New Zealand

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Top 10 Travel Destinations Fernhill

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56 travelers at this place

  • Day61

    Day 61/72: Mountain Biking!

    December 27, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Today we wanted to hire mountain bikes and explore the surrounding area. Mountain biking is huge in Queenstown, they're everywhere, and we wanted to see what the fuss was about. Tom went for a run first thing and then we both did a circuit on a sports field near the campsite, watching paragliders soar overhead. It really is a very adventurous place to be.

    Feeling very refreshed, we went into town to the Fergbaker bakery, which is the best and only real bakery we've found in the whole of New Zealand so far. Bread seems to be really awful from most bakeries over here for some reason compared to the UK, but ah well this place was the best we've found. We got some supplies for the day and then headed to the mountain bike hire shop. We chatted to the guy and decided to hire them in the early afternoon, so spent the morning chilling in the town, searching for a top that Izzi wanted and drinking coffee next to the lake.

    We picked up the mountain bikes and headed off on our chosen route. It was great fun cycling again and for the first 8km or so it was either road, or what would be "steep cliff path only for walkers" in the UK, which made for tricky cycling! The next bit up to the top of a good downhill section was all switchback turns up a hill, and Izzi had a strop halfway up when she realised she'd bitten off more than she could chew, and vowed as she pushed her bike up the hill to do more cycling in Guernsey (this was in retrospect, at the time she vowed never to get on a bike again and was much more unreasonable).

    We then went down the track which popped us out just opposite a bike park. We spent the next few hours here, on the hills on the edge of the lake, riding the tracks through the forest and generally wearing ourselves out at the steepness of the tracks and how rutted they were. We rode back later that evening feeling exhausted but pleased with the days efforts, it was a great place to ride.

    That evening we got changed and headed out into town to go for our first evening meal out in quite a long time. We found a steak restaurant which had great reviews so decided to go there. We ordered 2 very reasonable steaks (some of them were veeeery pricey) but when the waitress arrived and gave us the food, something seemed wrong. She had said the correct meals as she put the plates down, but Izzi had received a HUGE fillet (like really huge) that somewhat differed to the rump that we thought she'd be getting, and that the waitress had said, and Tom received something that nether of us knew straight away but thought was a sirloin. Not wanting to question the waitresses judgement, we tucked in happily. It was a fantastic meal! We only realised at the end of the meal, that the table next to us seemed to have much smaller steaks, that looked suspiciously like what we should have had as they had ordered the same things as us. We were worried that the bill would be sky high but luckily it was just as we'd ordered and we left feeling pleased yet confused, wondering if someone had received our meal instead of their own...
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  • Day48

    Letzter Tag Queenstown

    February 13, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Unser letzter Tag in Queenstown ist nun fast um. Schade, dass wir dieses schöne Fleckchen Erde wieder verlassen müssen, aber die Freude auf das kommende ist genauso groß. Da Verena heute morgen Paragliding gemacht hat bin ich alleine auf Tour. Durch Zufall habe ich einen echt schönen Track direkt am See entlang entdeckt, der mich zu einem Strand Namens Sunshine Bay Beach gebracht hat. Es war einfach traumhaft dort. Keine Menschenseele da außer zwei Mädels mit ihren SUPs und ich. Ein richtiger Geheimtipp scheint der Strand zu sein und das, obwohl man direkten Zugang mit dem Auto hätte.Read more

  • Day17

    Feb 7 - Queenstown - action central!

    February 7, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 5 °C

    A full day, at least until 5:15 p.m., all to myself. I had breakfast with Tony and Shannon. When they scuttled off to do a canyon tour, I moved one table over and continued eating with Jennifer and David who, like me, are taking advantage of some free time. After I had eaten twice, Ian pointed out to me that there is a pancake machine. I will be all over that baby tomorrow morning.

    The sun was making a good effort to break through the clouds, so I headed back down Heart Attack Hill to the gondola ride with my discount coupon clenched in my hand. I travelled up the gondola to Bob’s Peak with a lovely couple from Brisbane who have been here for a week. The views from the observation deck at the top of Lake Wakatipu and Cecil Peak and Walter Peak were glorious. (I’m running out of adjectives and superlatives to describe the views here in NZ.) The jade green of the water is mesmerizing. The top of this hill is a beehive of activity - luging (like I did in Rotorua), bungee jumping, zip lining, mountain biking (lots of Go Pro cameras on those dare devils), and paragliding. I had never seen paragliding up close before. I drank in the views again and again, and finally headed back down on the gondola, turning down the opportunity to do the 5.5 hour hike down the side of the mountain.

    On my way back to the downtown area of Queenstown, I saw the iFly building. iFly is indoor sky diving - it’s done in a huge tube with wind rushing up from the bottom. My son John’s girlfriend Sheila’s father, Trevor (got that???) flies all over the world overseeing the installation of these facilities to ensure that all the safety standards for equipment and training are met. iFly welcomes spectators - I saw a young girl try it and then the expert did a short show with seemingly effortless agility.

    I picked up lunch at the grocery store (more of those milk chocolate Whittakers bars climbed into my bag…..) and found myself a spot on the waterfront in the glorious sunshine. I watched jet skiing, jet boating, paddle boating, stand up paddling, kayaking, sailing and just plain boating. Overhead, I’m sure there was parachuting happening. Queenstown is just an adventure mecca. Afterwards, I kept walking along the waterfront which brought me into the Queenston Botanical Gardens. I watched a group of young men playing frisbee/disc golf - another sport I had never seen. I walked all along the shoreline and then headed inland where I found the Rose Garden. The blooms are a tad past their prime, but I found a couple of gems. Roses in February - what a treat. I trundled back down to the entrance via the duck pond and the fountain and the band shell. I headed home, back up Heart Attack Hill and was glad to kick off my shoes - 8 miles for today. Guess I earned those Whittaker bars.

