Travel Notebook

Blanket Bay and Beyond

I’ve been reminiscing about my fabulous trip to New Zealand last year and remembering fondly the hospitality extended by both Southern Crossings and our friends at Blanket Bay in Glenorchy, near Queenstown. Southern Crossings is particularly top of mind because they were recently nominated for Luxury Travel Advisor’s 2018 Awards of Excellence for Best Local Destination Management Company. The winner will be announced at the Ultra Summit in May. Voting is open to travel advisors until March 29, 2019, so please join us in singing their praises!

If I had it to do over again – and I certainly hope to get that chance – there are a few New Zealand-esque activities I’d want to have a go at. Perhaps you or a client is going sooner than I am and could give one of these a try. We certainly want to see a video of you doing the mountain carting – what fun! Have a read and get inspired for a Down Under getaway – then let us put you in touch with the LTA award nominee experts at Southern Crossings.

Ride Horseback Through Lord of the Rings Country

There’s nary an experience as heady as riding horseback through the vast South Island landscape. Blanket Bay lies at the head of Lake Wakatipu, gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park and Te Wahipounamu, which is one of the country’s three World Heritage Sites. Blanket Bay can arrange with local stables rides of any length and for any level of rider, through stunning scenery and across rushing rivers. (Consider taking on a 4WD tour of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit filming locations.)

Horse-riding in New Zealand with Southern Crossings among stunning Alpine scenery
Rebecca all set to ride through the breathtaking Alpine scenery

Try Mountain Carting

In nearby Cadrona, Blanket Bay guests seeking an adrenaline rush can experience the country’s first gravity-fueled mountain-carting adventure. With three wheels, you’ll have three times the fun, choosing from three different trails, the longest of which is three kilometers long and spans all the way out to Captain’s Basin and back to Whitestar Express. These alpine-specialized, German-made carts are designed with a low center of gravity and wide wheelbase to ensure a stable, but thrilling ride, down the mountainside (after a chairlift ride to the top). The Blanket Bay staff recently tried it out for themselves and gave it a two-thumbs-up – will you?

Drive the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road in Style

With Ignition Self Drive Adventures, based in Queenstown, guests can take their time touring New Zealand’s most gorgeous routes while behind the wheel of a Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Porsche or the likes. After a day driving the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road (perhaps the most scenic drive in the whole of the South Island), you’ll pull in to Blanket Bay to a warm welcome.

Gibston Valley Queenstown Miles Holden New Zealand
Arguably one of the most scenic drives in all of South Island

Stay in New Zealand’s Most Posh Villa

And speaking of warm welcomes … Blanket Bay has debuted its perfectly private four-bedroom villa. This architectural masterpiece sits in full view of the lake and not-so-distant mountains and is offered in its entirety (preferred), or as a two-bedroom villa with a living area or a two-bedroom suite. You’re treated to dedicated chef service and use of two hot tubs, a fire pit, a garage (complete with charger for an electric car), a game room, a gym, a massage room, a heated outdoor pool and dining opportunities in the wine cave. I’ve actually had the chance to dine on the menu available to villa guests and I can promise you it’s spectacular – in fact, the best lamb I’ve ever tasted.

Blanket Bay Villa Private Dining_New Zealand
Inside the dining hall at Blanket Bay’s new private four-bedroom villa

What amazing New Zealand adventures have you had that just can’t be missed?  We’d love to hear from you.