New Zealand. Without question one of the most beautiful places in the world – the scenery is surreal, seemingly untouched, and so picturesque it’s near impossible to take a bad shot. It’s a rolling, green, rocky haven I will always fondly call home.
The other month I took the short flight over into Queenstown with a bursting itinerary in hand. Usually all trips over the Tasman are to spend quality time with family. This time, as well as seeing family in the area (including my little sister whom I had been missing like crazy) I was going to be making the most of everything that Wanaka and Queenstown had to offer!
My first morning in Wanaka I woke early, the warmth from the central heating in my little room meaning I woke in a fuzzy haze. The layers were added and my sister was downstairs ready to head up the mountain to Cardrona – today we would be donning goggles and ski’s (for only the second time in my life) and I was as excited as kids get about Santa. Growing up in a tropical state, snow seems so incredibly magical to me (even the dirty brown stuff) and I was lucky enough to see it, with an extended snow season this year.
Cardrona Alpine Resort
Cardrona is only around a 30 minute drive from Wanaka, making it possible to go back as many times as you care to (and your body can handle – after my few runs I was exhausted and sweaty under my five layers, while my face and finger tips were frozen in the cool air).
Passing fields of deer, sheep and through towns so small they went by in a blink we arrived at the base of the mountain, with a 13km gravely climb ahead of us and just a tiny Toyota Yaris to get us there. Some celebratory ‘yahoos’ at the top, we climbed out of the car into strong winds that cut right through the layers we had on. We made a (cautious) dash for cover inside rentals and got ourselves fitted with all the gear we would need.
The views from up out on the snow stretched on for miles, the landscape rolling on and on, snow capped mountains as far as the eye could see. After riding the ‘Magic Carpet’ (learners slope) a couple of times to gain a little confidence, we were off to the chair lift and up to the top! The ride up was one of my favourite parts of the day, looking down seeing boarders and seasoned skiers jump, flip and plummet down to the bottom (a few tumbles from some here and there helping me feel a little at ease).
Having lived in NZ now for two years, my sister can ski without poles – I on the other hand, look about as relaxed on skis as giraffe on ice. But I’m happy to say that I made it down without one slip on my bum – ego still intact! Soon it was time to refuel so we went upstairs to Mezz Cafe – I settled down to a plate of rosti and poached eggs on gluten free toast with a hot chocolate (four marshmellows on the side – win!) while my sister picked the most divine plate of banana bread I’ve ever seen, stacked high and crowned with marscopone, berries and pistacios!
I can’t thank the staff at Cardrona enough for making my one day in the snow one to remember.