Visiting New Zealand: Mike Tindall's Mistake

What he should have been doing in Queenstown, New Zealand.

By , Columnist

Mike Tindall, the newlywed husband of the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips, has been caught canoodling with a blonde in the Altitude bar in aptly named Queenstown, New Zealand.

I don't know what shocks me more: the fact that Mike is risking Zara's fiery temper or that he could resist the other local attractions. Queenstown is one of those "blow you away" places, a southern alpine resort of majestic scenery and magical atmosphere.

I spent a memorable week there last November. My husband wanted to tackle the famous Milford Track — reckoned to be the finest walk in the world — so I had plenty of time to explore the area with the help of old friends who drove down from earthquake-hit Christchurch for a few days.

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It was spring then in New Zealand, a time to admire the blossoming trees in the gardens alongside Lake Wakatipo. But all year round there is the wild scenic beauty that attracted the makers of Lord of the Rings, partly filmed near Queenstown. Standing sentinel across the lake are the mountains called The Remarkables, one of only two ranges in the world that run due north to south.

Queenstown buzzes with activity; it is a centre for walkers, winter skiers, mountain climbers, bungee jumpers, paragliders, kayakers… and tourists like myself.

You can also enjoy a leisurely cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, and if Queenstown itself isn’t enough to entertain you, there is an all day trip to Milford Sound, where the boats are often accompanied by dolphins as they venture through the astonishing sound with its waterfalls, out to the Tasman Sea and back again.

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A drive along the Lake Wakatipu to its northern tip, Glenorchy, could make a photographer dizzy with delight as every second of the journey can produce a freeze-frame of perfection. A short way from Queenstown is the old gold rush centre, Arrowtown, with its fascinating mining museum and preserved miners’ huts dating from the 19th century.

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So, Mike had plenty to see and do. Even his choice of bar was wrong: well-informed tourists (plus Lord of the Ring filmmakers) go to the Cow Restaurant for an authentic Queenstown meal.

Next time, Mike, check out Queenstown’s real attractions, and give the bar blondes a miss — that’s if Zara ever lets you go out there again.

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Margaret Holder has been writing about the Royal Family in newspapers and magazines for thirty years. She also broadcasts frequently on the BBC, both radio and television. She reckons she has now written more royal documentaries than anyone else in the world. Some are still being shown on channels in…

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