:: adventure :: New Zealand part 2 :: Queenstown

As I’m inching towards the edge of the 154ft precipice, my ankles tightly bound, my mind is blank with fear & excitement. I no longer remember my mantra “It’s better to look back on life and say: “I can’t believe I did that”, than to look back and say: “I wish I did that.”  I focus on the quick hammering of the heart in my chest, the wind whipping around my face and the stranger’s hand gripping my arm.

I am bungy jumping.

I stick to the pact my husband & I make; “three, two, one” then jump! I see him standing far below, already having taken the soaring plunge himself and waiting for me to join him. I don’t realise it but I scream during the three second free-fall before my scream turns to joyous whoops. The multiple bounce-backs are an amazing, indescribable feeling. I am chained to a life-saving rope, yet I’m free. Then it’s over and I am pulled into the landing boat and taken ashore to climb the 150+ stairs, my legs like jelly from the adrenaline.


 I’m bungy jumping!!! @ AJ Hackett, Queenstown

  Me from the viewing monitors   The view from the Observation Deck; Jay jumping

                                                          Jay jumping!

*****

Queenstown is a place of staggering beauty. Officially the adventure capital of the South Island it has so much to offer.

For 5 days and 4 nights we explore the delights of Queenstown. Apart from bungy jumping we celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with a ride up the Skyline mountain gondola, a wander & wine tasting at Gibbston Valley Winery and soak in the most luxurious bathing experience at Onsen Hot Pools.

We eat at some amazing restaurants. We revisit Fergburger twice to ensure our fill of NZ’s best burger (it’s pretty damn good!). We eat tender and gamey venison, fresh crayfish, oversized oysters and creamy local cheese.



Fergburger (#drool)

We laugh and scream our lungs raw on the Shotover Jet and walk around the immense Queenstown foreshore.

 Freezing our butts off on the Shotover Jet

********

Our hotel is bliss; part of the Accor Group of hotels, Hotel St Moritiz M Gallery is 5 star luxury.

    

Our room is gorgeous with an incredible view out over Lake Wakatipu. I wrote a review on TripAdvisor which you can find here.

*******


 Onsen Hot Pools   Lunch & tastings at Gibbston Valley Winery

 Steak & seafood at Captain’s Restaurant
 Dinner in The Library at our Hotel St Moritiz 

  More pics from Hotel St Moritiz
 Birdseye view over Queenstown from The Skyline.

*****

A rainy day leads us 2 hours south of the township to the very end of Lake Wakatipu, through Arrowtown, to the remote picturesque shores of Glenorchy and Kinloch.

  Roads like this are meant to be travelled.

 Cabin lakeside

The wildness of this region is consuming; we barely see another soul the further we travel out of Queenstown. The beauty of the mountains and the vastness of the lake merge into one beautiful foggy landscape as the rain settles in and the clouds loom low so even the tops of the mountains can’t be seen.

The townships of Glenorchy and Kinloch are merely a suggestion to gather people close by. Farms are sprawling and teaming with flocks of woolly sheep, lambs fresh from the newness of Spring, herds of blackJersey  cows and studs of horses wander the lush countryside and rocky shoreline.

   
 I manoeuvred myself around a large cow to take this picture! I also managed not to step in any cow paddies!

*****

The sheer beauty and heart pounding adrenaline inspired by Queenstown stays with you long after you leave her stunning shores.

[Read Part 1]

(Note I’ve tagged most of my photos with my Instagram handle @thisismelly…all photos my own)

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green acres, kangaroo valley

last winter, we had the pleasure of staying at Green Acres homestead in Kangaroo Valley in the NSW Southern Highlands.

our little getaway group consisted of our friends King & Pete, who researched and discovered this little holiday gem, Misch our lovely, rambunctious Georgian, Skelly our passionate little pocket rocket, my bearded hubby Jay, our furry loud cavoodle Harley and I.

the drive from Sydney to Kangaroo Valley is simply stunning. as soon as you make it down the winding valley, the lush green valley floor opens up into kilometres of green fields spotted with grazing cows. there are crystal rivers to cross and an abundance of wildlife to spot amongst the trees (this is the place where you will see koalas in the trees!).

Green Acres can be booked through Stayz.com.au or directly from their website. The amount you pay depends on how many people are staying; the place sleeps 8. We used all four rooms for the 6 of us. It has a fully equipped kitchen (coffee machine, toaster, baking pans, wine glasses, etc), a spa bath, a BBQ, swimming pool, stereo with speakers throughout the house & outside, indoor fireplace, lots of couch seating, heaters in the bedrooms & all linen.

