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Journeys : MNJ Aug Sep 2011
Opposite: Lake Wakatipu from Bennetts Bluff; snowboarding; bungee; trail riding at Glenorchy. This page: Snow-covered Queenstown; TSS Earnslaw; Shotover River. Photos Destination Queenstown Destinations Ribbed w ith ice and rock, the steep black and white face of a mountain range sweeps up into a piercingly-blue sky. Boats carve arrowhead wakes on a wide lake, ruffled by breeze and spangled with winter sunshine. The headwaters disappear in a distant fold of snow-capped peaks, where glaciers grind down into the valley. On the lake shore are the gleaming white towers of a bold and beautiful city. This is not a landscape in Middle Earth – it’s Queenstown, in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. But thanks to a tr io of movie blockbusters, the superlative scener y of the South Island will always be inseparable from the fantasy world of an Oxford professor, now deceased, but living in more imaginations than ever before. Tolkien’s hero Bilbo Baggins described the elven dwelling of Rivendell as “perfect ... whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or stor y-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.” Add a good dose of action and excitement and you could say much the same about Queenstown, although with its busy hotels, funky restaurants, late-night bars and pumping dance clubs, as well as an astonishing array of the most extreme adventure sport experiences available any where, Queenstown is more like Rivendell on ecstasy. In every season of the year, the joint is jumping – but winter and springtime are among the busiest and brightest times to be there. Not far away from the centre of town, the powder is deep on Coronet Peak and Treble Cone; they’re carving huge tur ns in Cardrona’s awesome snowboard park; the pubs and eating houses are buzzing; and to cap it all off, through September and October, Queenstow n is joining the REAL New Zealand Festival as part of the 2011 Rugby World Cup celebrations – check the Matches Made In Heaven panel on this page. Bungy after breakfast, luge after lunch, an after noon ski before afternoon tea, dancing after dinner – this can be a challenging place to relax! So if your energy is flagging at the end of a full-tilt Queenstown winter’s day, you might feel like starting the next in an armchair beside a crackling log fire in a cosy lakeside cottage – choose a chunky volume by John le Carré or a slim one by Robert Frost, come in from the cold and watch the woods fill up w ith snow. Matches Made In Heaven It’s all happening in Queenstown right through Rugby World Cup 2011 18 September The Classic All Blacks take on the French Classics at the Queenstown Recreation Ground. Famous Kiwi rugby stars like Christian Cullen and Andrew Mehrtens line up against some of the French players from the team that beat the All Blacks at Twickenham in 1999. 7-8 and 14-15 October Taste Queenstown presents an inspirational and cultural feast of flavours around the Queenstown region through range of events, special menus, art tours and exhibitions run by local cafes, restaurants, producers, winemakers and art galleries. 20-24 October The Queenstown Jazz Festival is a five-day feast of local and international music – cool blues and big band swing to funky R&B and Latin beats, there will be something to get ever yone’s toes tapping over the five days leading up to the Rugby World Cup final on 24 October. For more information on Queenstown, visit www.queenstown-nz.co.nz To plan your New Zealand holiday, call RACT Travelworld on 1300 368 111 or visit your local branch. August / September 2011 17
Jun Jul 2011
Oct Nov 2011