the way for photos and bush walks.
We were given a little packed lunch to enjoy on the 2 hour cruise of Milford Sound. Once again the scenery was breathtaking and Leo was busy making friends, this time with the deckie who ended up sitting with us and chatting away. It was all so lovely and relaxing and I started to struggle to keep my eyes open. Next thing I know I wake to everyone laughing at me, apparently I fell asleep while the deckie was mid sentence. It brought back memories of the time when I was a kid and we spent a week on our sail boat and I struggled to keep my eyes open the whole week, boats are just way too relaxing!
The bus trip home was a little quicker than on the way with a few less photo stops. It was tiring being a true tourist for a day but enjoyable. That night it was out for dinner for the Patagonian Lamb BBQ again, this time Leo having the venison and loving it.
DAY 6 - A Day on the Road
A seven hour drive today along beautiful lakes, past green paddocks and the ocean to Fox Glacier. We all enjoyed the drive and Leo loved being behind the wheel after not driving for months.
We arrived about 3pm and walked up to the Glacier.
Dinner tonight at the pub, once again we couldn't go past the lamb and Leo couldn't go past making a few new friends and winning $500 on the pokies, a great end to the last night of our hoiday.
DAY 7 - The Last Day
More spectacular scenery but like always on the last day of our holidays we weren't so chatty so it was a quiet drive back to Queenstown with our thoughts.
What a spectacular, beautiful country New Zealand is and we have only explored a bit so I hope we will be back.....
How lucky are Leo and I that our kids want to share our adventures with us....
And just like that the holiday is over.