Day 17 – Queenstown

Our usual early start, breakfast, empty the camper tanks and away for 8am ready for today’s horse trekking.

We arrived at the trekking place early, it was only a 5 min drive, and used the opportunity to get prepped with sun cream, insect repellent, long sleeves and rain coats. The weather was cloudy and blustery and we were ready for rain.

At 9am one of our guides for the day came to the gate and welcomed us to the farm. She took us through the usual health and safety briefing and made sure we were kitted out correctly. I had to wear a jacket over the top of my rain coat to stop it flapping in the wind but everyone else was fine. Later when on top of the hill I was quite happy about the extra layer!

The horses had already been prepared and saddled so we climb straight on. Diana’s was called Kepler, Bella’s was Maxi, Alex’s was Tommy and mine was Oliver. They were all calm although mine was a bit grumpy and kicked Bella’s in the mouth, thankfully Maxi was fine.

Emma one of our guides gave us some pointers on how to ride and and we set off. The first part of the ride was through the paddocks close to the stables gently climbing. We all walked in single file keeping to the order we’d been put in. Hierarchy is important to the horses.

We stopped a few times to open gates but mainly kept plodding along. I had to give mine some encouragement. Apparently he’s the biggest and the slowest. Alex was led by Andy who chatted to him all the way, with Alex asking lots of questions. Bella was paired up with Olivia and they also chatted all the way and both really enjoyed the experience.

After 30 mins of slow climbing we reached the peak of the first hill and stopped for photos. Once the photos were taken we kept on going, meandering around the hill and surrounding fields taking in the views which were naturally spectacular.

Another 45 mins and we’re at the top of the biggest hill and it was pretty bracing! We jumped off and tied up the horses and sheltered behind a water storage tank to have juice and biscuits. I was glad of the extra layer, the wind was something else! Andy was a bit of a character and chatted to us, telling us about the area and how it has changed over the years. All of the guides were very friendly.

After the break we got back on using a well placed tree trunk and then slowly plodded down the hill towards the farm returning 2 hours after we’d left.

The experience wasn’t quite over though and we then helped put the horses back in the paddock for a rest. First we took off their saddles and then we groomed them before leading them back into the paddock. The kids, Bella especially, enjoyed this immensely.

A wonderful experience and we finally said our goodbyes and made our way back to the camper.

We set off for Queenstown and decided to find a cafe along the way for lunch. Easier said than done in this part of the world!

After driving for nearly an hour we came across Mossburn, a small town which had a diner and cafe and a few petrol stations and we stopped at the cafe for lunch.

I had the venison sandwich which was possibly the best venison I’ve ever eaten. It was perfectly cooked, pink in the middle and so succulent, tender and tasty. We’ve passed a number of venison farms over the last few days so it must be a delicacy of the area. The kids had pizza and chips which they refused to eat and Diana had a delicious lamb wrap.

After lunch we continued on to the usual stunning scenery and everyone (apart from me) fell asleep. Must have been all the fresh air this morning.

We arrived at the campsite in Queenstown just after 2:30pm, checked in and parked up. We immediately went for a walk down to the lake front, stopping for a drink and to take in the scenery.

Queenstown was very busy and also very very windy by the lake front. We had made plans to swim in the lake but the wind was so strong and fresh we decided against it.

We wandered through Queenstown shopping for gifts and souvenirs and then walked back to the campsite. We were sheltered from the wind once we’d got away from the lake front and with the sun out it was really very pleasant.

We picked up the carrier bags and then headed towards the supermarket and Pedro’s house of Lamb. Diana had said she wanted some New Zealand lamb and so far we hadn’t really had any or seen it on the menu so I’d done some research and Pedro’s is the place to go for lamb. They only have one thing on the menu, roast lamb shoulder and it’s takeaway but it’s supposed to be the absolute best.

We bought the lamb shoulder, 50 NZD for a container and then headed to the supermarket for a few other essentials.

Once back at the camper we had a quick appero as a starter and then served the lamb (Bella had soup, she’s not a big fan of lamb, but more for us). The lamb lived up to the hype – it was absolutely delicious. Some of the best lamb I’ve ever eaten. So succulent, melt in the mouth and so tasty. We all agreed it was absolutley amazing.

In our rush to eat it we didn’t take a picture so here’s one from the Internet. If ever you’re in New Zealand, Pedro’s is the place to go!

After dinner the kids showered and caught up with some homework before bed.

Another amazing day filled full of adventure, stunning scenery and some great food. Tomorrow we go jet boating and then head towards Christchurch for our last night in the camper.

Distance driven today: 170km

Grand total: 2285km

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