Snowboarding and skiing have always been on my bucket list, so when I was asked to represent Infinity by attending a seven day snow trip around the South Island of New Zealand with Haka Tours, I jumped at the chance!
I met another two of my fellow travellers at Brisbane airport and we embarked on what was to be one awesome adventure. Arriving at Christchurch airport late at night, we caught a shuttle to Haka Lodge Christchurch, which is where we spent our first night.
Waking up at 6am, I met the rest of the group in the kitchen. Our guide had laid out a continental breakfast, introduced himself and gave us a run down of what to expect over the next week. We stopped off to pick up our snow gear hire and then departed for our first ski field, Mt Hutt. Located high in the Southern Alps, Canterbury, this ski field is great for first-timers and considering all of us but one had never ridden the slopes before. It was perfect for our first day.
As soon as we arrived, snow began to fall everywhere. Jumping excitedly out of our van (which was named ‘Murray’), we grabbed our snowboards, took a few happy snaps in the snow and made our way to the slopes. We started off with a two hour lesson, where we spent most of the time on our butts than actually riding, but we were told that was to be expected on your first day.
After an exhausting but exhilarating day, we climbed back into Murray and made our way home. Stopping in a local pub, we diffused our appetites with some local cuisine. We then headed to the hot pools, which were heaven. We indulged in the warmth and soaked our sore muscles. Such a perfect thing to do after a day riding the slopes. We then retreated our tired bodies to our dorm room at Lakefront Lodge, Tekapo for a well deserved sleep.
Another day at the snow meant another early morning, so we woke and left for our next snowboarding adventure at Oahu. We started off the morning with a lesson, using the magic carpet (a moving walkway) to get to the top. There wasn’t as much powder and we did keep falling over (still to be expected apparently) but loved every minute of it. The view was incredible! Half way through the day a few of the girls decided to take a break and create ‘Frank’ a snowman.
We departed Oahu at 3.30pm and made our way to Wanaka, bonding and singing along to ‘Fleetwood Mac’ then stopping by the lake to have a rock skimming contest. Dinner that night in Wanaka was at Amigos’, where we enjoyed a Mexican feast and few cold beverages. We then returned to our accommodation at YHA Wanaka Purple Cow, which was where we were spending the next two nights.
Day three at Treble Cone was one of my favourite days and it had the most amazing views of Wanaka. Day three was also when we finally all ‘got it’! Our Norweigan Instructor was the best one yet. He explained in technical terms the best way to maneuver a snowboard and taught us how to turn on our heels and toes. We were actually riding all day!
To top off an already awesome day, upon departing Treble Cone, our guide asked us if we wanted to go to a exclusive World Heli Challenge Party in Queenstown, where we got to watch the most amazing footage of helicopter snowboarding and see the winner of the competition.
This was also the night we got to try Queenstowns most famous burger place, Fergburger. Let me tell you, what they say about this place is true. It is one of the best burgers I have ever eaten and anyone heading to Queenstown must treat themselves to this most delicious cuisine. Make the most of it, by eating by the lake.
Our next stop was Cardrona, where we spent the morning watching a half pipe competition. After lunch, we decided we should have one more lesson before we were ready for the chair lifts. Unfortunately, the wind had picked up and what had been a snow storm earlier on, had now become an ice rink. It was still fun but we all ended up hurting ourselves at abit too much and decided to call it a day.
On the way home, after stopping at Cardrona’s oldest pub for a cider, our guide had a secret snap happy spot that he took us to. We were told to stand on a rock in a line as the sun went down and do a series of movements. Through laughter we tried our best poses, wondering what on earth he was doing. Once we saw the photos, we were blown away! The photo had come out as silhouettes. That night was spent eating steak and drinking red wine at Red Rock, then retiring to our beds at the Haka Lodge, Queenstown, where we were going to spend the last three days of our trip.
Day five was a day to rest our weary but adrenalin fused bodies and partake in some activities around Queenstown. Three of us spent the morning on the Shotover Jet, while the others took part in Bungy Jumping. Dinner that night was at Queenstowns local pub Pig & Whistle which had the most delicious food.
The weather was a big factor in deciding which mountain to spend the next day at and after our guide did his research, we ended up venturing to The Remarkables, another one of my favourites. By this stage we were feeling alot more confident and got on the chair lifts to take us up the mountain. It was such a great day and we spent alot more time snowboarding then sliding.The sun was out and the views were incredible. After leaving the mountain on a high, we spent the night in Queenstown, venturing from one bar to the next.
Sadly day seven had come upon us, but the thought of going back on that mountain, had us more excited then sad. We departed for our last ski field Coronet Peak, which has outstanding views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Unfortunately the weather was not the greatest and it was snowing so hard that you barely see in front of you.
This was a great opportunity to have a snowball fight, then a hot chocolate and wait for the conditions to lighten up. Once the weather started clearing up, we grabbed our snowboards and spent the rest of the afternoon shredding (yes I used that word) on the mountain. This was our last day with our guide and the two others on our group, so once returning back to our accommodation, we bid farewell to Murray, our guide and the others and spent our last night in Queenstown very quietly.
The next morning our time had come to an end. As some of us were flying out in the afternoon, I decided to make the most of my morning by climbing Queenstown Hill. The hill trek took 2.5 hours and once I got to the top. I saw the most spectacular view of Queenstown. It really is one of the most beautiful places I have visited (and I have been to alot of places).
As we made our way to the airport, I had time to reflect on the past week. Not only was this trip was one of the best adventures I have had but it was real bonding experience, I got to make some really great friends and now have a new hobby – snowboarding!
New Zealand not only offers excitement, adrenalin and the most amazing postcard views but it’s a place that creates memories that last a lifetime.
Written by Naomi Wengier, Digital Marketer, Infinity Holidays