Susan Kime's Top Five Most Excellent Travel Adventures of 2010: Unexpected, Unbelievable, Unforgettable
Filed under: Apparel
The two curses of any seasoned experiential/destination travel journalists are word count and deadline. At Luxist, I have been blessed by having no such constrictions, so it is my fault I have not written about these adventures before. My only justification is that I had to let the most formidable, yeasty experiences foment, simmer and rise. After defining my three criteria -- unexpected, singular, unforgettable of 2010 -- here are my top five -- with four out of the five being from my travels in New Zealand in June 2010.
1. New Zealand: Hiking the Southern Alps
I wrote three articles for Luxist about luxury travel trends in New Zealand this year. While there, I was given some great opportunities to explore the country. On the top of my list is hiking in the Southern Alps, near Queenstown, NZ.
I had been in the Southern Hemisphere once before, but had forgotten that mid-June was Winter. Hiking the Southern Alps was one of those upside-down experiences as I just come from Arizona, where the weather was in the mid 90's. It was therefore, an unexpected cold, where I looked around and saw a lot of snow on the mountains ( see above), as the 2010 ski season had just begun. The Southern Alps, also called The Remarkables, was the backdrop of some of the Lord of The Rings films. I was shown where Mordor's Castle was, well, virtually. But realistically, if he had a view below, in the distant perimeter would have been the Kawarau River, and in the greater distance, over the river, the first Bungee Jumping Bridge in New Zealand, constructed in 1986. You first.
2. Traveling On The Otago Wine Road, near Queenstown, NZ.
I wrote about one of the most exceptional wineries, The Peregrine Winery, on this road for Luxist, but I did not write about the others, which has been bothering me for the past 6 months. The Otago Wine Road is one of those highways that could be compared to some in Napa Valley, except the Otago lies at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain chain, AKA The Southern Alps, and many of the wineries are built on very rocky, yet fertile soil. This is Pinot Noir country. But it is also Pinot Blanc , Pinot Gris, Riesling,and Gerwurz country also. My reasoning for including this journey lies in the unexpected nature of the wines sampled. There were tastes I had not experienced before, and I thought I knew wine! The wine road was part of my ongoing Oenophile education.