Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an APNZ reporter based in Christchurch.

John Key's expensive holiday tastes

Prime Minister John Key with Michael Hill at the Hills Golf Course in Queenstown in 2010. Photo / APN
Prime Minister John Key with Michael Hill at the Hills Golf Course in Queenstown in 2010. Photo / APN

Prime Minister John Key has revealed his expensive tastes when unwinding at his favourite holiday destination, Queenstown.

A weekend for Mr Key and his family runs into the thousands of dollars as he enjoys the finer things in life, and the best the adventure capital of the world has to offer.

After a $450 round of golf at The Hills and a change of clothes at the luxury Millbrook resort, he likes to tuck into free-range chicken with harissa and pancetta, washed down with glasses of award-winning local pinot noir.

The intimate details are revealed in a first person piece extolling the virtues of Queenstown in a major British paper.

Mr Key, who is also the Minister of Tourism, was asked by the Telegraph about his favourite aspects of the upmarket holiday resort.

He said that after 30 years of visiting the area, he had never tired of it.

"I usually visit about five times a year for conferences but I also try to spend at least one weekend there with my wife and children.''

The Hills golf club got a special mention, and if people could get past the expensive green fees, the course was "absolutely gorgeous'', Mr Key said.

His pick of places to stay was the exclusive Millbrook Resort, just out of Arrowtown.

"We're always delighted to welcome John Key to the Queenstown region so he can enjoy all that it has to offer. We look forward to having him back soon,'' said Millbrook head of operations Brian Howie.

And for a tipple, the prime minister recommended The Amisfield Winery - about 10 minutes from Queenstown.

"I've seen him here a few times,'' Amisfield's marketing manager Debbie Zampieri said.

"One night I was dining with my family, and my children were just fascinated, stopping in their tracks and thinking, `Hey, I know that guy'.

"He was with family friends and was just very relaxed, joking with the kids.

"We get quite a few different people from all walks of life come through. It's certainly a place they can relax and not feel that they're on show or anything like that.

"We're thrilled ... he feels comfortable to visit.''

The Botswana Butchery restaurant earned a thumbs up, with its "open fire on its terrace, made of the area's trademark schist rock''.

Russell Gray, spokesman for owners Good Group, were rapt with an endorsement from their famous guest who's visited "on a number of occasions''.

With a penchant for pinot and a shoulder of lamb, Mr Key has "got it pretty right'', Mr Gray said. "We like to think we have an environment where people can feel comfortable, almost as if they're in their own home.''

However, Mr Key said he avoided the new Nevis bungy jump.

"I went out and had a look and decided that definitely wasn't for me. I did a bungy jump in Queenstown about 20 years ago, but wouldn't be able to do another one now.''

He said his political staff did not think an image of him "diving off a bridge screaming'' would be great footage in case he ever had a big dip in the polls.

Mr Key told APNZ he tries to market New Zealand as a tourism destination every time he travels abroad.

"I took the opportunity while in the UK to tell people what I love about [Queenstown],'' he said.

"My family and I like to visit many places in New Zealand, but Queenstown is a favourite for all the reasons I stated in the article.''

- APNZ

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