Last week Jake and I were away on a little impromptu trip to New Zealand. I was very excited to be heading to the cold again, but also felt a little over indulgent, as this was the second overseas adventure I had this year… and it’s only July!
That feeling was quickly sidelined, when I started to purchase new anorak coats, gloves, beanies and scarves. (I clearly needed them, and felt ripped off that I went on my last winter holiday when it was summer here – hence, no purchasing of new clothes for that trip – so I may have bought way too much, and packed double for this trip)
Our first impression when we arrived in Christchurch was, “Holy schmokes it’s cold”, our second was, “let’s go pick up the van and be on our way.”
As we set off for our scenic drive from Christchurch to Queenstown for a week in the snow fields, we were very excited. Driving through Christchurch was very sad; there were still buildings destroyed, chimneys collapsed, sections of the town cornered off for construction, and bumpy roads leading in every direction. It was very bittersweet to see so much damage, but also lovely to meet some very friendly people who loved the place, and were only just starting to rebuild their homes and lives in such a beautiful city.
The scenic drive was lovely. Along the way, we stopped in at Geraldine for some photos, a re-fuel and hot coffees, and before we knew it, we were pulled up at Lake Tekapo enjoying the picturesque landscape of a glacier lake with acid blue waters, and Snow Mountains peeking out from behind. The snow was so fresh. It looked like powder not just dusted over the mountains, but heavily plonked on top like a thick blanket. It had only snowed a few days prior to our arrival, so the snow was fresh and white without pigments of dark spots from dirt. My feet were freezing in the van, and my scarf was wrapped around my mitts the entire journey.
There were quaint little towns along the way; my favourite had three stores along the highway – a fuel station, café and a shop that stocked fresh sourdough loaves, homemade peanut butter, honey, gelato ice-cream and kitschy little home wares that wouldn’t all fit in my luggage.
Many Cookietime feasts, snow fights, loud music sing-a-longs and sleeping draped over each other moments later, and we were driving through the streets of Queenstown eagerly excited to pick up our snow hire for our first day on the slopes.
Our apartment in Queenstown was so schmick. A penthouse, hanging over the glacier lake, with boats passing by, and a scenic backdrop of the snow dusted mountains. We had heated tiles, a huge kitchen with an island bench, and so much space that I would have enjoyed my holiday enough just grazing all day and sipping coffee by the fire in the lounge room, beside the huge glass doors that opened up onto the balcony, with a marvellous view.
We did have to leave the comfort of the warmth daily though; as we ski booted up and pulled on our gloves and beanies to head up to Coronet Peak for our first day of snowboarding.
That first moment of clipping on my snowboard was quite scary. I stood up, without any practice and slid down the beginner’s slope ‘straight’, which basically means, flying down with no brakes. I will admit that I was pretty pathetic at snowboarding. I was so sore from falling over, and the palms of my hands caved in every time I lifted myself up, because they were so sore from hitting the snow. Jake on the other hand, was ace. He was flying down the big slopes after one day, and was ‘fanning’ and doing ‘snakes’ in no time. I stuck to the beginner slopes, going down slowly, and braking so much that my calves were in pain. I also became best friends with the cafeteria drinking hot cappuccino. It was lovely though; getting up daily as early as we could to drive up to the mountains (Coronet Peak and the Remarkables) glancing out of the window at the fog covered city of Queenstown as we slid on black ice and hung on for our lives.
The nights were my favourite part of Queenstown. Each night we went to a different pub or restaurant for a few drinks (sometimes more than a few) and a hearty meal with friends. We tried many of the beautiful pubs in town that served portobello mushrooms, gnocchi, sourdough bread, fried haloumi, grilled eggplant and ribs. We drank $5 drinks at Harry’s Pool Bar, and sunk many balls into the corners as we laughed the nights away, joining impromptu pub crawls, taking photos and sitting beside fires. Coffees were sipped in quaint café’s, handmade jewellery was bought, and cupcakes were consumed. We wandered around the Wharf listening to a beautiful busker playing his piano, (Katie and I were taken, and bought his cd after listening to him for many songs) and we enjoyed Starbucks moments and date nights to the movies. Queenstown was a delight, and I loved every moment of our 8 day stay.
Eating Fergburger’s daily with Katie and Kate, stopping in at lolly shops to try nougat, and having mulled wine in the afternoons; it was a lovely taste of New Zealand, leaving me wanting to go back for a longer stay.
I really enjoyed going on holidays with a bunch of people. You get to go out together and enjoy pub meals, games of pool and quick games of mini-golf with a belly full of laughs, and a surprising hole-in-one.
It was ace, and New Zealand is beautiful. Book a holiday there as soon as you can, and please, please, please stop in at Harry’s Pool Bar, Monty’s and Fergburger at least twice, bro.
*We did feel a ‘slight’ tremor on our last night stop-over in Christchurch. It was eerie, and not until we arrived back in Aus did we discover it was registered at 5.3 and was the biggest one since the devastating earthquake in February.
**I also am having withdrawals from no Cookietime.
***…and, mulled wine.
**** take me back to NZ, so I can see the snow again.