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Published: August 24th 2009
Whilst Steve and Hannah were with us with did a bit of a road trip to see the main South Island sights (see separate blogs) and we also spent some time in and around Queenstown sampling the toursit activities on offer here.
As Steve and Hannah were keen to hit the slopes we spent 4 days on the snow. Day one saw us heading back up to Cardrona, as we had liked it so much when we went on the way up to Christchurch. The day started well as we drove through a heavy layer of cloud half way up the mountain to reach the glorious sunshine blessing the ski field with what should be a great day. We got some good runs in during the morning but things all went a bit wrong just before lunchtime when Steve got a bit overambitious with a jump and landed heavily on his shoulder/face. One skidoo ride to the medical centre later and his day was pronounced over with concussion and some potential ligament damage to his shoulder.
The boys had been planning to skydive/bungy the next day but we put that on hold until later in the fortnight and decided
to have a couple of low activity days instead so the next day we nominated our designated driver and set off to sample some of the wine produced in the vineyards around Queenstown. This is the most southerly point in the world where wine is produced so they have to focus on a few grapes that deal best with the colder climate, notably the pinot and chardonnay grapes. Most vineyards here allow you to turn up without an appointment and sample their wines for free or for just a few dollars. We went to two vineyards, Chard Farm and Peregrine, and sampled about 15 wines over the two vineyards, opting to purchase a Pinot Gris (grigio in Europe) from Chard Farm and a dry Riesling from Peregrine.
The following day we finally used our 2 for 1 tickets on the Shotover Jet. Jet boats were invented in New Zealand to enable boats to drive at high speed in shallow water. We had a thrilling half hour ride up and down the Shotover River canyons getting VERY close to the rockface at the canyon edge and doing several 360 degree fast rotations of the boat mid-stream. It was a fun
experience and we didn't get as wet as we thought we would.
Following our trip to Milford Sound (see separate blog) we returned to the slopes at our local, Coronet Peak. As Steve's shoulder was painful and boarding would be a bit of an issue as you have to push yourself up from the slope when strapping in your bindings every time you get off a lift we decided to all spend the day on skis. Both Joe and I have skiied before, albeit many years ago now so it was an interesting experience being back on the skis. We both found it a bit strange to be rubbish on the slopes again, but we must admit it was easier to negotiate lift dismounts and flat bits on the skis. It was good for a day but we both much prefer boarding! Thankfully, two days later (after the skydive day - also in a separate blog), we were back on familiar territory on the boards.
We dropped Steve and Hannah back at the airport this morning, it was great having some friends around having been away for 3 months now and we were sad to wave them off.
Now it's back to just the two of us again and we are looking forward to our last couple of weeks in NZ. The snow has been a bit rubbish for the last week or so as NZ is experiencing a fake spring, but we are forecast more snow from tomorrow so hopefully we'll get a few more good powder days before we have to say a sad farewell to this place.
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