Central Ridge Boutique Hotel
Queenstown, New Zealand, the last port of call for my trip. I can remember seeing a photo of this place about ten years ago and making the mistake of thinking it was by the sea. The reason for this was simple, and I find out (thankfully) a mistake that a few other people have made. The image I saw would've been taken from the top of the Skyline Gondala, where there is seemingly a precariously balanced building perched on the side of a mountain. The photo looks down across Queenstown (a much smaller Queenstown ten years ago), and out over the enormity of Lake Wakatipu, finally resting your gaze on the towering Remarkable Mountains. For those who have never seen the Remarkables they certainly live up to their namesake. They offer an intermittent animosity and grandeur, which can be a little unnerving, especially when there are dark clouds crouching heavily on the top. For the most part though, Queenstown is sunny. Blue skies seem part of life here, even when it's bitterly cold.
I was excited by my revisitation, as it had been a promise to myself for a long time, and was unsure as to where to start. Somewhere to sleep is always my first game plan before anything, so I thought I'd have a wander around. I have arrived homeless in almost every country I've ever travelled in, and new Zealand would be no different for me.
Having found a taxi at the airport, I got chatting to the driver, as he claimed to be the definition of a walking talking lonely planet. And after five minutes I believed him. Having ascertained that he would not take me anywhere ridiculous I gave him my budget for a hotel and he looked extemely pleased with himself. He took me to Central Ridge Boutique Hotel, where he waited outside as he thought they would probably be full due to its popularity. Luckily for me, they did have a spare room, which the wonderfully friendly manageress showed me to personally.
I am not a back packer anymore. gone are the days of noodles and stale bread. (Although I'm still quite partial to a packet of noodles). I earn enough money to have a spot of comfort in my life, and that was certainly Central Ridge. Whilst not being overpriced, it offered just the right amount of luxury and personal touches to make me feel like I was being pampered in the comfort of my own home. Then, to my delight, the guests of the hotel were invited into the Lounge for free local wine tasting! I spent an hour chatting away with the other guests and ended up spending the evening with a couple who invited me to go to dinner in Queenstown with them.
I love Queenstown, it's vitality and beauty are in equal measures and my stay at Central Ridge only made the experience more incredible.