Written on Thursday, 24 June 2010 by NZTravelInsider
Read what the current snow conditions are like on the South Island of New Zealand and get a brief Queenstown snow report.
My journey started at 9:15 this morning when I caught a taxi to Wellington airport.
While waiting for a call to board, I suddenly saw on the monitor that there had been a gate change and that I was waiting at the wrong gate.
So I rushed over to the new gate, hoping that I would not miss my flight – I didn’t.
About 10 minutes after take-off, the pilot made the following public announcement or PA as he called it: “I hope you don’t mind, but today we’re going to take the scenic route to Queenstown”. Mind? Who me? Are you kidding?!?
The Air New Zealand pilot had requested permission to deviate a bit from the normal route and fly more West over the South Island, because he found it was a gorgeous day to be flying over the South Island, and wanted to give us a scenic tour of the Southern Alps.
This pilot knew his stuff… He narrated the whole thing as a professional tour guide would have done. We flew over Mount Cook, saw the glaciers and the blue waters of the Tasman Sea on the West Coast, and then hit Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka as we got closer to Queenstown.
I don’t think Air New Zealand does this often, but I thank them immensely for doing this today; they made my day. While I had paid $228 to fly direct from Wellington to Queenstown, I had not expected a free scenic flight to be thrown in. Such a scenic flight by itself just doing a loop over Mount Cook generally costs anywhere between $200 and $400.
All I kept thinking while we were flying over the Southern Alps was: “Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!” Some parts of the Southern Alps were entirely snow covered. And as we flew over, everyone kept watching out the windows and there was a total silence in the cabin. Everyone was awestruck by nature and New Zealand. I love this place…
As we were approaching the runway at Queenstown airport, it was clearly visible that the snow had reached the ground almost everywhere in Queenstown and the surrounding area.
Yesterday, a lot of snow had fallen, and for the first time this winter, the snow finally reached the ground. While the roads were clear of snow, there was still some left in many areas along the roads. And a few mountains were completely white, covered by snow. Up until today, I had seen such scenes only during winter in Alaska.
From the picture above, which I took today late in the afternoon after sunset just to give you an idea of the current snow conditions in Queenstown, you can see that the Remarkables aren’t entirely snow-covered, but this is the whitest I’ve seen this mountain range since visiting Queenstown countless of times.
Winter has arrived, and the South Island – and Queenstown – is waiting for you to come and enjoy the snow.
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