- ( New Zealand )
High speed sky snowboarding at Wanaka
Cruise on Milford Sound
A day mountain lake picnic with
Alpine Chalet Whare Kea Lodge on Mount Aspiring
Southern New Zealand is a paradise for those who love adventure. It is an ideal destination for honeymooners too
Aptly named the Adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown is small in size but big on snow-ventures. This small but fabulous
ski resort town on New Zealand’s South Island offers some of the most exclusive romantic attractions and is home to some of
the world’s most distinguished super luxury lodges and retreats located in inspiring, breathtaking vistas.
From the air, furrowed mountain cliffs crowned with a sprinkling of early winter snow plunge down to still lakes. From my window on the Qantas Airways flight, the Southern Alps spread out a spectacle of glorious panoramas. The temperature on
ground was 1 degree Celsius….and I was obviously delighted!
In a day of well-stocked outdoor thrills with high-altitude colours, the Glacier Southern Lakes helicopter pilot lifted off into the not too distant mountains and the advancing snow blankets. Deep, vertical gorges and the Dart River showed up in sharp relief
on the deeply cleaved cliffs as we landed atop a snow-powdered plateau in a chilly wind that almost swept me off balance.
In the brilliant sunshine, I toasted with a flute of Champagne to the glory of the Southern Alps as we hopped down to the fairytale Blanket Bay embellished in brilliant bottle green landscape. A brief speedboat dash and a jaunty bus ride brought me to a breezy bushwalk in Paradise National Park that boasts towering peaks over the meandering Dart River.
Swaddled in a raincoat and perched right in front, the wild Dart River Jetboating Safari thrill saw me hurtle, sway, zoom, leapfrog and somersault 180 degrees along the Dart River’s rocky course. My urban inhibitions were ripped away with uproarious glee.
Later that chilly night, I checked out my swanky suite at The Spire in the town’s centre. Mel Bohse, the general manager of the much-awarded hotel welcomed me with Champagne. Strolling along the windswept promenade beyond Steamer Wharf and the
lakefront, I discovered the ethereal Lake Wakatipu, calm and serene. The changing mauve and lavender shades of a quickly darkening horizon created a mystical aura.
Blanket Bay Lodge is one of the finest of New Zealand’s super-luxury country boutique retreats created by the celebrated Levi Strauss. It boasts of superlative country suites and gorgeous fireplace alcoves, Cognac moments and tranquil lake views.
Further down the breezy, lakefringed country roads is another boutique landmark - The Matakauri Lodge and Organic Spa on Lake Wakatipu’s most picturesque stretch. If you are looking for total, tranquil and meditative calm undisturbed by tide and time and the marvellous theatre of natural vistas that offer ultimate bliss, this is the place to be in.
Matakauri Lodge has designer suites, exemplary fine dining and personalised courtesies as I discovered. On my heli-hop to Queenstown with the sleek Over- The-Top helicopter, we cruised up close to some of the most intimidating peaks in the Southern Alps.
Charles Fraser of Rural Discovery Tours chatted with me as we drove up into the gruff grassy hills and beyond Cardrona.
Charles educated me about the terrain and the farming trends of the land. It was an enjoyable 90- minute zip to the ethereal and unbelievably stunning Lake Wanaka. On its verdant shores, amidst lush sheep pastures and tall pines, the much-awarded Relais & Chateaux boutique country haven Whare Kea Lodge, a member of the prestigious boutique hotel association Relais & Chateaux, welcomed us to an unforgettable adventure.
Wanaka is Queenstown’s smaller and prettier neighbour with delightful walking trails, fairy tale scenery and unbelievably natural
panoramas. Alex, the spirited helicopter pilot of Mt Aspiring Helicopters, took off over the peaks and the shimmering lake to
fly me to the Whare Kea Chalet, which has been erected in steel and iron on a narrow plateau with gigantic, deep ravines and the imposing mountain rows of Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook, almost 9000 feet above sea level.
It was a light and enjoyable vegetarian lunch back at Whare Kea (pronounced far-eh-kee-ah) meaning House of the Kea in the
language of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori. Incidentally, the Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, lives all year round above the snowline in the surrounding mountains. Later, a right royal English dinner awaited me at Remarkables Lodge, where sumptuous four-course fare and grand Kiwi wines added verve to great fine dining.
One of the world’s most magnificent Alpine ski resorts, Queenstown is like a nubile virgin in her bejewelled finery. I raised my
goblet of the choicest Amisfield 2003 Pinot Noir to murmur, “You have seduced me forever…” Kia Ora, Aotearoa!
QUEENS TOWN AND WANAKA
The only convenient direct, nonstop connection to New Zealand via Sydney is Qantas Airways Mumbai- Sydney and Sydney-Auckland or Wellington sectors. Queenstown is well connected to all cities in New Zealand and by excellent roads to Wanaka and beyond.
Though Wanaka is a paradise for kayaking, wind surfing, snowboarding, parasailing, mountain biking and horse riding, it is also an ideal excellent romantic destination for young couples, young-at-heart and honeymooners.
Panoramic Queenstown and spectacular Wanaka offer unbeatable adventure and exclusive holiday choices this summer, a cool and welcome relief from the heat of Indian summer months!
Vegetarian cuisine can be easily requested at all these premium hotels, lodges and resorts, fine international cuisine is offered at all accommodation places.