The Quay at Queenstown
Didn't you know I've started doing catalogue modelling?
So we left Arrowtown the next day and drove the short distance to Queenstown. As it was lunchtime, we parked up at the holiday park and walked down the hill into town. The first thing I noticed was the huge number of outdoor clothing shops - literally every other shop sells coats, fleeces, ski jackets and boots, etc etc. Then there were shops that sold “bungee experiences” or “jet boating on the Shotover river”. The rest were café/bars and then a couple of travel agents. We had lunch; Paul bought a new coat, and I found one I loved (slight problem in that it was $900 (about £380). We spent quite a bit of time sorting out our trip to Fiji so didn’t get chance to see everything but the next day, we were a lot more leisurely in our perusal.
Queenstown is situated next to a huge lake and an old steamer ship goes up and down it - the day we were there, a couple had just got married and were having their reception on the boat. There’s also parasailing on the lake which looked good. The quayside has a few bars and shops (one being another
Patagonian chocolate shop although their hot chocolate’s aren’t as nice). There’s a small shopping centre also selling mostly clothes but also has a food court downstairs.
That evening, we went to Onsen Spa Baths, just outside of Queenstown and hired a candlelight, open-air spa. Sounds chilly but one side is a huge window that goes over your head so you can open it fully and it feels like you’re outside. It was fantastic as it over-looked a huge valley and you could see the river and silhouette of the mountains in the twilight. Just lovely and very relaxing.
The next day was when things turned out a little different to what I had expected. We left Queenstown and as we were driving along one of the roads outside of Queenstown, Paul pulled into a driveway of a large house called Remarkables Lodge. Unbeknownst to me, we were staying here for two nights. It was gorgeous - a lovely country lodge with open fires, sauna and spa, just 6 bedrooms , 5 course dinner, 3 course breakfast - you get the idea and set in the foothills of The Remarkables mountain range (www.remarkables.co.nz). There was only one other couple
staying there, for 2 nights like us so we virtually had the place to ourselves. After 4 months roughing it in a van, it was absolute heaven. We both dressed for dinner as it felt like a real occasion being surrounded by such luxury!
The next morning, we looked out the window to see the top of the mountains shrouded in mist but with the sun shining through. After breakfast, Paul said that we should have a walk round the garden and we ended up sitting on the bench in the sun. After a few minutes, I heard the sound of a helicopter, coming very close to us. I thought it was bringing some people to the lodge, as it landed just yards in front of us but Paul then told me that we were going up in it! I was gob smacked as I know he hates flying! Minutes later, I was strapped into the front seat next to the pilot and we were rising up and alongside the mountain range! After showing us a few sights, he then landed on a snowy ridge at the end of the mountain range where we got out. We walked over
to a rocky outcrop and Paul proposed to me! The whole thing was amazing and just thinking about it makes me grin like a Cheshire cat!
After a short while, we got back into the helicopter and the pilot dropped us off back at the lodge where all the staff asked how it went! (they were in on it). We had a magical 2 nights there and for a while, I forgot that I was a grubby traveller living in a van! Absolutely wonderful and I thank Paul so much for arranging it as it was such a fantastic surprise. (oh and in case you were wondering, I said yes without a moments hesitation)
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