The plan for today was to spend the morning cruising around Lake Wakitipu on the Million Dollar Cruise, have a lazy afternoon pottering around town and playing on the lakefront and then a late night up at Coronet Peak having our first experience of night-skiing.
Unfortunately our three-year-old son had other plans. Whilst building a fort in their bedroom at the apartment, he jumped on the top, forgetting that there was a bedside cabinet underneath. Cue a lot of screaming and blood. A long story cut short – we ended up spending the day at the Queenstown Urgent Doctors and the Frankton Dentist getting x-rays and assessing the damage. Thankfully it was covered by ACC so all the treatment we received was free and I honestly can’t praise both medical centers enough. They saw us quickly; they were kind and patient and helped entertain the other two kids whilst I was trying to comfort the boy. Typically my husband was in Alexandra for the day (90 minute drive away) so I was on my own with a boy who was unable to eat or take fluids or painkillers and had a mouthful of wobbly teeth!
I managed to get hold of the owner of the Million dollar cruise and explained that we wouldn’t be making it. She was genuinely caring about my son, and so understanding and helpful. She offered us a trip later that day or the following day. We took her up on the following day…
As anyone with young kids knows, just because one is poorly doesn’t mean that the others are happy to just play calmly and let the other recover. So to kill two birds with one stone, we took a drive up to Queenstown’s closest ski field, Coronet Peak so that the boy would sleep in the car and the other two could get some fresh air before bed. It’s the best access road I’ve encountered on any of the South Island ski fields – tar sealed all the way to the top – and only 25 minutes from downtown Queenstown to the top of the mountain. Our plan was to come here anyway as on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night’s Coronet is open for night-skiing (something I’ve been desperate to try). Obviously our son had other plans but that just means something to look forward to next year! Watching the sunset from the top of a mountain, snow-boarding down floodlit trails with the husband, après ski beside a roaring fire whilst listening to the DJ sounds like an absolutely perfect evening to me!
The girls and I still had plenty of fun making snow angels, building a snowman and, of course having a snowball fight and a steaming hot chocolate. There was a great atmosphere up there with a live band playing and everybody enjoying the bluebird day. If you want to hire a toboggan, it's best to do so in town and take it up with you, as they're not available for hire at the slopes. If you want to have some time to ski yourself, there are great childcare facilities at both slopes. Book the kids in for a full- or half-day of care - meals can be provided and children get to play in the warm centre or pop outside to a secured snow spot where they can play in the snow and go for a ski. There are beds there for their day sleeps and the staff are all trained childcarers, and boy, is the view from their centre amazing!
Another reason we were excited about heading up to Coronet was a new interactive experience called The Ice Slides, which featured tunnel slides, turrets, peep holes and a large throne created by professional ice artisans, including an award-winning ice carver.
The Ice Castle, which weighed 4000-tonnes, was the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. Guests were able to race down winding slides encased entirely in ice and get those all-important photos perched on a frozen throne. The ice is illuminated at night with colour-changing LED lights which added to the atmosphere of Coronet Peak's night skiing. Unfortunately the weather conditions meant that it melted the week before we got there but they have promised to return next year.
Check out our next blog to see what happened to the boy next and what we thought of the Million Dollar Cruise and the famous Queenstown Restaurant Winnies …