This labor day long weekend, I traveled to Queenstown – New Zealand with my parents and friends. We flew via Qantas from Singapore to Melbourne, and then to Queenstown. Interestingly, despite booking through Qantas, out of the four flights (2 to New Zealand, and 2 back), only 1 is a Qantas flight – the other 3 were provided by Emirates and Jetstar. Apparently, they are in some form of alliance… Anyway, upon landing in Queenstown airport, I learnt that New Zealand has very strong “Biosecurity” laws, which means you can’t bring food (live or dead) into NZ. They even want to know how ones’ hiking gear, such as trekking shoes are cleaned.
To explore NZ, our group rented 2 Toyota Highlanders from Hertz, since my brother has some Gold membership with them. Its a powerful 4WD, and served its role well throughout my trip, bringing me down to the lakeside, and deep into the mountain treks.
The first thing I want to write about is our accommodation. The group of 8 of us stayed in a “luxury rental home” with 4 rooms! I think it cost about $800 a day, which averages to $100 per pax, which isn’t too bad. The house sits along a mountain side and oversee Queenstown city center as well as Lake Wakatipu. Every room has floor to ceiling glass panels with fantastic views of lake Wakatipu. So this is what greeted me every morning for the entire trip.
Apart from the views, the house has a fully equipped open concept kitchen, where we spend many nights gathering around for a ‘cookout’. Outside in the yard, there is also a electric grill, great for hassle free bbq – great for those beautifully marbled tenderloin and ripeyes that are quite affordable at the local supermarkets. There’s also a heated jacuzzi spa tub that comfortably fit four! Yup, that means beer and meat in a pool under the stars!