Queenstown, New ZealandNovember 3, 2017 in New Zealand
Travel and shopping day. We left our lovely camp site at Henry's Creek (near Te Anau) and headed to Queenstown.
Travel and shopping day. We left our lovely camp site at Henry's Creek (near Te Anau) and headed to Queenstown.
We both must have been exhausted last night because after deciding to watch a TV show before bed, the next thing I knew I was waking up gone midnight, curtains all open and feeling groggy. I think our heads had barely hit the pillow before we fell asleep. It's a good thing though because today was a day of driving. We set off at around 10am, stopping to refuel and pump up the tyres before leaving town for the long journey ahead.
Once again we drove the Haast Pass. The sun was out for us again so the views going back were pretty much the same as before, still beautiful.
We stopped at the Blue Pools on route as we had missed this before and we watched people jump into the freezing water below from the swing bridge. The water here is a gorgeous turquoise blue, hence the name, and those flat round stones are once again everywhere, perfect for skimming. Rob as usual skimmed perfectly and managed to get a few to the other side of the river.
Rob contemplated jumping in, he really wanted to but we still had ages to drive and it meant a trip back to the car for the only just dried out swim shorts, also I don't think the thought of driving for the rest of the day wet and cold was too appealing (or he is just chicken like me).
I built a tower out of the flat rocks to join the others whilst Rob filmed my efforts via time lapse, it was way harder than I had anticipated and it's quite an amusing video to watch back as I keep rearranging the rocks.
Once in Wanaka I decided I was hungry but couldn't bare another peanut butter and jam sandwich. I wish so much we had something else! After sitting for some time trying not to admit that I just wanted to just spend some money on some nice food, and Rob somehow managing not to get too annoyed with me, we eventually found a place I could get some nice slow cooked lamb and delicious salad.
After this it was on to Queenstown...Finally a new stretch of road! The first stretch of road surprised us with another strange roadside oddity, a fence full of bras. So so many! Apparently they have tried to remove them but it fills uo.again so quickly they have given up. No idea how it started but now they seem to be trying to raise breast cancer awareness. Very odd and obviously had to take a snap.
After a shirt while on the flat we took the Crown Range Road, which has the highest point of any main road in New Zealand, just over 1000m so Rob wasn't impressed at all! The view was stunning though. The mountains all opened up into a huge Valley basin and you could make out some of queenstown in the distance. It was beautiful, gorgeous little rolling hills in the valley that shone with a golden hour glow, sheep and hay bails and the Lake in the distance.
The next part of the drive was downhill and we had read it could be a bit tricky with lots of hairpins so we were prepared for it to be a bit if a mission. It really wasn't hard at all though, especially after some of the winding and unsealed West coast roads. The hairpins were hairpins, but they weren't hidden and so we're easy to manoeuvre. I can understand in winter that it wouldn't be great, they get snow falls too, but right now it was just a really great view.
We drove through the main town on route to the camp. Civilisation like we haven't seen in days! An actual countdown supermarket, a McDonald's, and just actual shops! It is a serious tourist town and it is so clear from the minute you get there. Nice lakeside apartments and hotels and so many shops and eateries. I know I loved it here last time so hopefully our wander through town tomorrow will be nice, at the moment it is a but of a shock to see so many people!
We have just enjoyed (I use the term loosely) a tomato and beef soup sauce with noodles and rice pudding for dessert. Turns out creamy chicken soups with rice taste good but strange stew style sound are not good with anything.
Bed time now..looks to be a clear sky so fingers crossed for some star gazing.Read more
Cold and absolutely clear skies, looking forward to a beaut day. No deadlines so we had a leisurely start and headed off to Queenstown, only after visiting the local craft market (only small purchases) and the community book fair (1 book bought). That done we embarked on the 1 1/2 hour trip back thru the Southlands, plenty of traffic going south, many had fishing boats attached, ready for a long weekend of fishing. Saw someone being booked by the police for what we think was unauthorised camping on the side of the road. Went past farms with cattle, sheep & deer, no dairy down this far south. Apparently the deer are used for meat, antlers & velvet from the antlers.
Stopped a few times for scenic photos and smoko by the lake, wind had picked up and the lake had some nice waves happening. Only saw 1 fishing boat out.
Got into Queenstown and went directly to our van park, about 4 km north of town. After checking in and having lunch at our picnic table, we were ready for action.
