So ski season is coming up again down under and last season we had the pleasure of spending a wonderful week skiing in the south island of New Zealand sampling the pistes of the Queensland area. We stayed in Wanaka a truly beautiful and upmarket alpine style ski town set majestically on the shores of Lake Wanaka, the surrounding mountain ranges being the site of some of the scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies. This part of the world is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Eventhough the snow quality was pretty dismal (2014 was not a good season in New Zealand although New South Wales experienced an unexpected bonanza snowfall) the vacation goes down as one of the most relaxing holidays I have had thus far, I left feeling uplifted and exhilarated.
We stayed the week at Riverrun, a wonderful country lodge. We were hosted by the owner, Meg, an extremely hospitable New Zealander with an extensive knowledge of the area. It really felt like staying in someones friendly home (but in a good way) with comfortable and quiet personal quarters and the added benefit of some company in the evening from other guests and Meg.
We were the only guests on some of the nights but on other nights we were accompanied by other guests and enjoyed meeting and chatting with the different people over wine and canapés before dinner. We ate in the lodge at the communal dining table some nights but we also tried several of the various eateries Wanaka has to offer. We really enjoyed the evening drinks and the informal and convivial environment, which is something I wasn't sure I would enjoy because I'm actually relatively unsociable.
The lodge has a wooden hot tub in the garden overlooking the mountains. We used this everyday and always had it all to ourselves. We loved this feature, it was great for easing the muscles after skiing and was very romantic. The lodge offers breakfast which was very good and cooked to order, and some nights of the week there is a set meal offered. The hotel is located only 5 minutes drive from Wanaka centre where most of the restaurants and bars are located. For in-between meals there is a communal kitchen where you can help yourself to snacks, biscuits and hot and cold drinks.
It's a fabulous lodge and a great base to explore Wanaka, Mount Aspiring Park, and the wineries of Central Otago. I would definitely return for a repeat visit. there is still so much more to explore and experience in the area that we didn't get round to. The area is an adventure seekers playground, you name the extreme sport and I can pretty much guarantee they have it. Overall a fabulous week in glorious surroundings.