While you should probably bring all your groceries from the city (variety is bigger & price is cheaper), the property is about 10 minutes out of the village of Kangaroo Valley, so it’s close to amenities should you forget anything.

  Kitchen

 Lounge/dining   Lounge/dining

 Dining table   Bathroom with spa overlooking the backyard

 Fireplace, TV, stereo  One of the bedrooms

*****

there is an abundance of art on the walls, all eclectic pieces that are unmatching and each tell a seperate but beautiful story. I always think that artwork tells you about its owner. This art is a little left of field, quirky and tends to insight the imagination to sexy stories of Africa. They seem well traveled. (There is a mural of a hot naked man in the bathroom which is a nice touch!)

  Artwork

 Greenacres at night

  Woodpile in the backyard

 Our dog Harley exploring

 Friendly horse on the property

*****

We arrived Friday afternoon and left on Sunday, spending the time cooking, drinking vino, talking, dancing, laughing and stargazing.

There were some beautiful little touches left for us; fresh eggs from the nearby neighbours, a bottle of local wine & detailed instructions on how everything worked.

We loved how secluded this place was, we didn’t feel like we needed to keep the noise down, and being pet-friendly meant we could include our little furry guy Harley.

I love this place and I can’t wait to go back!!!

flashback friday | Füssen, Germany

I had almost forgotten about this place until I stumbled across
the photos on my laptop.
Ten seconds later I was right back there,
in the most picturesque little town,
like something out of a Bavarian fairytale,
at the foothill of Neuschwanstein Castle.

Fussen main street AKA Hauptstraße
Fussen main street AKA Hauptstraße (my original photo)

We arrived after a short two hour drive from my Tante & Onkel’s (Aunt & Uncle) place in Kulmbach, where we had stayed the night before. I had last seen them when I was 11 years old when they came to visit us in Australia. It was the best experience to rock up to their house and try and catch up in broken English and poorly executed German!

Forggensee lake
Forggensee lake (my original photo)
A cute little house we walked past
A cute little house we walked past (my original photo)

We took a stroll along lake Forggensee, which is a man-made lake to help prevent flooding in the surrounding basin from the melted snow following winter. We passed gorgeous Bavianesque houses.

Fussen at twilight
Fussen at twilight (pic via pinterest)

As with all German towns, Fussen has historic cobblestone streets, perfect for walking along after dinner on a Spring evening.

Fussen backstreets (pic via Pinterest)
Fussen backstreets (pic via Pinterest)
Forggensee jetty
Forggensee jetty (my original photo)
Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)
Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)

As with most of the places we stayed on our European trip, we picked Hotel Hirsch from website Wotif. It was a gorgeous stay!

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)
Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)
Jay, checking out an antique cupboard in the hallway of Hotel Hirsch
My hubby Jay, checking out an antique cupboard in the hallway of Hotel Hirsch

After a long day sightseeing we got a little tipsy on schnapps and took silly photos in the antique-filled hotel hallways…

This throne was totally made for me! Hotel Hirsch
This throne was totally made for me! Hotel Hirsch

Don’t judge my ensemble…it was 2007!

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) This was our room!
Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) This was our room!
entrance into our room
entrance into our room (my original photo)
The bed at Hotel Hirsch; the most beautiful bed in the world!
The bed at Hotel Hirsch; the most beautiful bed in the world! (my original photo)

Best.Room.Ever.

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)
Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website)
Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) restaurant
Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) restaurant

We ate lenchen spaetzle, just like my Oma made, in this gorgeous little booth!

Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) rooftop
Hotel Hirsch (pic via their website) rooftop
Jay & I mucking our about  at Hotel Hirsch
Jay & I mucking our about at Hotel Hirsch

The crazy Williams kids!

Neuschwanstein from a distance
Neuschwanstein from a distance (my original photo)

The next morning we went up the mountain to visit the famous Schloss Neuschwanstein! You may recognise it from the Disney logo!

The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to the operatic composer Richard Wagner. It took 20-odd years to build and is made of oak beams, cement & brick with limestone cladding that actually whitens as it ages.

Horse-drawn cart at Neuschwanstein
Horse-drawn cart at Neuschwanstein (my original photo)
view from inside Neuschwanstein
view from inside Neuschwanstein (my original photo)

I now have a bad case of wanderlust!

wednesday wishes

I wish I was holidaying in Cuba.

there’s something about…

the art deco architecture, 

the 1950’s American cars,

the history of revolutionary government,

the Caribbean waters,  

the Spanish influenced food (being the first and last Spanish colony in the Caribbean)

the big fat Cuban cigars
and the vivid colours that just inspire & entice me

ahhhh, wishes on a Wednesday!