Published on Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TRENZ blog: Meet Sam and the ram

You bump into all sorts of interesting people at TRENZ, New Zealand’s annual travel trade showcase.

There was actor Sam Neil, a Queenstown grape grower when he’s not acting in movies. He was there handing out glasses of his Two Paddocks wine.

The locals joke that Sam started out with Two Paddocks and now owns about ten paddocks around Queenstown.

We also met entertainer Will Martin, a Justin Bieber lookalike, who was performing for a small group of TRENZ buyers in the library at the MGallery St Moritz hotel.

In 2007, Martin obtained a five-album deal with Universal Music worth about $3 million.

I discovered on Wikipedia that 27-year-old Will wants “to rock out with a big orchestra behind me. I want to be real. I want to misbehave. I want to reach people.

“Dress me like a pop star and let me sing, and maybe some eighteen-year-old girl will go out and buy a classical album for the first time.”

Not sure about the 18-year-olds, Will, but a lot of the ladies applauding you at the St Moritz appeared ready to misbehave.

We didn’t meet jeweller Michael Hill but every tour bus that passes his palatial pile on the road to Arrowtown points out that he has built a private 18-hole golf course for about 50 members.

Golfers lucky enough to receive an invitation to play Michael’s course should note that the roof of the clubhouse is “in play”. If your ball lands on the roof, you have to climb up and play your next shot from the spot where it lands on the roof. Good luck.

Talking of golf, Air New Zealand is promoting a Festival of Golf in Queenstown during this year’s Rugby World Cup from October 9-15.

The event will cater for 100 golfers who will play four rounds of golf on different courses over a week. Air NZ is selling packages that include airfares, accommodation, transfers, daily prizes for golfers, finale lunch and awards.

Millbrook, Arrowtown Golf Club, Queenstown Golf Club - Kelvin Heights and Jack's Point, will host the players with all golf organised by New Zealand golf personality, Phil Aickin.

The tournament is open to club and social players. More details at

Later, we met Harry the Ram. Harry is doing what rams do best at a bed and breakfast establishment outside of Queenstown.

Jonathan McNay, who operates Limousine Line luxury vehicles, can take you to meet Harry, plus a couple of friendly alpacas and a few chickens if you ask kindly.

Finally, our busy day ended high above Queenstown in a Cessna Caravan operated by Air Milford. We were meant to fly to Milford Sound, 35 minutes away by air, but the weather closed in and we had to settle for a quick trip over the Shotover Canyon, mountains and lakes.

They call the mountains The Remarkables – surely a description which is a fitting description for all that Queenstown has to offer.

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