Melissa Reynolds has just returned from a short break in New Zealand and was blown away by the natural beauty and indulgent pleasures of the stunning South Island. Here she shares with us a little of her journey (and a special offer too!):
Last week I was lucky enough to head over the ditch to a place of incredible beauty only three hours' plane ride away. It was to a lakeside village of such incredible charm and good looks that I wondered if anyone ever left willingly. I'm talking about Wanaka, near Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand.
The ski fields of Treble Cone and Cardrona are just 40 minutes away but as the season doesn't start until later in the year I had to find other attractions to fill my days. Of which there are many. There are vineyards, gorgeous walking trails, bike riding, boating and fishing on the lake, picnics to be had with fantastic local food and fabulous restaurants and cafes. Should weather turn inclement there are quirky cinemas (like the Paradiso which comes complete with mismatched sofas and a Morris Minor you can watch movies from!), Puzzling World, Warbirds and Wheels Museum, the Transport and Toy Museum and much more.
The Wyndham Vacation Resorts Wanaka makes a smart and comfortable home away from home, walking distance from the town centre. Our one bedroom apartment came complete with kitchen, lounge room, dining area and balcony. The hot tub outside was a crowd pleaser with couples wanting to ease any aching muscles from a day's biking, hiking or wine tasting - those vineyards can be exhausting you know.
At this time of year you're never too far from an open fireplace and a glass of local pinot and the Wyndham Wanaka's own Rafter's Restaurant has all that and more. Head Chef Stefan Link serves up local specialties with panache so if you're worn out from a day of exploring you need venture no further than upstairs. We also had a delicious dinner in town at Botswana Butchery (+64 3443 6745), you can guess that steak is their specialty and Trout (+64 3443 2600) where of course fish was the order of the day. For brekky, coffee and cake drop into Relish or Ritual, both cute timber walled coffee shops filled with rugged up patrons, works of art for sale and a general feeling of bonhomie.
I could go on and on about what there is to do but all you really need to know is that this place is. It's beautiful. It's romantic. It's charming ... and frankly, I need to go back as soon as possible!
Wyndham Vacation Resorts Wanaka have a special rate available from now until October 31 2012 for a studio room plus one two course meal at Rafter's Restaurant from just NZ$129* per room, per night. *Guests must book and stay between these dates. Subject to availability. To book your romantic escape at Wyndham Wanaka and for full terms and conditions call +64 3443 0025 or email Reception.Wanaka@wyn.com and mention this deal.