A 10 min walk down the road took us to the Shotover Jetboats, the shallow hulled jet boats that produce over 700 HP and travel in about 10cm water. Simon & I queued up with 10 other unsuspecting citizens, put on splash jackets, life vests & before we know it we are in the boat and our pilot gives us a 15 sec safety rundown then says to put on our seat belts. Everyone looking & the pilot laughs, there aren't any! He says he will do a bit of a spin and everyone wave, for the cameras. Then he gives it the full throttle and takes us on 25 mins of awe inspiring water action, getting up to 90km/hr through canyons just wider than the boat and regularly throwing some 360 degree spins, at full throttle. We went down river for about 10 mins, there was only about 1 minute when we were going in a straight line, whenever there was a bend or choice of travel, he would take the shallowist or riskiest route, closest to the banks, rocks, logs or whatever obstacle he couldn throw the boat around. No wonder this is rated as the most exciting ride in this town. 10 mins back up the river, past our starting point until about 500 m along, it was all rocks, so he turns for home and for a bit of extra fun, does another pass thru the canyon & another couple of 360s.
It was freezing cold but no-one cared but it was just so exciting, probably the biggest adrenaline thing I have ever done.
Michelle & Sue waited on top and got some great photos and I think secretly they wished they had come along (probably not!).
We then caught the free shuttle bus into town, where all the people were returning from their day's fun, it was really starting to get going, being a Sat night on a long weekend, plenty of young people about ready to party.
These more mature folk hit the supermarket, bought some supplies & caught a cab back to the van park as the temp had dropped to about 3c as the sun went down
The van park has a superb amenities block, complete with a wood fire which we stoked right up while we went over the day's action.
Followed dinner with a few hands of cards and finished off some wine & coffee.
Re-met some fellow travellers that we have seen in other parks & events. Minus 1c when we turned in.
Later that night Michelle and Simon snuggled safely in their bed when the door opens!! It is trueabout the van hopping in trailor parks, after some convincing Sue was sent back to their van next door. She now has her official trailor trash badge.
Weather was magnificent, cold and fine, max about 12c
* superb scenery on route to Queenstown
* Shotover Jetboats
* Queenstown top 10 holiday park.Read more
Just Queenstown today
Had a leisurely breakfast while we enjoyed the fresh crisp morning, officially -1c but chill factor of -5c.
So when the frost had lifted a little we took the van park shuttle bus into town for our 11.30 Segway tour.
Plenty of people about doing stuff on the water while we stayed on dry land. The Segway people picked us up in a mini van and took us to a carpark, about 1km away where we were "trained" in the dark art of Segway riding. After we had read & signed a disclaimer, absolving them in case we ran over over any pedestrians. Funny how the jetboats were much more dangerous but no disclaimers there.
Sue decided it was not for her and decided to wander the town on foot rather than on 2 wobbly wheels. The rest of us (7 of us) zoomed around until we thought we wee pretty good, only Simon & Michelle had done this before, so they were just showing off.
Ready for real world we set off at a sedate pace, weaving thru pedestrians, shopping centres & stopping along the way for our guides to give us a few bits of info about Queenstown.
They told us that Queenstown is based on 4 "rushes", the 1st was the Greenstone /Jade by the Maori, then the Gold Rush in the 1800s, then the White rush, the snow and ski influx and now it is the Adrenaline Rush, with all the action sports both winter & summer.
Did 1 uphill & 1 downhill, then they upped our speed limiters a bit to 12km/hr. We went around the bay, thru some suburban streets and up into the botanical gardens where we stopped and the guides showed us how to play frisbee golf. The gardens have an 18 hole course. Looks like fun.
Continued back through the warf area, thru the crowds, waving at Sue as we wizzed by. Then they increased our max speed to 20km/hr for the final jaunt home, returning to the gravel carpark and handing back these great little machines. Bundled back into the van and dropped off back into town where we met up with Sue.
On recommendation we headed straight to the most famous burger joint in NZ, Fergburgers who make 20 different types of hamburger. As it was 2.30pm, we were lucky there was only a 20 min wait, apparently in summer there is a 2 hour wait. Finally lucked a table just before our order was ready, just as well as they are very hard to eat standing up, without about 6 paper towels each. I had the plain burger, the others had the same with bacon & avocado. We all agreed it was most likely the best burger we had ever eaten. Yummo!
After that culinary extravagance we had a nice long walk around the CBD before the cold drove us into a pub for a warm seat & a cold drink. As it was getting on to dark, we went up to the gardens where there was an electric light show, using light to highlight the natural park features or create their own. Very nice, would be lovely at night but we would have frozen by then.
Walked back to Fergburgers, the bakery side this time and bought some delicious pies & pastries for our last supper in NZ. Got some wine to wash it down with to complete the scene.
Took the shuttle bus back to the van park, grabbed the chairs next to fire and shared our spoils while picking out our own individual highlights / memorable moments from our fantastic trip.
Weather was sparkling cold and crystal clear, max about 10c
* Segway tour around the bay,
* Fergburgers burgers for lunch,
* Fergburgers pies etc for dinner,
* casual walk around Queenstown
* nice warm log fire, wine, dinner & a good ol chat between friends (still) and travelling companions.Read more
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