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The holiday is a two night 'chill out' holiday without our beautiful children, Tom & Reilly...! We desperately hope Tom's chickenpox clears up completely (the worst is over) and Reilly's nose stops running! Ahhh, too late, we are taking off, looking down at Lyall Bay's Maranui surf club reading the papers and discussing what we are going to do. Oh what a wonderful feeling of freedom it is too!
We arrive after just an hour in the air, pick up the Apex car rental, 48 hours for just $112, very reasonable, and head straight to Vudu cafe for our first soy latte, definitely the best in town! We reflect back that the last time we were in Queenstown was on our 4 day honeymoon when we stayed at the amazing lodge at Blanket Bay five months previously.
Our friends at Peppers Beacon have given us a fantastic rate on a lake side suite with amazing views, it's self catering although we don't think we'll be using them and the homely gas fire is wonderful - we love an open fire, real or gas as they add so much to the character and ambience of the room.
After quickly unpacking (not much) we drive to Amisfield winery on the road to Cromwell for lunch...superb cuisine, we share parsnip and cured ham bruschetta, gravlax salmon and exquisite mousse for starters and for our main a delicious and originally presented pork belly with perfectly cooked crackling...all matched with their finest of Pinot Gris, Reisling and a 2008 and a superior 2007 Pinot noir - how jolly civilised we remark as we overlook the wonderful views of the surrounding mountains... World Travel with Bridge customers would impressed!
After a short nap by the fire (and goodness we deserve it!) we head off into Queenstown (only a 5 minute walk from Peppers) for our first night out. We are not in the mood for anything too fancy so we opt for 'Harry's Bar', some beers & cocktails and the best of 5 games of pool (if you want to know who won, email me or leave a comment!)
Next up is the Ballarat Trading Co. before another drink at the cocktail bar above the Bunker restaurant where we have a couple of tapas and decide to book a table for the following evening and enjoy the establishment properly!
By this stage it's past 11pm and lunch was a long time ago, where should we go? Ah...that's not a difficult decision as Queenstown's well known Fergburger is literally just round the corner. My cheese burger is superb and even Katie's chicken burger off the children's menu hits the spot perfectly and is just what we need before the sobering walk back along the Wakatipu lakeside to our hotel bed and lovely fresh sheets!
We hope the following day in Queenstown will be just as good!
After our morning 'coffee fix' at Cafe Vudu, we are all booked up and looking forward to our afternoon of quad biking adventure. But first we head out to the old gold digging town of Arrowtown, a short 25 minute drive away, for a relaxing stroll, some shopping (Christmas presents would you believe!) and of course one of the famous pies at the local bakery....yum! They are getting ready to celebrate the towns' anniversary of 150 years which will be discussed and written about in others articles on this site.
Before we know it we are back at Peppers waiting for our guide (Chris Hogan) from Nomad Safaris to pick us up for an afternoon of thrills and adventure quad biking in the hills surrounding Queenstown...Katie and I set off dressed up in Nomad's waterproof clothing and safety gear including helmet and boots, fortunately the rain holds off and I've remembered the camera! We are not disappointed, Chris is an excellent leader and even provides hot tea and cake half way round the circuit! I am glad Bridge & Wickers use Nomad as they really know their stuff and cater for people of all ages and desired speeds!
Chris drops us back at Peppers Beacon and we promise to look him up when we next go to Fiji (he is part owner in Blue Lagoon Resort in the Yasawa's).
After a long hot bath, a phone call to Grandma confirming all is well with Tom & Reilly, we are off again walking into town for our second and last night - determined to make the most of it!
Another quick game of pool before a well earned glass of bubbles at Eichardt's hotel (a great venue right on the waterfront) in front of their roaring open fire - lovely! Dinner has been booked at the Bunker Restaurant which has always been one of our favourites. Unfortunately, we are disappointed with the meal, things went wrong from start to finish from long waits in between courses to both our mains having to be sent back. Goodness knows what was going on in the kitchen. We are unsure if we will return, hopefully it was a 'one off' and they resume their place as one of Queenstown's top dining experiences.
We decide on a nightcap, Bar Muda, Bardeaux or Spire.... We opt for the latter, a cosy spot (roaring open fire) and friendly staff who reckon the establishment is 'more New York, than New Zealand' (I like that). We spend the next hour or so chatting to a couple from Western Australia over for a wedding and a local chap now living in Hong Kong who is happy to keep buying the drinks....and why not? Our flight back to from Queenstown to Wellington is not until 11 the next morning and darn it, we're still on our two day holiday!
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