BAC New Zealand - 2015
February 23 - Wanaka to Queenstown
We had a long climb to start our day in cool temperatures. I had to stop and rest my legs near the summit. When I got to the top, there was a bizarre event happening in the turn-out viewing area. Richard and Germain were surrounded by several Chinese tourist posing for photos with them. Of course when I got there, they included me. They couldn't believe how far we had cycled, especially the seniors in our group. The tourists were from a city near Hong Kong except one of them that carried on a conversation in French with Germain. She lived in Montreal.
The rest of the ride was either downhill or flat. I hooked up with Richard and Germain in the historic town of Arrowtown where we stopped for coffee. Richard pulled us the rest of the way into Queenstown. On the way, we rode over the historic Old Lower Shotover Bridge. We arrived at the Pinewood Lodge in Queenstown before noon.
Nine of our group cleaned up and hopped into the van to drive to lunch. Richard had made reservations at Amisfield Winery for lunch. We bribed Asbjorn with a free lunch to take us there. And what a lunch it was. We ordered the chef's choice with either four wine pairings, one wine or no wine. Our first of four courses was toasted homemade bread with pork spread similar to pate and watercress from their property. The second course was cherry tomatoes in a vinaigrette along side whipped buffalo mozzarella that had a consistency of whipped cream. Our third course was warm lightly smoked melt-in-your-mouth salmon with shaved fennel and thinly sliced radishes. Our fourth was thinly sliced tender prime rib with browned potatoes. For dessert, we had a mixture of chocolate cake with coffee ice cream, custard with fruit and one other that I can't remember. For the wines, a bubbly white was served with the first two courses, a Sauvignon Blanc came with the salmon, a Pinot Noire went nicely with the beef and a sweet dessert wine finished out our meal. This was the finest lunch I have ever eaten. To add to it, we ate outside on the patio in perfect weather.
Back to Queenstown, I packed my bicycle and we relaxed for a while. Then it was time for our social hour where all of the final accolades were made. We then walked a trail over to the gondola and rode up an extremely steep mountain to our dinner in the Stratosfare Queenstown Restaurant at the top for our final group dinner. We had an 8:15 reservation so we had lots of time to take in the view of Queenstown, the lake and the mountainous surrounding area. The buffet was very good and the restaurant was filled with several hundred hungry people. The staff said that they were serving 1400 customers that night.
After we rode the gondola down, we retraced our steps on the trail and headed off to bed.