After very many hours on the road from Christchurch, we arrived in Queenstown just after 9pm. There, we opted to save NZD10 by parking our hire car on the road across from where we were staying – the Millennium Hotel. According to the hotel’s brochure, the hotel, part of Millennium Hotels and Resorts, was so named because it was the last place on earth in the new millennium to witness the Venus transit of 1874 and the site it sits on has a plate that commemorates the occasion. Being an astrology buff, a body of knowledge once married to astronomy, the study of the night skies, I was absolutely chuffed at the tidbit but forgot it once I looked outside my window the next morning and saw snow-capped mountains.
View of the Southern Alps from one of the windows in the Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Internal courtyard of the Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Being utterly gluttonous, I soon forgot that too when I reached the breakfast buffet a couple of floors down. The Millennium Hotel’s buffet breakfast was everything you’d expect from an establishment of its calibre; there was a good selection of warm savoury dishes, cereals and beverages to satisfy even the fussiest of palates. With crazy hair from the night before, His Royal Highness, Amanda and I were soon fuelling up for the day’s activities ahead.
Notice my crazy hair? We failed to locate the hairbrush tucked away in our suitcase. Me at breakfast, Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Amanda at breakfast, Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.
That breakfast would easily cost you NZD15 at a cafe outside. It is dollar-for-dollar what it is in Australia. Here’s a close up of my breakfast at the Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.
All good hotels have an open fire in either the lobby or like here, the restaurant, to add to the alpine atmosphere. Here am I warming my hands by the fire at the Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.
As I was inadequately dressed for a romp outside, I was shivering on the Millennium Hotel’s balcony when we took this photo.
After checking out from the hotel, we set off to explore Queenstown on foot. Turning down a steep side street from our hotel, we came to the banks of Lake Wakatipu, where we happened upon a 3-hour walking track. Since we were still recovering from the long drive down the day before, we went 20 minutes of the way before turning back towards town.
Before setting off for Lake Wakatipu: HRH and Amanda outside the Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of Adelaide street from the bottom in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of beautiful Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand. Southern Alps in the distance.
The water was crystal clear and the sun was shining. What more could I ask for? A picture of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand.
HRH took this picture of me with my back to a ice-covered park in Queenstown, New Zealand.
“What?” said Amanda, doing her current favourite pose by Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Another picture of beautiful Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of a house by Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand. Perhaps feeling a tad melancholic with my 34th birthday upon me, I was captivated by the dead vines clinging to the building. It spoke to me about the changing seasons of life and how fleeting everything we experience really is.
A picture of HRH and Amanda at the start of a walk around Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand. We completed 20 minutes of it before backtracking.
A picture of me at the beginning of the Frankton walkway, a walk which runs the rim of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of HRH and Amanda throwing rocks into Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand.
My good friend Tania said I had to go for a cruise around Lake Wakatipu in the TS Earnslaw while in Queenstown. Unfortunately the ship was undergoing major refurbishment while we were there.
See that table and chair there? How I wish this was my writing desk!
A picture of HRH on the plot of land he plans to buy in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of HRH and Amanda walking towards town in Queenstown, New Zealand. As the official photographer of the trip, I was trailing behind them.
A picture of Amanda and I with the “Adelaide St” sign on our way to town in Queenstown, New Zealand.
I noticed that most of the side streets running off the main arterial road, Frankton Road, were named after capital cities around Australia. In the spirit of reciprocity, I reckon that they should rename one of the major streets in either Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide after Queenstown. After all, borrowing from Australian soap Home and Away, “everyone needs good neighbours”, or don’t they?
A picture of HRH pointing to the “Adelaide Street” sign outside our next hotel, Copthorne in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of HRH and Amanda outside a Korean Church in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of the Queenstown Wharf taken from Frankton Road.
Here’s Amanda with another of her poses in Queenstown town centre during midday.
Because we needed money to spend, our first stop in town was the ASB Bank. As part of the Commonwealth Bank, which I bank with in Australia, ASB Bank charged me only NZD1 to make a withdrawal from their ATM. His Royal Highness went into the bank to sort out trailing fees on an account he opened while we were living in Wanganui, in New Zealand’s North Island 8 years ago.
