We arrived at the airport at 10 PM, 5 hours later than scheduled. Excellent start. More delays meant we sat in a massive group in the corner of our terminal eating ice cream and reading trashy magazines until past midnight. There was a long sprint with our bags between the international and domestic airports in Auckland for our connection flight, but we did make the flight (we also made the attendants pretty annoyed).
As soon as we got into Queenstown, the first thing that I noticed were all the cafes! Most of our group sat in Starbucks all day purely for the wifi, and as much as I tried to resist, I couldn't help dropping in for a chai latte and 15 minutes of instagram...the best place I got around to trying had to be Ferg Burgers, with honorable mentions to Patagonia (best churros mmm), Winnie's pizza, Cafe 111...actually, everything was great and I'm fairly positive I've missed something out here.
Skiing? We were at Cardrona, and what can I say...this was my first time skiing and I'd like to think I'm not too bad. My friends are all basically professional, and I was talked into a blue run on the first afternoon...there were a couple of pretty impressive stacks there. It's the best feeling though, when the wind is rushing past you and you feel completely in control. Unfortunately, the control part could definitely do with some work on in future! Staying on the mountain was absolutely brilliant - you could literaly walk downstairs, put your skis on and go. All the other groups were staying in Queenstown or Wanaka and had a 45 minute to an hour drive up to Cardrona every morning!
I will admit that getting up at 5 on the last day to for the drive down the mountain was pretty unpleasant. Our taxis were an hour late and the 30 of us were huddled together, shivering while we waited for them to arrive. That day was a complete emotional rollercoaster - one taxi got a blowout and the rest of us arrived at the airport just late enough to miss our flight anyway. I thought I might be saved when half of the group, me included, were able to fit onto a second flight back to Auckland...but no, due to bad weather that was cancelled too. We were all stir crazy by this point, until finally we were herded back into Queenstown for lunch, some aimless wandering and then dinner.
Having an extra day actually turned out to be great! The next morning I set off with a group of friends with the intention of playing mini golf before our flight home at 3, but when we found the cutest cafe - Cafe 111 - at the very top of town (with an amazing view, of course) we ended up sitting on their couches for hours with the most delicious muffins and hot chocolate. They even had magazines from 2003! It felt very much like an episode of Friends.
The plane to Sydney ended up being delayed as well, meaning we had to do another run between flights but we (thankfully) just made it. It was certainly an experience, but aside from all the connection issues I had the most brilliant time!