Queenstown Winter Festival 2009

Queenstown Travel Blog

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Me and Andie - enjoying her 2-4-1 in Buffalo

6 months later after our arrival, I was still in QT. Only by now I wasn't a new-comer, I was becoming part of the furniture. Despite my initial negative thougthts about the town, and my fear that I would find it impossible to settle, I was, by now, immerced in QT life as much as any other traveller. I had began working in the hospital in Frankton at the end of February, much to my delight. It wasnt a job I was expecting to be offered, due to my 'flight risk' status, but luckily they had a 6 month maternity leave position to fill, and with my medical background I was offered not only the job, but a handsome hourly rate. I would start at 1pm, working through til 10pm. This was totally alien to me at first, but gradually my sleep patterns shifted, allowing me to take full advantage of the Queenstown night life.

The Snowy Remarks as the sun sets - taken from Fernhill
Through the new job, I met the 'A-Team', consisting of Cornish Amy, and Irish Andie & Avril. All nurses, all totally alcoholic mess heads.

 I soon began a routine of seeing Kat during my spare afternoons, walking her dogs through the Queenstown's Gardens, along the shores of Lake Wakitipu. I would only be a few hours before I saw her again, later that night back at Chico's, with the A-Team in tow. The beer would flow, the vodka would flow, as did the wine, and every other alcoholic shot you could ever possibily imagine. My liver will probably never truely recover from these 6 months in Queenstown, although I dont regret it. The people I met during that time were the most interesting, inspiring nutters I have ever known.

My only regret is not taking full advantage of the snow.

Opening night Fireworks
The mountain opens, officially in June, but as you can imagine, the busier the mountain got, the busier the hospital got. I found myself working 6 days a week, and unwilling to sacrifice my only day off participating in a serious physical challenge........ and I probably would break my bloody leg. Although when the 'Winter Fest' came round that year, I decided to make the most of it, despite my lack of boarding experience. It was very much a community affair, not just the die hard skiiers. Everyone showed thier faces during the festival.

Winter Festival 2009 began like the rest, with an awesome opening party. Every day for the following week, activities were organised not only on the mountains, (Coronet & The Remark's) such as dog sledding competitions organised by the Speights Dog Derby, and suitcase sledding (yes, thats exactly what it sounds like), but in the town there were also numerous events.

A masquerade ball and a massive fireworks display began the week, a Mardi Grand carnival, a concert with local and international musical talent soon followed. Drag races, where men only are entered into the 200m course, with high heels as a compulsary part of their outfit....haha Brilliant.

Rail jam - for me, was a BIG highlight. St. Omer Park is transformed (thanks to the help of a shit load of snow ladden trucks) into a winter wonderland, with snow covering everything. Gradually they build up an enourmous ramp, which come night fall becomes a stage for some of the worlds best skiing and boarding talent. The crowds that night were incredible; all ages and nationalities were amazed at the performances and tricks. Its universal entertainment and I fully recommend ANYBODY to go.

The A-Team go in for the flying man!
Even if like me, you have never put your foot in a ski boot.

 Another highlight was 'Flying Man' competition. This is another annual tradtition where the brave contestants compete to fly the furthest off the end of the pier at the wharf, in whatever costume or with whatever equipment they feel necessary. This I couldnt miss, especially as the A Team, being insane and all, thought they would join in. I should probably mention that in early July, the water of Lake Wakatipu would be hovering just above freezing. Not my idea of fun, but good on them!

If nothing else, its worth being in Queenstown during the ski season just for the unbelievable amount of hot australians wandering about........ :)

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Me and Andie - enjoying her 2-4-1 …
Me and Andie - enjoying her 2-4-1…
The Snowy Remarks as the sun sets …
The Snowy Remarks as the sun sets…
Opening night Fireworks
Opening night Fireworks
The A-Team go in for the flying ma…
The A-Team go in for the flying m…
Rail Jam!
Rail Jam!
More Flying Man contestants....
More Flying Man contestants....
photo by: genetravelling