Queenstown, New Zealand family holiday

PERSONAL POST

Finally getting around to posting pics from our holiday in August last year (2012), which was 10 nights in stunning Queenstown.

Stu, the boys, my folks, my brother and I decided to go skiing. We booked about eight months in advance, at which time two of the boys immediately packed their bags with all their “necessities” for the holiday. Things like Beyblades, inflatable rockets, fifteen keyrings, nine old mobile phones and a rock collection.

From what I had seen and heard, I had high expectations of a great time and a gorgeous location, but it was above and beyond beautiful and exceeded all expectations.

I’m usually a tropical island, read a magazine around the pool, have an afternoon massage and a siesta kind of girl on holidays, but with three sons, their idea of fun has to be foremost in the vacation decision making process.  We wanted to visit a destination with lots to do, snow to play with (not something available in Perth!), not too far away and not too expensive (perfect timing thanks to our NZ $1.30 to the Aus $1) and Queenstown ticked all the boxes.
Our accommodation was fantastic in every way. We stayed in a 4 bedroom penthouse at The Glebe Apartments, which was very central to everything we needed. We could walk to the centre of town, the local supermarket, a pub right across the road, panoramic views to die for, fire place, under-floor heating, big comfy beds, loads of space, huge gourmet kitchen, spa bath , drying room for wet ski gear etc etc.

Highlights were: the luge, a flight to and cruise around Milford Sound, K-Jet boat ride around Lake Wakatipu, Shotover Jetboat ride, Skiing at Cardrona, Coronet Peak & The Remarkables.  Cardrona was by far our favourite place.  We’ll never forget how much fun we had there – and I feel it was the most friendly place for small children.

Anyhow, a lot of people commented on a few pics I placed on facebook, hence I have a tonne of photos below for anyone interested.

If you’re thinking of visiting Queenstown for a family holiday, I highly recommend it.

PLEASE NOTE: A bunch of these photos were taken by my husband and sons using point & shoot cameras!  Some are by me with my Canon 5dii and Fujifilm x100 – you will probably be able to tell which are which!;-)

 

 

The flight went really well and the boys handled it beautifully.  They each had ipad or ipods, although we managed to lose one before even leaving Perth airport!  Five year olds aren’t meant to have ipods!!!  Anyhow, that was the only thing that went wrong so we’re stoked.  There are 2 routes to Queenstown from Perth, either via Melbourne to Queenstown or from Perth to Auckland and then on to Queenstown.  We opted via Auckland as I was hoping the boys would get a decent sleep on that longer run.  It was OK, but the 4 hour wait in Auckland wasn’t pleasant after a night with no sleep, for me anyhow. I’d still probably go that way again if given the choice.

This first image was taken at the top of the luge and was my first attempt at using the stitching feature on my Fujifilm x100.  Not brilliant, but you can see how beautiful it is. Not really much snow to be seen though!

When we arrived at our accommodation, we were delighted!  It was just as beautiful as the pictures we saw online.  We were all over the moon. The cold fresh air was immediately revitalising and gave us an energy boost to find a good pub for lunch, (the perfect one was just over the road!).  We were able to walk to all facilities, apart from ski fields which required a bus ride of between 30 – 90 mins depending on which destination.  Just below Lucas is standing on our balcony pointing to the hill with the gondala and Luge at the top, which we also walked to a couple of times.    The temperature was cold, but not as cold as I’d imagined.  I’d say approx 10 degrees on average in the township.   There were fabulous restaurants and great coffee too.

 

Jacques is such a bookworm and sat on the comfy lounge in front of the fire chillaxing.  You can see below the stunning view from the apartment and also the sweet cupcakes, that were a gift from our hotel!  How extraordinary!  Such a nice touch we really appreciated looking at them….for 5 seconds before we wolfed em down! Hence a photo.

 

The pic below of the boys in the cafe is such a funny memory.  They quickly coloured in their placemats and held them up against the glass window indicating to passers by they needed to vote whose was the best.  So many obliging people pointed to one or the other which resulted in a raucous applause or boooooing inside at our booth.  Great way to kill time whilst waiting to fuel up for another big day.

