We had a fantastic time on the South Island (despite the snow and freezing accommodation on the Catlins – however Fergus and Mary’s hospitality certainly made up for that, they are really lovely people). Probably the only thing we would do differently in retrospect would have been to skip Wellington (didn’t like it there much) and probably the Cook Islands too, which although lovely and a great chill out, we would probably have enjoyed the time more in NZ.
We loved Dunedin (especially the railway journey and Olveston House stand out in my memory) and Christchurch (and would have really liked a couple more nights there), the glow worm caves Alan still mentions often as an amazing experience. We loved the accommodation at Arrowtown – an amazing place to stay, and although Queenstown didn’t blow us away, we really liked Arrowtown. The lupins on the beach at lake Tekapo were another highlight – an extraordinarily beautiful place.
Probably the highlights were the cruises on Milford and Doubtful Sounds which were very, very special. We managed to take over 4000 photographs over the month, which are going to take a while to sort out! All the arrangements went smoothly and we were very impressed by the quality of most of the restaurants we tried.
The last few days in Golden bay we thoroughly enjoyed – we visited a fantastic private garden, possibly the finest ‘English’ garden we’ve ever visited in private ownership and once again the accommodation was great. The Mussel Inn is fantastic – very very sociable and great food – we enjoyed both a poetry evening and an Irish folk music evening there. Sadly the very last full day was very very wet – but even so it is a lovely part of the world.
Anyway Paul, we are very grateful for your efforts in making the trip truly wonderful – the most extravagant holiday we’ve ever had! I have on my return, and out of interest, filled in the online immigration qualification form however sadly I don’t have enough points, probably too old!
Mark and Alan