This blog is a little distraction from completing our 2010 canal trip, to showcase the South Island of New Zealand.
A couple of weeks ago we spent five days in Queenstown as Barry's niece was getting married. It was a rare opportunity for Barry and his siblings to get together, as well as other family members who hadn't seen each other for a while.
I booked the trip as soon as Emma and Mathu announced their wedding date, finding a bargain price of a flight from Auckland to Queenstown for 25% of the cost of flying from Gisborne. The problem with living in a city so remote from anywhere is that most of the flights are far more expensive than those from the major centres. We also booked accommodation early via the 'Holiday Homes' website that we also rent our house with, which was a 20 minute walk into town. This was fine going in, but coming home at night time after a few drinks in an Irish bar called Pog Mahone's (that we seemd to spend an inordinate amount of time in!) was a bit of a struggle as it was mostly uphill, but it was well worth it for the outstanding views ...
And a closer look from the balcony ...
It really is the most picturesque place
Looking down the Frankton Arm to Queenstown Bay
The majestic TSS Earnslaw, reported to be the only coal-fired passenger-carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere, which takes tourists out for trips daily
Spectacular scenery whichever way you turn ...
The very remarkable Remarkables!
Sandra and Ray all dressed up for the climate
Barry's sister Jenny, brother Ray, mum June, Sandra and Barry's brother Peter
A trip on 'The Million Dollar' cruise - Sandra and June checking out the houses at the end of the rainbow!
The beauty of going on the cheaper boat trip is that you get to see the more expensive one from a better angle!
Stunning setting - and below some of the million dollar residences ...
Lake Wakatipu is drained by the Kawarau River, which flows out from the Frankton Arm, 8 km east of Queenstown
"Ahoy" Captain Sandra - a little larger than Northern Pride - and June, the matriarch of the vessel
Fun with a spot of ice-skating - Sandra relives her childhood (though fortunately not the part at her friend's 12th birthday party where she fell over and someone skated over her fingers!!)
The sun sets on another perfect day in paradise
There's no photos of the wedding here as the bride hasn't yet seen them - Barry was the photographer of course! The ceremony was in the mountains with a backdrop of a ruined building and was a very personalised event. Around thirty five guests were taken there by a private bus, which subsequently took us all on a tour of a couple of wineries as the reception, one of which was based in an underground, man-made cave. A most unusual and enjoyable day until the end of the bus trip when Barry's sister Jenny tripped over some fallen slate as she walked back to the vehicle (yes, a little wine had been consumed!), and managed to cause a deep gash in her leg. I, being the nurse on the bus (!), gave her initial first aid and got the driver to take her to the Medical Centre in Queenstown where she had six stitches put in! Returning to Pog Mahone's for the remainder of the reception, I then found myself searching for Barry, who'd discovered that trying to catch up with everyone else's drinking after being the official photographer meant that he didn't eat too well and became rather unwell - so my night ended taking the injured Jenny and rather green looking Barry, home!!