Air New Zealand certainly make it easy to visit South America - within 12 hours we were in Buenos Aires. From our base in the Recoletta area of this fascinating city, we played two rounds of golf, toured the city, attended the All Blacks vs Pumas rugby match and spent a day on an Estancia, a ranch where we were shown the skills of the Gaucho’s and enjoyed a great BBQ lunch. Many of us also rode a horse there for the first time in many years! We even visited the Cemetery where Eva Peron rests - more interesting than you would imagine!
Our next stop was Cordoba, where we played another two rounds of golf, one of which was my favourite, the Potrerillo de Larreta Golf & Country Club. A stunning course, which was topped off with an Al Fresco dinner overlooking the course as the sun went down. Next, we flew to the north of the country to visit the very impressive Iguazu Falls. They are a huge tourist attraction and it is easy to see why. We visited the various different viewing positions for the Falls on the Argentinian side then took a jet boat ride into the falls. The water coming down on top of you is overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time and of course you emerge completely soaked through to the skin! The surprise for us was going through the border to view the Falls from the Brazilian side, giving very different vistas and overview of the area. A definite highlight.
Mendoza was our next stop, where we got our first views of the Andes. Visiting a wine growing area means a winery tour is a must and here we experienced one with a difference – firstly a museum that showed the progression of wine making from the 1500’s and then lunch with the vineyards' wines paired with the menu. One of the courses we played (or tried to play) here was the Tupungato Winelands Golf Course, situated 1,200 metres above sea level that has an exciting oval layout around a hill. We were unlucky with the weather here as the day before our visit it had been 20c, but a southerly came through and the temperature at this level dropped to 4c and with the rain, made conditions for golfing very unpleasant and meant that we only played a few holes before the cold and wet drove us indoors. Fortunately the weather cleared quickly, as the next day we took the pass over the Andes to Chile and Santiago. Whilst snow had fallen, the roads were clear and the sun shone in a clear blue sky, making the mountainous scenery even more spectacular. We stopped just after the border crossing for lunch and after a while we certainly noticed that we were at 4,000 metres above sea level, as some of us were quite breathless! (or was it the scenery?!)
Santiago seemed a modern, clean city and our city tour showed us many of the highlights. Our final round of golf was played here and all too soon, we were homeward bound.
If you would like to join us for next year's visit to Argentina and Chile, when you can explore these countries in a safe and organised way, we will have the details up on the website as soon as the All Blacks date and location of their match there is made known.