Frost and food in Arrowtown

Well, I”m back home safe and sound now in what feels like much, much warmer weather despite it still being the middle of winter.

There are definitely no frosty mornings to wake up to like we were experiencing this time last week.

DSCF2786DSCF2788Every morning the car froze over with ice that looked just like delicate snowflakes.

Before we could go anywhere though, we had to use credit cards to scrap the front windscreen in order to clear the ice enough to see. While this seemed like a novelty for the week we were away, I doubt it would feel like much fun if it was something I had to do every morning in the dark before driving to work!

There was one day in New Zealand where we ventured further out of Queenstown — a mere 15 to 20 minutes to the neighbouring town of Arrowtown.

Locations around this old gold mining town were used in the filming of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

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Arrowtown is just a tiny town with really only two main streets for visitors that are lined with stores, museums, cafes and restaurants. Crossing the road on the main street yields an impressive view of a mountain peaking out from the centre of the street, as if strategically placed.

DSCF2811 DSCF2813The weather was a chilly -2 degrees for our visit so our first stop was straight from the car to the nearby crêperie.

I highly recommend a visit to the Bonjour cafe and restaurant. The staff are all French and incredibly friendly and made delicious authentic French crêpes.

DSCF2792Afterwards we took a walk around town, exploring the shops and some of the outer residential streets, where we stumble upon two beautiful little churches.

Many photos of Arrowtown show this place in autumn when the trees are in stunning red and orange and the leaves fill the streets. For our visit the trees were bare in the middle of winter but still striking.DSCF2796 DSCF2808DSCF2805We ate lunch at the Arrowtown Bakery. This place was small but popular.

There was far more food choices than I expected from a bakery. In addition to doing the typical meat pies, this place offered more cafe style meals. I enjoyed a hearty homemade vegetable soup with garlic bread, which was perfect given the weather and Britt ate an impressively large chicken burrito, which (had we gone back) I would have definitely ordered next time.

Before leaving we made a quick visit to the river where there’s a beautiful path to walk along and admire the scenery. However, we were pretty keen to head home so we just marvelled at the huge chunks of ice that had formed in the stream as a result of the freezing weather and hopped in the car once Britt decided on an ice fight.

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Steamboat Journey

20150709_100428(0)Our second day in Queenstown was much less white than the first. Sadly all the snow in town had melted the day before, but the weather was still beautiful.

In the morning we hopped on board the TSS Earnslaw, a lovely vintage steamship, and took the most picturesque journey across Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to the Walter Peak High Country Farm.

It was freezing out on deck, so I kept alternating between inside and outside because I didn’t want to miss the view.

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We were all quite amused at the name on our tickets ‘Shauucross’… I guess ‘W’ can sometimes sound like ‘double U’?

When we reached the other port we enjoyed a little farm tour, watching some sheep sheering and feeding the red deer.

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We also enjoyed a pleasant little morning tea inside the farmhouse before boarding the boat to head back to town.

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In the evening we rode the gondola again up to the Stratosfare restaurant. Before dinner we watched a cultural Maori show, which included a Hakka performance.

It wasn’t until 8.30pm that we were seated for dinner and we were all starving! It was a good thing we had come to a buffet.

The Stratosfare is probably Queenstown’s most popular restaurant and it’s not hard to see why. The place is huge and the selection of food is phenomenal. There’s everything from cold meets and cheeses to vegetarian dishes and loads of roast meats. There dessert bar was also stacked impressively.

Riding the gondola at night was a little bit scary because there were no lights all the way up, but you do have a great view of Queenstown all lit up.

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Kia Ora from Queenstown

Arriving into Queenstown was like no plane landing i’ve ever been on. It was absolutely breathtaking flying over snow covered mountains, down onto a runway nestled in between towering mountains. We had to cross the tarmac to enter the airport, giving us our first feel of the freezing cold air outside.

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Within half an hour of arriving in Queenstown it started to gently snow, tiny bits at first and before we knew it it was a full snow shower as we drove from the airport to our little lodge.

The place we are staying is a cute little house that has a gorgeous view of Coronet Peak – the most popular skiing destination in Queenstown.

After being awake for more than 30 hours I slept like a baby for 12 hours, it was worth staying up so long just for the experience of such a great sleep.

I woke in the morning to mum getting us up to explore outside, as it had snowed all night. It looked beautiful outside, so picture perfect with everything covered in white. We had so much fun having snowball fights and making snow angels before we decided it was too cold.

On our first full day in Queenstown we ventured into town and enjoyed scones and coffees by the lake. The cafe was in a beautiful little spot in the park right by the lake and the views from the centre of town were just gorgeous. It’s crazy to think that some people see all of this as just normal.

DSCF2589DSCF2600 DSCF2597DSCF2594 DSCF2608After a little walk through town it was time to go luging.

The luge is a light toboggan that you ride down a road-like track. Generally one person rides in each luge, but you can partner up if you have small children. You use the handlebars at the front to control your speed and steer.

To get to the luge we had to ride the gondola up the side of the mountain. It was a very steep climb and i couldn’t believe how fast the gondola tackled it. All the way up you climb between pine trees and there are great views of the town as you go.

At the top the snow was deep in many places and heavy on the branches of the pine trees, making it feel like Canada at Christmas! (not that i’ve ever been).

We had to grab a helmet and queue to take a quick chairlift to the luge starting point. Once there they make sure you know how to turn and stop and then you’re let loose to race down the track.

The luge is speedy and there are a few sharp turns on the more intermediate course, which make it great fun but also slightly scary if you’re going full speed ahead! The cold whips at your face and even made my eyes water. I was freezing each time i hoped off at the end but it was definitely worth it. We had 3 luge rides, which i thought was just enough as there are two courses to experience and you do need to queue each time to go up the chairlifts again.

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All that adventuring during the day meant a nice quite night in. Perfect.