The first official two days
So. For all those following…
I was one of the travel consultants lucky enough to go on a famil to New Zealand. I left on Monday and am currently at the end of day two. Before I tell you too much more I feel like I should momentarily wax lyrical about Aotearoa.
This place and these people are something everyone should experience. I was lucky enough to be here in 2014 to see two amazing people get hitched and I’ve wanted to come back ever since. I saw Queenstown, Wellington and Whanganui and was absolutely blown away by this country. The scenery is spectacular and the list of things to do and places to see is endless. For such a small country you can do some amazing things.
This time around I am getting the chance to see things I didn’t know about and meet people who are passionate about New Zealand.
Day one was in Auckland and massive. We were treated to talks from the people who run Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia as well as many tourism experts and suppliers who gave us brilliant information on each area that the 400 agents from across Australia would be experiencing. My favourite part of the day was hearing from the inimitable John Anderson. The founder of Contiki. That man could have kept us captivated with his tales for hours. What a speaker. From £25 to an empire and he still remains humble. To speak to him afterwards and find him emotional that people appreciated his talk is proof that belief in what he created still keeps him going. I’m sure financially he’s quite comfortable but to hear him talk away from the spotlight he seems to find far more worth in the lives he’s touched than the dollars he’s made.
From coffee body scrub, to speaking like Gollum, to a cooking masterclass with chef Neil Brazier, the whole day was planned well and full of fantastic information. Even managed a wine tasting for afternoon tea!
Tuesday night was the big welcome party and what a venue! MOTAT (Museum of Transport & Technology) was very cool even for someone who knows nothing about planes and we were treated to a performance from Stan Walker.
Day two has been another big one. We were up before the sun to catch a flight from Auckland to Queenstown but circumstances arose that we missed our plane. On the plus side, we had some free time in Auckland until the next flight so we were able to visit the winery Villa Maria and taste. Turns out that the perfect temperature for white wine is actually about 12 degrees. Who’d have thought?
On arriving to Queenstown we collected the campervans from Maui and Britz and we were off to see the ridiculously stunning Millbrook Estate. Just a casually sprawling property with a couple of golf courses not far out of Queenstown. From there to Highlands Motorsport Park. This is a freaking cool little establishment. Don’t be put off if you’re not into cars, there is heaps for the whole family to do and you could easily spend an entire day out there. We are hoping to get back there tomorrow for a better look (thanks to the late flight we weren’t able to get here during business hours).
From there we headed to our final destination for the night. Oliver’s Central Otago in Clyde. I am going to have to edit this post when I am back home with photos. This place is heaven. Beer brewed locally, wines from the region, and food to die for. Then there’s the accommodation. Stonework, timber, modern facilities but a lodge feel.
For now, I am signing off. Tomorrow we are cycling the rail trail and it’s already midnight so I need sleep at some point.