DECEMBER

SHARE

• Melbourne’s Western Bulldogs Aussie Rules team enjoys a week-long training and adventure camp in Queens­town. Manager James Fantasia isn’t ruling out a return: “It’s affordable, number one, but number two, this place offers up so many options that it’s just been fantastic.”

Mountain Scene correctly tips that Asia’s largest airline, China Southern, will announce it’s servicing New Zealand for the first time. Through Auckland Internat­ional Airport’s new strategic alliance with Queenstown Airport Corporation, the Wakatipu will benefit, QAC boss Steve Sanderson (above) says. “Currently only a small percentage of Asian tourists visit the South Island and we would love a slice of the over 85,000 additional seats these flights will bring to Queenstown.”

• Three paragliding pilots with Queenstown’s Fly Paragliding have their tandem ratings suspended temporarily following two major incidents in high winds. The pilots, including company owner Abe Laguna, were investigated by the New Zealand Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association’s disciplinary committee.

• French men Raphael Soubrier, 21, and Yoann Firdion, 24, perish while kayaking back to Queenstown on a choppy Lake Wakatipu after a climb on Cecil Peak. Some boat operators are critical of the police and Coastguard-led operation, saying rescue coordinators should listen to their advice once a search begins – and they should also be called as they’ll arrive before the Frankton-based Coastguard inflatable.

• Newly bankrupted property developer Dave Henderson (right) is represented by an empty chair at the opening of the 8km, $1.4 million Gibbston River Trail. Organisers were signalling he alone among 11 landowners hadn’t granted easement access. But Henderson – calling the Gibbston Valley Association’s gesture “mindless” and “childish” – says he’s “happy to have constructive discussions with anyone at any time about their ideas for the trail”.

• Environment Court judge Laurie Newhook indicates Queenstown jetboat company Kawarau Jet is likely to lose its long legal battle to block rival Thunder Jet from operating on the Kawarau River. The judgment finds Kawarau Jet’s opposition was “significantly motivated” by competition and accuses its original lead lawyer, Queens­towner Jim Castiglione, of advancing his case in a “completely inappropriate manner”.

• Queenstown stages NZ’s most important aviation conference – a meeting of chief executives and managers from 31 airlines, including host Air NZ. Delegates represent a third of the world’s airline revenues.