After the glaciers, we headed South toward Queenstown!
Like all drives through New Zealand, the drive South from Franz Josef continued to be beautiful.
Our plan that morning was to drive to Lake Wanaka, walk around the lake and spend a night there. When we drove through, however, it was apparent we would not be getting much walking done as the storm clouds appeared to be holding on for dear life.
As we already had our day walking in the rain, I decided we did not need two in a row. So after stopping for a couple of pictures, we decided to keep going a little further to Arrowtown!
Now, I had never heard of Arrowtown and originally we never had any plans to visit there. But when I was researching best places to eat around Queenstown, a couple of places in Arrowtown popped up.
So, we thought, why not? We LOVE delicious food!
So as soon as we got settled into the campground, we headed downtown for our first recommended Arrowtown dinner – Saffron!
Now, I must say that one of the challenges when backpacking is having a variety of acceptable clothing to wear out for a nice dinner. The options get even more limited when it’s cold and rainy outside. So other than putting on some makeup, it’s my daily standard of jeans, a black sweater and my sneakers.
Oh and dangly earrings. I definitely spice up the outfit with those too.
For the record, that’s 100% pure imported Gore-Tex I’m wearing there.
The dinner at Saffron delivered a delicious meal backing up it’s rave reviews! As we put our rain jackets on to leave we scanned the room noting the other guests. We couldn’t help but wonder if anyone else there was going to leave to sleep in their van that night?
We both concluded – definitely not. We were likely the only ones!
We love it.
The next day the sun shine was back out again. We did not have any specific plans for the afternoon but we were definitely looking to do something active.
What happened next, no one could have predicted.
While Kevin and I were enjoying our coffee outside of our camper, we started chatting up the man camping next to us. We learned that his name was Dave and he was a professional photographer visiting Arrowtown to do some work for a friend.
A few minutes later, Dave asked us what our plans were for that afternoon.
“Not much. Maybe just a hike or something,” we replied. “We have not quite decided yet.”
“Well, would you like to be involved in a photoshoot for a mountain bike rental company? They need some photos of a couple riding bikes for a new advertising campaign and their models cancelled last minute. Would you both be interested?” Dave continued.
Kevin of course starting talking about first clearing it with his publicist…
He thinks he’s so funny.
Before we knew it, we were getting changed into our most colourful mountain biking looking attire that we had. Then we hopped in the car with Dave and headed to Arrowtown Bike Hire.
Now, I should have disclosed that I have never actually mountain biked before. This may have been important information to share… But I mean, they needed someone regardless.
Also, I do OWN a bike but it is a cruiser. Pretty sure it would not function at all on a mountain though…
Anyway, once we got fitted for bikes and helmets, we drove out to the location for the photoshoot. The owner, Adin, described what he was trying to capture and completed some demonstrations for us. He was looking for the both us to be riding together down what appeared to be a steep hill for a photowrap to be placed on their company van.
All I could hear was that we were going to be on the van! We were going to be the new face of Arrowtown Bike Hire!
Could this day get any better?
So after countless attempts and photos, we were finished! It was the most fun we had “working” in a long time.
Probably shouldn’t quit my day job!
Oh wait. I already did that a while ago..
After the photoshoot, we were given bikes for the day and $100! The day DID get better!
So, we headed off down the Queenstown Trail on a biking adventure. I could not stop talking about how excited I was about how the day turned out. Not only were we stars in a photoshoot and were going to have our picture on a van, we were biking along the most beautiful trail that we otherwise would not have known about.
Better yet, along the trail we stopped at a winery for lunch and wine, and paid for it with our earnings!
After enjoying an amazing lunch, we headed back to prepare for our next dinner reservation. Along the way, we dropped off our bikes at Arrowtown Bike Hire and thanked Adin for an awesome day of fun!
When we got back to our campervan, we had a quick rinse and change before heading out to Aimsfield Winery. Now, when I read the review and recommendation about this winery, I was immediately intrigued by the “Trust the Chef” tasting menu. We both decided to get it because we absolutely love dinners like this! It is so much more fun and amazing when you do not know what is coming.
Needless to say, it was fabulous. Every single part of it!
Once again we wondered if we were the only ones at this restaurant sleeping in a van that night…
Overall, Arrowtown was an amazing, unexpected stop for two nights! While small, it offers delicious restaurants, great shopping and spectacular scenery to fill your days.
We will definitely be back one day.
I mean, I HAVE to see our picture posted on that van!
Next stop, Queenstown.