Top Aussie model Lara Bingle made a high-profile arrival at the Queenstown Winter Festival yesterday. And then she did it all again. And again.
Travellers at the resort's airport were baffled when the blonde was greeted at the terminal by celebrity dancer Hayley Holt, the former squeeze of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, and a film crew, which presumably explained the multiple arrivals.
Holt is believed to be hosting Bingle, best known as the face of the "Where the bloody hell are ya?" tourism promotion and for dating Aussie cricket captain (then vice-captain) Michael Clarke.
Bingle's Sydney-based fashion designer boyfriend Gareth Moody was keeping a low profile as she jetted in to shoot scenes for her new Australian reality TV show Being Lara Bingle.
She is also filming for Air New Zealand's "Kiwi Sceptics" promotional campaign, which aims to overcome Aussies' reluctance to holiday across the ditch.
Bingle said she was something of a Kiwi Sceptic, having never spent time here. When she is not taking in Queenstown's bars and restaurants, she will hang out on the ski slopes.
"We are thrilled to be working with Lara and our friends at Destination Queenstown," an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said. "Queenstown is one of the jewels in New Zealand's crown and we are hoping Lara's daredevil nature will showcase what Queenstown has to offer."
Bingle looked remarkably bright when she flew in, considering she had come straight from her 25th birthday bash at Sydney's trendy Carriageworks venue on Friday night.
The festival kicked off on Friday evening with a party for 12,000 revellers on the resort's waterfront.
A line-up of local music acts entertained the crowds, who also enjoyed a spectacular fireworks display.
Organiser Simon Green said he was delighted with the opening ceremony.
"The turnout was fantastic, everyone was having a good time and looked excited about the festival getting under way," he said. "It was also great to see our local entertainers up on the big stage to showcase the amazing calibre of talent we have in Queenstown."
Bad weather closed Coronet Peak skifield yesterday and two events on the mountain had to be rescheduled for today.
However, the fun continued downtown with a schedule of events, including the street parade.By Russell Blackstock Email Russell