The stunning drive to Queenstown

1 December 2018

Cornelia scampered into our bed again at about 03:00, prompting Ian to relocate to her bed about half an hour later, while she rolled on top of me, pushing me to the side of the bed, then holding on to me for the rest of the night. She slept until nearly 09:00, so she obviously needed a mammoth sleep.

Ian was already up and showered by the time we joined him for breakfast. Cornelia was in a weird hyperactive mood, being very excited one minute, then being reduced to tears because she wanted to keep her Wildlife Centre wristband on forever, so she wasn’t wasting it by putting it in the bin and needing a new one when we next visit. In many many years. Maybe.

Despite the late start, we left just after 10:00. Ian had been on the phone last night and this morning trying to find out if we could get a helicopter ride over the glaciers, but the general feeling was that although the weather was just about okay, they had quite a backlog of flights and recommended that we go in a few days, when the weather was meant to improve. The flights are quite expensive, and we didn’t want to be disappointed, so have decided that we will try again when we leave Queenstown and head to Lake Wanaka.

I asked in reception for any good walks that we could do around the glacier, only to discover that the access road and paths to and around Fox Glacier were closed due to a large landslide. So, we settled for a walk along the glacier view path instead – a 600/700 metre trek to a viewing point from where you could see the glacier. I pointed it out to Cornelia, whose observation was “It’s much smaller than the ones we saw on the boat!” (referring to our Alaskan cruise). Cornelia and I ran down the path and then back up, playing a chasing game, collecting dead ferns (crystals) and leaves (magic potion).

After our run around, we headed off to Queenstown. Cornelia started her new Travel Buddy book which has things like a tick list of different makes of vehicle, and a list of items to mark off (tractor, bridge, beehive, hawk etc). After an hour or so though, she asked for her Kindle and watched some cartoons while Ian and I listened to our 80s Road Trip playlist! We continued to amuse ourselves with the brilliantly-named creeks and rivers: Dismal Creek, Dizzy Creek, Glitterburn Creek, Dancing Creek, and Roaring Swine.

We had a quick lunch stop at Fantail Falls, where I made cheese sandwiches, and chopped up a couple of apples for us to eat. Ian has a quick walk around to stretch his legs, then I went down to have a quick look at the pretty Falls, and the crystal clear water. If it hadn’t been full of tourists (including us), it’d have been very peaceful!

We drove on, stopping again for brief moments to take photos at Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, both of which were epically beautiful, with huge mountains behind the clear calm waters. We just couldn’t believe our eyes – mountain after mountain, glacial blue river after river… it was just endlessly mind blowing.

As we approached our accommodation just on the outskirts of Queenstown, we remembered that we needed to go to a supermarket, so found a Countdown and I did my usual dash around, mumbling to myself about what we were going to eat, while Ian and Cornelia kept each other company in the car. From them, we drove the last few minutes to our pad in Lower Shotover. We were a bit dubious as we came closer, as there was a lot of construction taking place, in the brand new residential area, but we needn’t have been concerned. Our two-bedrooms apartment is brand spanking new and absolutely fabulous. Robyn, one of our hosts, had even left a box of chocolates on the table for us!

I put my running kit straight on while Ian had a cup of tea and Cornelia explored, and went out I for a little trot around the local area. There is a bike path just down the road and I followed this alongside the river, before turning back into the estate and completing a loop.

When I returned, Bugsy was practising headstands with Ian, and so (once I’d rinsed my face and hands) I cooked supper (roast chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots and courgettes) and as a special treat, we watched a Disney movie while we ate.

It probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had. She was a bit tired and this made her a bit emotional and scared of the evil queen, and by the time she went for her bath with Ian, she was on the edge. And Ian trying to get her out of the bath broke her… she lost her bedtime stories and that devastated her, and she asked me to change his mind, but I wouldn’t. So I lay beside her, cuddling her for ages, and then she went completely ape. She was screaming that she wanted a bigger bed. Then refused to get back in. She wanted to me stay with her all night. I went through the process of not speaking and just putting her back in bed, battling against the hair-pulling and kicking out… when I left her, she came out and sat in the hallway with a variety of exceptional rants:

“I can’t believe I’m behaving like this!

I can’t keep shouting forever!

Come back! I can’t chomp on Cowding forever!

I’m sad and angry and mad!

Come back!”

I picked her up again, returned her to bed and told her I would be in five minutes after she had quietened down. I left again with cries and promises of being good, and finally, finally all fell silent. At 21:45. To my enormous relief, there was continued silence and I congratulated myself with a chocolate and a second beer.

And then just after five minutes had passed….”Mummy, is the five minutes up now?!” And, a promise is a promise, so I went back to her for a cuddle and amazingly, she fell asleep after a few minutes.

So, fingers crossed for a lie in tomorrow for her, and let’s hope she sleeps through tonight and doesn’t fall out of bed.

2 thoughts on “The stunning drive to Queenstown

  1. Quite a set of contradictions, from Cornelia- The keen mind who recognizes the difference between glaciers in Alaska and New Zealand and the robust tantrums of someone who is having a hard time with constant adaptation. She is truly an amazing child.

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