8 Days in the Heart of New Zealand

Kok Leong Wong

My last visit to the lovely country of New Zealand was back in 1991. My wife and I were travelling with our three children ages 11, 8 and 5. Our typical accommodation was that of a Motor Camp wherever we spent the night, Queenstown included. It was a fun filled family holiday, and the kids were happy to sleep on bunk beds and enjoy 'home cooked' meals. That was before we bought into the Anantara Vacation Club membership. 


Seventeen years later, my wife and I decided to make another trip to the South Island of New Zealand. This was primarily due to the fact that I had booked a 6 night stay at Oak Shores over a year ago – a privilege extended to Elite Diamond Club Points Owners. Although it was meant to be a holiday with my eldest son's family, they were unable to make it, and it was too good of a chance to miss.


So as not to let the 2nd bedroom of the luxurious Oak Shores suite go to waste, we invited my wife's bridesmaid, a kiwi from Wellington, to spend a few days with us. This turned out to be such a blessing. Apart from my wife and her catching up with each other after almost two decades, it was also an opportunity for a local resident to recuperate after a hectic year in the serenity of Oak Shores.


Although my son and his wife could not make it, our 5 year grandson joined us and had a whale of a time. He could watch the airplanes landing and taking off from the Queenstown Airport from the unit's balcony. On more than one occasion, we were startled by his excited shouting as he saw helicopters hovering above the lovely Lake Wakatipu. After a long day's outing, his favourite place was the oversized bathtub in the master bedroom. He would spend up to 45 minutes in, what he proclaims was, water set at the 'perfect' temperature as he played with his water toys. He was equally intrigued by the Fireplace in the sitting room. He has never seen one before. Although it was not cold enough to keep the fire going for long, for him, seeing the fire light up at the press of a button was a treat in itself! He is more used to turning an aircon on.

Queenstown has much to offer to a tourist, and this was probably my 7th trip to Queenstown. As a student at the University of Wellington, I spent some time travelling around New Zealand in the early 70s. As such, I did things a young adult would do. This time around, travelling with a 5-year old, I experienced a different sense of enjoyment. Going up the Skyline Gondola, riding the Luge with him, going up Coronet Peak and getting a close up view of a humongous construction equipment and sailing on the Earnslaw to Walter Peak to feed the sheep and goats was an experience I’ll never forget.


Another highlight of this trip was the celebration of the 15th wedding anniversary of our good friends, a Singaporean couple holidaying in Queenstown with their two teenage sons and close friends. It was held at a Thai Restaurant in the centre of town. What a memorable occasion.


For me, a game at Queenstown Golf Club, just a 15 minute drive from Oak Shores, was a treat. It was blustery throughout the course’s 18 holes, and the challenge to contend against the elements was in itself an experience. At one point, the wind just blew my yellow golf ball off the fairway! Queenstown is rightfully designated a tourist paradise. The town centre has much to offer to those not into the outdoors, and the myriad of eateries cater to different nationalities. And, as my grandson says, at the end of the day, getting back to Oak Shores to watch the sun set is priceless!

Refreshing and enchanting time at Queenstown and Oak Shores worth remembering. When we look back at our Anantara Vacation Club experience, this one is certainly among the best!

For more Anantara Vacation Club Reviews, check out our Owner's Stories page.

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