When you take the panorama of Lake Wakatipu, and contrast it with the towering peaks of the Remarkables mountain range, you are provided with an amazing backdrop to this thriving hub of business, retail and tourism.
Anne and I have just spent a relaxing five days in and around Queenstown with three members of Continue reading →
The prospect of heading off on a 152km cycle trip over four days, in the knowledge that the first 2 days would require you to push those pedals and climb a 618m summit is more than a little daunting for we non-Tour de France riders. But that’s what Anne and I, and our very close friends, Mary-Ann and Lawrence did, and our smiles could not be broader.
The Otago Rail Trail has not disappointed us, in part due to the wonderful organisation and communication with Sandra and the team at Trail Journeys, based at the start of the trail in Clyde, and also in part to our own preparation. Trail Journeys sorted all the logistics, from collecting us in Queenstown, providing our bikes, booking our accommodation and moving our luggage each day. All that was left for us was push the pedals and enjoy the experience.
Sometimes, despite the planning, things don’t quite go the way you envisaged. Anne and I have been working toward running away for a number of months, and today we set off……on a bus, and 5 hours late.
A bus was not part of the plan, but it became a late inclusion when last night Vigin Australia advised us that our 9.15am direct flight to Queenstown today was cancelled…….”but do not fear Steve, we have booked you on a flight from the Gold Coast to Christchurch at 5.45pm, with an overnight stop, continuing through to Queenstown on Thursday morning, arriving at your final destination at 9.50am”
Great I thought – that means I only miss 18 hours of my holiday, a night out with friends in Queenstown, and the bus to connect with our 4 day Otago Rail trail bike trip. mmmmmmm take a deep breath.
After a long wait on the phone, we finally saved the Otago Rail Trail bus connection, getting an earlier flight out of Christchurch and arriving in Queenstown at 7.50am – still a long night ahead, but hey – it’s an adventure.
We followed Virgin’s instructions today, and caught a cab to the Brisbane domestic terminal (a little early because that’s how I like it), only to be told…. “sorry Steve, you should have gone to the International terminal…. you were given the incorrect information last night…. here’s a ticket to catch the shuttle bus to the International terminal”. So dutifully, we headed back outside and caught the shuttle. Arriving at the International terminal, where we were met with nothing… the place was deserted! Still holding things together, we found a cleaner who was very helpful….” go up there” she said. So we did. From up there, we were directed, back “down there”. Gee, this is great. Finally, we found a little Office with a Virgin sign outside, so I knocked. A young lady directed us back “up there…… someone is on their way to assist”. We didn’t find that person, At 2pm, when the bus was due to depart, we were still lost, when our names were called over the airport public address system……. asking us to hot foot it to level 2, as our bus was waiting. Finally, acknowledgement that we were expected.
I’m writing this blog on my iPhone (that’s interesting…. I need my young eyes on for that) sitting on the bus from Brisbane to the Gold Coast to connect with that Christchurch flight, looking forward to a Bloody Mary (our favourite holiday starter).
I’ll see you on the trail…..no doubt starting out with less sleep than we had planned.
If everything else from here on in goes to plan, this is just a hiccup. What’s your worst travel planning story?