Sunday, 25 September 2011

NZ Ski Trip

2002: I traded schoolies for the school ski trip. I loved every second. I vowed to go skiing every year.
2011: I finally made it back to the snow. I still can't believe it took 9 years. By this stage I was frightened that I'd built the awesomeness up in my head and that I'd be disappointed.

September 4th. off to the airport for a boring and uneventful flight to Queenstown. The view out the plane window on the approach to Queenstown was breathtaking, I couldn't believe NZ could fit so many mountains, they stretched as far as the eye could see. We arrived in the afternoon, checked into the hotel and wandered into town, which was a 25min walk each way along the lake shore. The town itself is pretty small and seemed to only contain restaurants and touristy shops. We had dinner at a lovely pub.

September 5th. Robert & I went out to breakfast at the pier, and had the nicest breakfast I've ever had. The mushrooms in creamy garlic sauce were the most delicious thing I've ever tasted, I seriously considered drinking the leftover sauce, despite it being a reasonably fancy restaurant. A happy medium was struck by dipping every single other thing on my plate into the sauce.

Lunch was Fergburger, which was as tasty as everyone said. Definitely worth a visit to anyone going to Queenstown. The rest of the day was spent in the hotel staring at the breathtaking view.

September 6th. Our first day of skiing. We headed up to Coronet Peak & Robert & I had a run down the beginner slope and it turned out to be just like riding a bike - I remembered almost everything and Robert was instantly awesome at it despite it being his first time (what a jerk). The subsequent lesson was a great refresher and we spent until about 2pm skiing, at which point my body hit its exhaustion limit. Back into town to pick up some booze and have a cruisy afternoon of relaxation.

September 7th. Muscle death. I hobbled about all day barely able to move. Excluding the few muscles strengthened by my last minute crash course of squats, crunches & push ups, every other muscle hurt more than I'd ever experienced. We still managed a walk into town.

September 8th. Went on the Lord of the Rings tour. It was awesome. Turns out no major scenes were filmed in/around Queenstown. First stop was looking across the river at the mountain used as Amon Hen (private property), then off to where Frodo & Sam saw the Oliphants. Then to where Faramir & rangers of Gondor escorted Frodo & Sam to the hideout behind the waterfall. We drove past Deer Height Park where they filmed the exodus of Edoras to Helm's Deep (also now private property). Then off to the pillars of the kings, then the river area where Isildur was ambushed. Finally we stopped next to a goregous lake where we got to admire the amazing limited edition collectors weapons. The guide was full of LOTR gossip and interesting facts. It was super nerdy.

September 9th. Finally back to Coronet Peak for more skiing. Another lesson and up the chair lifts to the more difficult green run. It hadn't snowed for a while so everything was super icy. In fact it was like trying to ice skate with skis, but it was still great fun. The last part of the lesson was spent crossing over into a blue run, which was exhilerating. Robert fell over but I didn't. Go me.

September 10th. It rained and the others didn't want to go skiing. Lazy day ensued. I was unimpressed, despite it being a sensible decision.

September 11th & 12th. Both skiing days, this time at the Remarkables, which was at least a billionty times better than Coronet Peak. The green runs were more interesting and the blue runs weren't as difficult as those at CP, and thus achievable by the 12th. Plus it snowed during the night on the 10th, so there was snow instead of ice. It also snowed during the night of the 11th. Skiing through a lot of powder is difficult, it caused a couple of stacks, but at least they didn't hurt. The 12th consisted of an all day snow storm. Visibility was non-existant, but it was the most fun day of all. It was also our final day of skiing. sad face.

The 12th we went to a restaurant called the Cow for dinner, which was an amazing woodfired pizza place. It was a little stone place that looked like it might originally have been a barn. The garlic bread was genius, and have since replicated it at home. Win.

September 13th. We took an all day bus tour out to Milford Sound, which was exactly as beautiful as everyone says it is. The scenery was just amazing. It even snowed just before we went through the tunnel which leads to Milford Sound, it was lovely soft snow, not crazy snow storm snow. The tour included a 2hr boat cruise around the sound, which was beautiful. It rained a bit which made everything so much more picturesque.

September 14th. I decided to try snowboarding, Robert thought this idea was made of fail. It probably was, especially considering how crap I was at it, and that he aggrevated an old injury and had to stop about an hour into the lesson. However, it mostly satisfied my curosity. Skiing is definately better, though I wouldn't mind trying snowboarding again next year. I fell over more times than I can even count to, and ended up so exhausted I almost cried, but I still had so much fun. I piked after the first lesson to keep Robert company, and even though it was the right thing to do I still wish I'd done the afternoon lesson too.

We went to a tappas place next to the lake for dinner and then went to a pub which sold cocktails in teapots. It was deliciously awesome.

September 15th. The worst day ever! It was time to come home, which was disappointing in itself, but I had been looking forward to going back to the place with the amazing mushroom sauce for breakfast, but allowed myself to be swayed to trying somewhere else. It was bloody awful. This was followed by a 6 hour wait at the airport. Boring!

However, crappy last day aside, it was a fantastic trip, and I can't wait to go back. Skiing at the Remarkables sounds like the perfect way to spent two of my annual leave weeks each year.

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