 

I adore this moment below when my Dad got Lucas to pose for a photo in front of The Remarkables so he could get an “awesome” Blackberry shot!.  This comes days after him refusing to be in any photos I wanted to take!    A couple of rows down you can see the boys walking with their gloves dangling.  My Mum kindly made a string that is attached to both gloves and threads through the jacket sleeves, so that when they take them off, they just dangle and don’t end up getting lost!  GENIUS!  She grew up in Holland, so I think it was the done thing back in the day.    Note also the little Orange Caravan.  You can get crepes & coffee there.  The most spectacular views!

 

We did the KJet and also Shotover Jet.  I think the KJet was better value – you got a much longer ride, but the Shotover experience was well worth it, for the excitement of riding so fast and so close to the ravine.  Thrilling and all the boys loved both rides very much. The driver (or is it a pilot?) several times will lift his hand and with pointed finger, swivel it around indicating it’s time for a full-speed 360 degree turn.  You gotta hold on tight and check that your five year old hasn’t flown out!   That was freaking cold and I’d highly recommend wearing gloves if you’re in the winter season. The bar to hold onto is heated, I think but still.  At the end of the Kjet ride you can spend a few minutes looking at the fish underwater in a custom built viewing room (where you can also purchase photos taken by the KJet staff if desired).

We (all 8 of us) chartered a small plane with pilot for a flight to Milford Sound where we took a boat cruise, including lunch along the river before flying home again.  This was an absolute highlight.  I’m not at all a fan of little planes, and it was a little bumpy at the tops of the mountains, and I did kinda freak out a little and pretty much had to scull a few cheeky red wines on the cruise to muster up the courage to re-board for the trip home.  I wanted to take the bus back, but it was like 8 hours as opposed to everyone else who would be home in 45 mins.  Thankfully the ride home was a lot smoother, or maybe it was just the wine?  Whatever, it was a relief.  I must add though, that even through my white knuckled grip and tears of fear, I was in total awe of the beauty of it all and still managed to take quite a few photos, most of which by some miracle were in focus!  Can’t remember the price but was good value for a full day of breathtaking scenery we will never forget.  I think from memory, roughly $250 ea. Don’t quote me on this!  Also, the boat ride was worth doing but on ours the food was just horrid.  I don’t think I ate any of it (and really I’m not THAT fussy).  They should really lift their game there. It was an unnecessary splodge on an otherwise speccie day.
Oh yeah, that waterfall (sorry I cannot remember the name) is supposedly magical.  If the mist sprays onto your face, you won’t age for ten years or something ludicrous like that.  I hung my head over the railing of that boat until I was nearly drowned just to have a crack at it.   Mad if you don’t!
The photo of the dolphins below was taken by Lucas!  Awesome shot!
We decided to put the boys in half day ski school on ski days so they could have a lesson and then play in the afternoon with us.  This was a good idea for the younger two as they were pretty tired.  Jacques ended up doing full day snow-board lessons and on a couple of days was the only one so got one on one coaching!  He picked it up really quickly.  Oliver surprised us all with his courage to get on the small lifts and ski down by him self, over and over and over and over and Lucas was doing splendidly until he was shirt-fronted by a bigger kid and hit the deck.  He felt it was done on purpose and was really dark at that kid for days!  He told me the kid swerved at him and when I said I’m sure he didn’t he made my review the video I happened to be shooting of him at the time, and he was right!  It was a total injustice!  He has been known to hold a grudge or two.
You will notice my mum in the pink jacket in the middle above.  She blew us all away by skiing like a crazy woman, and I mean it when I say that as on our first day she lost control on an icy run and went crazy.  Apart from that, she did all of this the week before a total hip replacement.  When she was in pain, she’d say “I’ll just pop a couple of Advils and do another run!”  I suppose if anything went wrong, the logic was she was getting a new hip anyhow?  Total legend!  Much to Lucas’ disappointment though, the dodgy hip did prevent her riding the toboggan with him.  And when visiting his Oma in hospital in recovery straight after surgery, before the sleepy meds had worn off totally, he asked her if she was now fit to go toboganning!
What wonderful memories!  Next stop Whistler!

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