Resort fit for a future king

Graham Budd
Graham Budd
Queenstown would make a perfect stop on any royal visit, Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd tells James Beech.

Queenstown is fit for future kings of New Zealand and their wives and they should experience the wonders of Wakatipu for themselves, when they visit the country and the South Pacific this spring, the resort's marketing organisation says.

Destination Queenstown would be delighted to extend an invitation to Prince Charles and Camilla, and Prince William and Catherine, because it was confident both couples would have "a world-class experience" they would not receive anywhere else, chief executive Graham Budd said.

Members of the Royal Family are celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee by visiting all the Commonwealth countries of which she is head of state this year.

While the Queen tours the United Kingdom, New Zealand will be visited by Prince Charles, accompanied by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, in November.

The Department of Internal Affairs said this week the dates they were expected in the country were likely to be announced in the next couple of weeks. The places they intended to visit were likely to be announced a couple of weeks afterwards.

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, embark on an eight-day tour of the Asia Pacific region this week.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expected to travel to Singapore, Malaysia, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu and a location for a "private second honeymoon", reports said.

When asked why the princes and their wives should put the resort on their itineraries, Mr Budd said it would be "almost unthinkable" for the royals to not visit Queenstown if they were going to be in this part of the world.

He said Wakatipu would appeal to Charles and Camilla due to the prince's interests in the environment and heritage.

"A visit to Arrowtown may be of interest for both of them; just to experience the history of our region and New Zealand and the conservation work going on there with the cottages and so on.

"The art galleries and artists in residence would be of interest to them.

"Then there are lots of softer options, like a Lord of the Rings, Milford Sound tour, or Skipper's Canyon."

Mr Budd said Queenstown was "an ideal place for a young newlywed couple like Will and Kate, where it's possible to have an amazing mix of adventure and excitement and romance all in one.

"I think he's an adventurer and an outdoors man, he's a helicopter pilot, so he would undoubtedly enjoy adventurous activities we have.

"A heli tour in itself, in this stunning landscape, would be near the top of the list of things he would like to do.

"I think he's definitely got a bungy jumper look about him, so some of those iconic activities, jet-boating and so on, and I think Kate would be happy to go along with those things as well because they're stunning experiences and I'm sure she has an adventurous streak in her as well."

Maybe a tandem bungy jump?

"Absolutely, that would be perfect."

Mr Budd said Queenstown was used to hosting celebrities and one of the things the community could be proud of was that residents gave VIPs a respectful amount of space.

High-profile visitors were happy and comfortable walking around town, with or without security, because they were not swamped by people.

Visitors also accepted VIPs as the same as anyone else, as it was part of the atmosphere of the resort, he said.

"They wouldn't need the same security hemming them in, that's for sure."

The couples may get a few travel tips from the Queen and Prince Phillip, who visited Queenstown in 1990, during one of their 10 trips to New Zealand, and cruised on TSS Earnslaw.

Many royals expressed concern about Christchurch in the aftermath of the February 2010 earthquake and a number of them were looking forward to coming to New Zealand at some point in the future, Prime Minister John Key told AAP after he attended a reception as part of celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

"William has been down to New Zealand twice now in the last few years and certainly Kate is very keen to come down and pay a visit. That was the first thing she mentioned, so it must be in their sights somewhere along the line," Mr Key told reporters.

Mr Key was reported to have given the Queen a presentation box of Kapiti cheeses, beetroot pickle, extra-virgin olive oil, quince jelly, black doris plum jam, kiwifruit chutney, feijoa chocolate and lemon mellow wine wafers.

Mr Budd said both couples could look forward to world-class food and wine if they visited Queenstown.

"We can probably do a lot better than some cheese and crackers," he said.


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