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Trip Report A great week in Queenstown, New Zealand

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Apart from the dreadful debacle of the flight over (on other thread) we had a wonderful time in Queenstown. Although we sadly lost a day of skiing (with perfect weather to boot) we had a further 3 days of beautiful days up on the slopes.

The other guys in our group (there were 21 of us altogether) had spent the first day up at the Remarkables so my first day was at Coronet Peak. Just about everybody took lessons and I found the instructors to be very good.

Me, I'm a little scaredy cat and I knew I was going to have to 'let go' a bit with regards to this - I had another lesson on Day 2 at Coronet Peak but was still pretty slow, controlled and cautious (to quote my instructor) and really not getting anywhere fast. Though I did get down the green run here.

Day 3 we headed up to Cardrona where they have a couple of fabulous green runs. They were beautiful and once I understood that I was going to have to speed up a bit in order to refine the technique - well I was just on a roll. I couldn't believe how far I got! Absolutely loved those slopes at Cardrona!

I never got to the Remarkables but I was really, really happy with my skiing progress. I had about 3 tumbles but I managed to avoid hurting myself. Sadly, one of our group took a bad fall on day 1 and was out for the rest of the week with knee damage - not too sure what but she will have MRI's etc on her return to Australia. Overall, 20 out of the 21 had exceptional results and all were very happy.

So dining in Queenstown - what a choice!!!! We had booked 3 restaurants for all of us on the Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. So Monday saw us all at Once Upon a Time in India - Melnq8 - this WAS the old LIttle India. The previous owners have retired and his two nephews have taken over. I am not an Indian food fan so really think I shouldn't comment but they did a banquet for $35 per head which I thought was very reasonable and they certainly provided plenty of food. The new owners were very, very helpful and the service was good.

Wednesday night was Botswanna Butchery - we had one of the private rooms upstairs and it was beautifully fitted out. This meal actually wasn't as expensive as we'd anticipated and everyone was pleased with their meals - I had the slow roasted shoulder of lamb $74.95 (serves 2) and it was very tender and tasty. All sides were extra I had potatoe croquettes $7.50 and buttered spinach $9.00.

Friday night was Sombreros Mexican restaurant - again, I'm not a big fan of Mexican but I have to say that it was probably the nicest Mexican meal I have had and again everyone was happy with their meals.

Sunday night we dined at our hotel the Novotel Gardens and I have to say they accommodated us very well. The food was very good and the speed with which it was prepared was amazing - an unexpected party of 21 - they did a great job and the wait staff were great. I would have liked to have dined their again but ran out of time.

Tuesday night we dined at a French restaurant called Solera - it was very nice but I only order two entrees - Pate Maison and French Onion Soup - the others ordered steaks etc and they were all happy with their meals.

Thursday night we dined at Pier 19 and I had the best meal of the week there (IMHO) I had pumpkin gnocchi with pine nuts, red capsicum and ricotta. It was beautiful and I thought too the best service for the week from our waitress.

We had a beautiful breakfast on Friday and Saturday at Eichardts - I had blueberry and buttermilk pancakes served with maple grilled banana and vanilla and honey mascarpone ($16) - delish!!!!

We also had a beautiful breakfast at the Cafe Des Alpes - they serve excellent coffee too.

I really wanted to try Fergberger - but didn't get the chance but we drove past one afternoon and could not believe the queue waiting to be served. It must be good - definitely next time.

Queenstown would have to be one of the most cosmopolitan places on the planet! The level of service everywhere is outstanding and people are just very helpful. Our hotel was in an excellent location and within great walking distance of the main shopping area and restaurants/bars etc. I really loved the place and can't wait to go back and explore a bit more. All in all our group of 21 had an excellent week with minimum damage and maximum enjoyment.

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