A picture of HRH in ASB BAnk, Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of Amanda and I cam-whoring in the ASB Bank while waiting for HRH. We had to find a way to while away the time.
There were no queues, no tellers, no lines of any sort to speak of. Just free coffee or tea from a state of the art beverage dispensing machine for customers in one corner and kiosks to check one’s accounts from. I wished my bank in Brisbane was like that.
A picture of HRH using a Fast Net kiosk to check his account at ASB Bank in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Now this is what I call “taking care of the customer.” A picture of Amanda waiting for her FREE hot chocolate from a machine in ASB Bank, Queenstown, New Zealand.
The stone and wooden buildings made me feel like I was Heidi in that childhood tale about a girl who goes to live with her grandfather up in the Swiss Alps. Here’s a picture of a typical shop in Queenstown city centre.
A picture of me with a gigantic emu sculpture in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Shops say “duty free” but still charge GST. Go figure. A picture of Amanda with a giant Kiwi outside a gift shop in Queenstown, New Zealand.
I was on the lookout for Jade earrings. Instead here I am with sheep skin booties for my next child in Queenstown, New Zealand.
So, so vain. A picture of Amanda wearing the new “sheep” necklace HRH bought her in Queenstown, New Zealand.
You can see where Amanda gets her vanity from. A picture of me wearing the new earrings HRH bought me in Queenstown, New Zealand. I was studying the menu at a Korean restaurant we were at.
Next I paid NZD26 for the three of us to have lunch at a Korean Restaurant in the middle of town. By far, it was the worst Korean meal I have ever had. My “stew” was little more than the water the offal floating inside was boiled in with some spring onions thrown on top for good measure. I had to add plenty of salt and pepper to give the dish some taste.
A picture of HRH at lunch in a Korean restaurant in Queenstown, New Zealand.
After lunch we wandered down the street where we came across a self-serve wine bar. The whole idea is that you put money into a card and use that to buy drinks from any of the machines in store. You can even have your drinks served at any of the partner restaurants in the area.
A picture of a board outside the wine-bar we entered in Queenstown, explaining how the system works.
A picture of Amanda and I at a SELF-SERVE wine bar in Queenstown, New Zealand.
They even had GRANGE at NZD850 a bottle. A picture of a selection of wines at a SELF-SERVE wine-bar in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of Amanda and I in the Queenstown mall. It was beginning to get very cold.
Don’t ask me who Joe is as I have no idea. A picture of Amanda outside his garage in Queenstown, New Zealand.
If you are prepared to pay NZD20 for an adult and NZD10 for a child, you can experience what it’s like to be totally surrounded by ice in one of the few ice bars around Queenstown. With everything from furniture to the glasses drinks are served from made out of ice, it is a one of a kind experience. The cover charge includes the use of a thick parka while inside.
You could go in to experience the ambience for NZD20 an adult or NZD10 a child. A picture of HRH and Amanda outside one of a couple of ICE BARS in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of Amanda outside St James Apartments in Queenstown, New Zealand. As you can see, even the DRAINS are beautiful in Queenstown.
Tired from a day of roaming the town, we returned to our new hotel, Copthorne, situated on the Lake front. His Royal Highness paid NZD219 for two nights through www.wotif.com With only 4 stars, it was half a star less than the Millennium we had stayed in the night before. To my dismay, I discovered that this meant it was twice as cold inside the building. We did however, have a gorgeous view of Lake Wakatipu.
A picture of our room at the Copthorne Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of the view from our room at Copthorne Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of the courtyard at the Copthorne Hotel in Queenstown, New Zealand.
We opted to dine in the hotel’s restaurant that evening. Feeling in need of a hearty warm meal, His Royal Highness and I had a plate of lamb stew stew with couscous each and a serve of stir-fried greens to share. The bill came to NZD68.
Reflecting the influx in Chinese tourists, the welcome sign has words in Mandarin.
Old world charm of the Copthorne Hotel. A picture of a chandelier in the restaurant at the Copthorne Hotel, Queenstown, New Zeal
A picture of a single serve of lamb stew at the restaurant in the Copthorne Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.
A picture of a single serve of stir-fried greens at the Copthorne Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand.