It’s been a long 39 years since we toured the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Back in 1975 we were in our last year of High School and were part of a tour group of 30 people. Previously we had stayed in Queenstown and toured the Otago area in a coach. We vividly remember the rugged snow capped peaks and beautiful lakes and striking scenery.
Fast forward to July 2014. We flew from Sydney directly into Queenstown International Airport for a ten-day winter holiday. After picking up our 4WD hire car we drove in fading daylight over the snow covered Crown Range to the Wyndham resort in Wanaka.
At the resort the helpful, friendly staff greeted us warmly and made us feel very welcome. Our first couple of days were filled exploring the Wanaka township and lake area in our vehicle and on foot. We were keen to see the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and valleys from the air.
Following helpful advice from the staff at Wyndham Wanaka we chose a scenic flight to Mount Aspiring. This flight proved to be the highlight of our holiday. We were able to view glaciers, Mount Cook in the distance (NZ highest mountain), snowfields, majestic snow covered peaks that glistened in the winter sunlight as well as glacial feed rivers which found their way into Lake Wanaka and nearby Lake Hawea. It was simply magic!
We are not skiers or adventure buffs, but we still found plenty of things to see and do during our stay. We were even able to take in a local rugby match on a Saturday afternoon, which made us feel like one of the locals! A drive up the valley to Raspberry Creek provided us with picture postcard photo opportunities of glorious snow covered mountains and farm areas populated with sheep, cattle and deer.
We visited the Transport and Toy Museum at the Wanaka Airport, drove to Cromwell and walked around the historic precinct. We visited the nearby Cardrona Hotel and enjoyed watching it snow while we relished the warmth of an open fire inside the lounge area. We also made a trip to Arrowtown and visited the Jade Factory, which had been part of our tour in 1975. We had fun at ‘Have a Shot’ near the Wanaka Airport where we played mini golf (one of the best and most interesting courses we’ve played), and tested our skills at target and clay pigeon shooting.
It certainly won’t be 39 years until we visit New Zealand again. We are already planning a return trip to Wyndham Wanaka so we can participate in the exciting activities on offer in the warmer months.
Les & Deb,
WorldMarkSP Owners since 2013