Christmas dreaming

Helen Perry, Editor

I guess, like me, there are plenty of readers out there saying, “Where has the year gone?” Unbelievably another Christmas is upon is and I’m wondering if I’ve met Santa’s ‘good girl’ criteria.

If I have, and I’m in line for a gift or two, I’m ordering a Cocoon Thai massage, a winter holiday in Vanuatu and a little bit of cosmetic work on this ageing body…oh, and just an average size win on Lotto would be good too! Yes, in these busy times, sometimes it’s lovely just to dream.

What’s more, last week I did manage three gorgeous dream days in Queenstown. The weather was near perfect around 23, 24 degrees, blue skies and warm right up into the evenings which remained light up to 9pm-ish. This sojourn wasn’t about sightseeing as such but we did so enjoy our Million Dollar Cruise which I rate as one of the most enjoyable and best value attractions on offer – $39 pp for 90 minutes leisurely (and informative) cruising on a part of the lake not so often visited.

We stayed at the Novotel which was perfectly located lakefront and a few steps from the main mall. I’ve stayed at many a Novotel but this Novotel rates high on my scale of one to five – spacious, well appointed room, great food (just loved the three yum tapas for the price of two) comfortable lounge bar, and best of all, fabulous staff from reception to our smiling, cheerful housemaids.

In particular, at the hotel and local restaurants, we spoke to many young people from all around the world who were in Queenstown on working holidays. I wish I could write to their mothers and tell them how proud they should be. Wherever we went these young adults were welcoming, courteous and full of banter.

In a world where we so often see the both the terrible and sad side of today’s youth, it was refreshing to see so many making the most of life’s opportunities. That they were relaxed, outgoing and comfortable chatting with every age group was a pleasure to observe.

It was also great to experience Queenstown’s new transport initiative – a bus ‘Go card’ system. Just purchase a card for $5, load it up with dollars, ($10 minimum) and then use it to go easily from A to B or just to see the local district. At $2 for most close-to-town zones, it is great value.

We were lucky enough to be there during the one week of free bus transport and went all the way to Arrowtown and back for no charge – absolutely fantastic. So thank-you Queenstown, we had a ball riding the buses and seeing rose-filled suburbs – loved those views from Fernhill way!

Well, I’ve prattled on longer than I should so I’ll leave you all to get on with your Christmas shopping, baking and decorating but not before you take some time out to enjoy this month’s EastLife. You’ll find some great gift ideas inside, read about admirable locals, and, hopefully, enjoy our take on fashion, food, books, beauty, travel and trivia.
To you all, the warmest of Christmas greetings – enjoy the season!

P.S. I think I better ask Santa for some bathroom scales too, I have a feeling festive fare may get the better of me.