I don’t remember when my obsession with visiting New Zealand’s south island began, but I do know that it took hold very quickly. To be honest we can probably blame instagram and the multitude of amazing photographers that are drawn there. It’s impossible not to double tap constantly when your feed is full of snow capped mountains and ridiculously blue lakes.
It’s also the next, or previous, stop for so many travellers in Cairns and I can reel off a whole list of friends who either lived in Queenstown or have moved there. All I was told was “oh you’ll just love it, it’s so beautiful”.
After a good few years of hype, this little mountain town had a lot to live up to.
One of the highlights of any trip to Queenstown, or so I’m told, is flying into or out of the airport. It’s consistently ranked as the number one place to touch down because of it’s location, nestled amongst a bevy of beautiful mountains. Save your money on a scenic flight everyone said and just nab yourself a window seat.
Unfortunately the weather doesn’t always play ball and our entire flight from Auckland had a view of thick white cloud with not even a hint of the peaks that lay beneath. As the plane descended I strained my eyes to get my first glimpse of the Remarkables, but to no avail.
Then all of a sudden the cloud gave way, and my mouth dropped open.
^^^Crappy iPhone picture, but you get the gist
Even with thousands of feet of cloud hanging over it lake Wakatipu was still gleaming blue and although we were just below the mountains either side of us the water seemed terrifyingly far away. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
Of course Mikey was looking at me like I was a crazy person (much like how I looked at him the first time he saw squirrel IRL.) forgetting that this was the first time I’d ever actually seen proper mountains. That’s all it took, those first few minutes, for me to fall utterly in love with Queenstown.
The day had started grey and sleety but after a brunch catch up with old friends the clouds started to clear. We rode the skyline up to Bob’s peak and I continued to rub my eyes in a cartoon fashion, unable to believe the view from the top.
^^^Don’t look down
Plus the skyline bar served mulled wine, pretty much my favourite drink ever, but not something you often brew when you live in Australia’s tropical north. I was in heaven.
Our first day in Queenstown is probably one of my highlights from our trip last year. I loved the quirky bars serving craft ale, the fact that I’d forget about the mountains until we stepped outside again, getting to wear a bobble hat (the only kind that fits my massive head). It was also great to catch up with old friends and I won’t lie – we didn’t get to bed until 4am. There was just a bit of fairy dust sprinkled that day and I wouldn’t change a thing, except perhaps stepping in a bubble and getting a soggy foot.
It was official, I was in love with the South Island (although my love for the north still runs strong!). So much so that I’ve been a little mopey and heartbroken since we left and gradually making cunning plans to move there… Will it happen? Watch this space, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my instagram suddenly heavily features glacier lakes and snow.