After 2 nights in Wellington, we again took the airport shuttle back to Wellington airport.
What greeted us as we stepped into the check-in hall were SQ's check-in counters for the SQ flight to MEL/SIN.
However we would not be flying SQ today and instead proceeded to the NZ self-check-in kiosks and bag-drop. There is also a premium check-in area.
After checking in, we proceeded into the modern departure hall. Non-travellers were also free to come into this part of the terminal as well.
Apart from the usual NZ A320s, JetStar's rare Dash-8 and A320s were spotted.
NZ's Dash-8s on the remote stands.
Our aircraft operating the flight to Queenstown. NZ and JetStar each has a daily flight from Wellington to Queenstown.
21 August 2018 Air New Zealand NZ 605 Wellington (WLG) - Queenstown (ZQN) A320 ZK-OXM Economy Class Flight Time: 1H01M
Boarding to commence shortly.
Boarding the aircraft. Similar domestic cabin configuration as the previous flight.
View out the window.
Boarding in progress. The flight was about 70% full. Most visitors to Queenstown would have flown from Auckland.
Boarding completed, doors closed and we pushed back.
SQ's B772 has arrived from Melbourne.
Taxi to the runway.
Holding for another A320 to land.
Followed by our turn for departure from Rwy34.
Leaving North Island and my first glimpse of South Island.
IFE consisted of inflight trivia shown on the dropdown screens.
Flying along the coast of South Island.
Refreshment service commenced, where we were offered a choice of cassava chips or chocolate chip cookie. The crew were kind enough to offer me one of each when I requested, all washed down with a cup of tea.
View of the cabin.
A look at the half-galley of the domestic-configured A320.
Same amenities in the single rear lavatory.
Crew clearing the trash.
The first snow-capped mountains spotted.
Just prior to descend, crew came around with baskets of lollies.
Rest of the flight was spent just admiring the scenery down there.
The approach and landing into Queenstown was amazing as we flew in between mountains into a valley. This certainly ranks as one of the most challenging and beautiful landing in the world!
Final approach to Rwy23 as we exited the valley.
Touchdown in one of the most beautiful airport in the world, Queenstown Airport.
Video of the landing.
Parked at the stand. There are no aerobridges at Queenstown and hence disembarking is via the traditional stairs. It was amazing as we disembarked to snow-capped mountains in the distance!
View of the aircraft as we walked on the tarmac towards the terminal building.
Queenstown airport only has a small terminal with both domestic and international (from Australia) flights, and during the peak seasons, I suspect the terminal may be straining from the additional flights and travellers.
From Queenstown Airport, it was only a 15min and NZ$2 bus ride to the hotel. We stayed at Heartland Hotel, which was built chalet-style. Rooms, though not the most modern, were comfortable enough for the stay.
The best thing about the room though was the incredible view of the mountains and lake from my room at the 3rd (and topmost) floor!
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The hotel was only a short 5-10min walk downslope to town. Queenstown would be hosting a Winter Pride just a week after my stay.
First meal at Queenstown would be some Fish and chips by the lake (while avoiding the attacks at the chips by seagulls and ducks).
Enjoying the sight of the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, with mountain ranges around.
Walked towards the small town area, with the usual tourist shops, restaurants and boutiques.
Queenstown town center
Popular fudge selection at the Remarkable Sweet Shop.
Dinner of burrito at a Mexican eatery.
The next day, we went on a day trip to Milford Sound. It was an early departure, with The Remarkables range basking in the dawn light.
During the 300km ride to Milford Sound, we passed by various sights, including:
Mirror lake which reflects the mountain range.
Streams with crystal clear water
And wild native birds Kea which love to peck on vehicle rubber lining.
As the tour bus passed through the mountains, we were greeted by snow and controlled avalanches at certain areas.
Reached the Milford Sound jetty to board the ferry for a 2hrs tour of the Sound. Buffet lunch was served onboard. The view was magnificent, and we even came right u to a cascading waterfall!
Leaving Milford Sound for another 300km ride back to Queenstown.
Dinner back at Queenstown was at one of the 2 most popular burger restaurants in Queenstown. For tonight, I would be trying out Devil's Burger. Very tasty and filling burger and fried mushrooms!
Some gelato for dessert!
On the 3rd day, the first thing to do was to grab a burger at the famous Fergburger. Even though it was only 11am, there was already a queue (which moved fast) for burgers! Luckily the wait was only 10min as compared to dinner time.
The burger from Fergburger is indeed juicy and delicious!
At the lakefront, where I would be going on a Jetboat ride to the Shotover River.
Did a short trip to the historical mining village of Arrowtown, which was only about 30min away by bus.
Another Remarkable Sweet Shop
A historical Chinese village
One of the few rainbows sighted while on the ride back to Queenstown.
Shed with a view
Sakuras in Queenstown too!
Dropped by the Remarkables outlets for a bit of shopping.
Dinner at a very popular restaurant in Queenstown, Flame Bar and Grill. Best to make a reservation prior as it is almost certain that no tables would be available for walk-ins during the dinner hours. We had steak, pork ribs and lamb chops, all of which were delicious! Just simple grilled meats to perfection and light seasoning.
More gelato for dessert.
On the last day in Queenstown, it was perfect weather. Walked to the cable car station for the trip up to Skyline Queenstown!
Had buffet lunch with a magnificent view at the Stratosfare Restaurant. The lunch buffet offered quite a variety of choices and was value-for-money if purchased with the cable-car package.
More of the buffet selection.
And of course the magnificent views!
Paragliding is very popular in such nice weather.
Descending back to town. It was certainly a beautiful ending to the Queenstown leg.
Air New Zealand
Wellington - WLG
Queenstown - ZQN
It was another standard Air New Zealand domestic sector, again with friendly and efficient service, and an awesome landing to boost!
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