We were sorry to leave Te Anau, although there were definite limits to what Paula could have done has we stayed. Just looking at the walks around there was enough, and I am determined to go back and do the track one day. Doubtful Bay also looks amazing: there is an overnight cruise there which includes sea kayaking – I don’t want to be too old to enjoy it! As always, there are plenty of incentives for staying fit, although there may need to be some post-Christmas remediation when I get back to the gym.

Once we reached Queenstown, we realised that we had probably not given enough time to an amazing spot. The apartments we stayed in were about ten minutes walk from the town, although we did taxis to save Paula. They had an amazing view, as you can see from the photos and, while a little older, were large and comfortable. We had a bedroom and en suite upstairs, with a second bedroom and shower for the boys, although Liam decided to kip downstairs. Again, we could have cooked, but decided to take advantage of the town for one last night.

There was very little time to appreciate all this, however, because we dashed out the door to meet the shuttle out to Skippers Canyon for our jetboat adventure. Every outdoor company in New Zealand promises the best, the biggest and the most thrilling – I can’t judge the truth of these, although I am warming to a bungie jump next trip, just to show there is still life in the old bastard – but Skippers Canyon really delivers! The bus was four wheel drive and I wondered why until we left the ‘main’ road to Coronet Peak and headed along the world’s narrowest and most precarious track to the absolute back of beyond. It was first and second up and down the mountains, with literally a hundred foot drop to he right as we drove in.

Once in the canyon, we were just amazed at rhe speed of the river and the desolate landscape. The early pioneers must have been pretty tough characters: the south island is much less populated than the north, and Queenstown must have been totally cut off for most of the year in the early days. Even now, I’d rather fly in than drive in!

Jet-boating is just one of those mad activities which is simply crazy fun, and when done in such surroundings might be justifiable because of the scenery and the wild river. We all had a huge time, just skirting shoals and rock walls in the obligatory manner, getting soaked and shrieking at the mandatory 360s. After that, driving out along that access road was just more scenery, rather than the near death experience it was on the way in.

Dinner was a triumph – a good meal in great surroundings. The Guilt is in Queenstown’s old court house, but it was better to sit outside and listen toast really good singer in the long cool twilight. We stayed and enjoyed until late.

I think that the best way to enjoy the South might be to base yourself in Queenstown, which is a short flight from Wellington. We missed so much of Otago, from wineries to adventure activities, so there is much to come back for. One can also do the glacier trips from here – the road geography is pretty circuitous because of the mountains.

I grabbed a couple of late evening shots and hoped for better sunshine in the morning, but the height of the Remarkables makes for interesting viewing in all kinds of conditions. I’m just happy it isn’t raining.

The other great thing about today was how much fun Dom had. You never know with that one, but whenever we have done things, he has had a great time, the one exception being that ill fated walk. He just needs a push every now and then.