Monday, August 10, 2009

Queenstown 40th Getaway Weekend

Well better late than never... Hey, I finally managed to scrap 2 layouts from our weekend away in Queenstown for my 40th birthday. Just had a blast and found out that turning 40 wasn't that bad especially when you get extra sweets from flight attendants and your standard lake view booked room gets upgraded to a super luxurious corner suite. I did have to make a decision whether to stay with the lake view room or take the upgrade mountain view room. The concierge assured me that the mountain view suite was a much better room. Turned out that our upgrade room is twice as big with seperate lounge/dining room with flat screen tvs in lounge, bedroom & bathroom. I was so in awe of our new room that I totally missed the flowers, chilled bubbles and chocolates that my hubby had pre-arranged! Forgot to mention that we didn't check-in straight away upon arrival into Queenstown, we made a last minute decision to fly over to Milford Sounds in a small airplane. Totally amazing experience flying between snow capped mountains, though slightly scary with the numerous bumps, drops & sudden lifts. Brian was definetely more nervous flying in those tiny planes than I was, but we did it! The weather was sunnier and warmer on the west coast and we managed a nice 45 min stroll, it sure was a most incredible & magic place to visit. The flight back was a direct root to Queenstown and we finally checked in about 4.30pm into the Sofitel. Over a mulled wine we pre-arranged our next day and ordered our afternoon ski passes for Coronet Peak ski field. So we were free to explore the next morning and we headed to scenic Arrowtown only 15 minutes away. It was a stunning frosty morning and you really needed your hat & gloves to stay warm. We explored the main street and discovered vineyards to visit for later. Too early for lunch we headed for a drive to Crown Rd for the lookout overlooking the valley toward Queenstown with Coronet Peak and Remarkables ski fields opposite each other. Then drove back to Arrowtown for pies and mulled wine for lunch before hitting the slopes! No major queues on the lifts, though being a very nervous skier I needed a few easy runs before hitting the intermidiate runs. But we did finish with a run from the top chair all the way to the bottom without any major spills - yeah. Then thought to finish the afternoon with a drop of wine tasting at Lake Hayes vineyard where we met Brian the winemaker who's wife was also called Maureen (and also Asian) who's the cheesemaker. I know, totally unreal! Had this gorgeous cheeseboard with wine and planned to visit Maureen the next day at the Cheesary. Sunday was spend driving to Glenorchy then back to visit more vineyards and introducing ourselves to Maureen at the Gibson Valley Cheesary. Her husband hadn't pre-warned her we were coming, but she knew something was up when we called her by her firstname when she didn't know us from a bar of soap. Another scrumptious cheeseboard and off to the final vineyard before our hour long hot tub soak at Onsen spas. Yes the same spas as on "the Bachelor" and very relaxing. In fact too relaxing as the heat and combination of all that wine tasting, I was in need of some zzz's. We missed dinner and opted for takeouts instead. Monday morning approached very rapidly and we only had a very small window of opportunity to get in a bit of shopping before checking out. We reckoned we had enough time to take a drive up to the Remarkable ski field, very 'interesting' drive as it felt we up a mountain goat track at times. The drive was worth it and we were glad we did it as we now would like to go back for a family holiday with Colin too, but we'll have to stay in cheaper accomodation to be able to enjoy all the fun.

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