    We are heading across the lake this evening to have a barbecue dinner. Won't be back until late. Tomorrow, we will be staying overnight on a ship in Doubtful Sound. No internet there, so I won't be posting again until Sunday. So, don't worry about me!
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  • Day17

    Feb 7 - Walter Peak High Country Farm

    February 7, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    We are heading out on Lake Wakatipu tonight on the TSS Earnslaw, a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer to go to a special. It is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Central Otago, and the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere.

    Our destination was Walter Peak High Country Farm. The original homestead house of this 64,000 acre spread is surrounded by gorgeous gardens. We enjoyed a fabulous buffet dinner with food as far as the eye could see - there was beef, fish, lamb, chicken and pork - all raised in the area. There was even a candy bar in the dessert sector with huge glass jars full of jelly beans and marshmallows and chocolate treats.

    There are three species farmed at Walter Peak. The Merino is bred only for its wool which is some of the finest, softest and most luxurious in the world. The Romney, a distinct New Zealand breed, produces meat and coarse wool ideal for textiles. The Corriedale, a cross between the merino and other long-wool breeds, is a dual-purpose breed also.

    After dinner, we enjoyed a sheep shearing demonstration - this one wasn’t quite as glitzy and hyped-up as the one we saw at the Agrodome. The farm is a working farm with 20,000 sheep and some cattle. Our host gave a sheep her very first hair cut. Sheep are sheared twice in their first year, and then yearly after that. The first shearing encourages the animal to put on weight to replace the warmth of the fleece. Since these sheep are raised both for their wool and their meat, double shearing is an important step in staying financially viable in a market where wool prices can vary greatly from year to year.

    Then we got to see Ace and Leo herd some sheep down from the side of the mountain. Merino sheep are happier on mountains than on flat plains. Different breeds of dogs have different abilities. Ace, a border collie, is fast and able to bound up the mountain side to get to the sheep and then to start heading them downhill using eye contact instead of barking. Leo (a huntaway) is a loud barker and is best in smaller, tighter quarters. He was able to get the sheep that last little distance into the pen. A farm will typically have 8-10 working dogs - they are critical to the success of this high country farm.

    We got back on the steamer and plied our way back across the lake. Some people joined in the loud, raucous sing-along. Some of us were partied out. It had been another good day here in NZ.
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  • Day16

    Feb 5 - The Coast and Glacier Country

    February 6, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    We drove for about 2 hours to the little coastal town of Hokitika for a lunch break. We had the chance to visit a shop selling New Zealand greenstone - it’s like jade. I don’t need more jewelry so I tried some other stores. I found a sweet little glass blue penguin instead. Hokitika is noted for its driftwood sculptures - found one that spells the name of the town. Cool. I splurged on Hoki Poki ice cream, despite that thin milk not doing its job.

    From there, we headed south towards Fox Glacier. In this part of New Zealand, life is dominated by water - rainfall, glacial water feed, landslides, flooding streams and rivers, bridges, viaducts - you name, it's here. The landscape is ever-changing because of the continual effects of water.

    The road twisted and turned and rose and fell, giving us unending panoramic views of the mountains and valleys and rivers. We saw many scars on the sides of the hills where landslides have occurred - many of them cutting off the only road in the area. Road building and maintenance and repair is an art form in this country. There was a vicious rain storm in December - there was stark evidence of the damage that it did.

    We did a quick comfort stop (Linda knows every loo in NZ) in Hari Hari. This little town's claim to fame is that it was here that Guy Menzies landed in 1931 - he was the first person to fly solo from Australia/Sydney to New Zealand - and at the age of 21 at that.

    We eventually got into the little town of Fox Glacier - we are only here one night. We have rooms with balconies that overlook the mountains. We are hoping that the cloud cover will lift so we can see the actual Fox Glacier tomorrow.
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  • Day16

    Feb 6 - Jet Boating!

    February 6, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Happy Waitangi Day everyone! This is the anniversary of the signing of the Waitangi Treaty - the birth of the country of New Zealand, on Feb 6, 1840. Happy 180th birthday!!

    Nine of us were up early and ready to go at 7:30 a.m. Our hoped-for adventure of a helicopter ride over and a landing on the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers got scuttled by heavy, low cloud. Too bad - it would have been a cool experience.

    So, off we went for another adventure - the Haast River Safari. The trip there was full of more spectacular views, especially those of the Tasman Sea at Bruce Bay.

    We all climbed on the jet boat, donned our yellow life vests, and wondered what was in store. Lee, our driver, treated us to a trip along the Haast River which has forest-covered mountains on both sides, dotted with numerous waterfalls. He kept up, as we have come to expect of Kiwis, a steady banter about the river and his adventures driving on it. The trip concluded with a couple of spin outs. Lots of whoops and hollers for those!
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  • Day16

    Feb 6 - Heading to Queenstown

    February 6, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Nine of us were up early and ready to go at 7:30 a.m. Our hoped-for adventure of a helicopter ride over and a landing on the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers got scuttled by heavy, low cloud. Too bad - it would have been a cool experience.

    So, off we went for another adventure - the Haast River Safari. The trip there was full of more spectacular views, especially those of the Tasman Sea at Bruce Bay.

    We all climbed on the jet boat, donned our yellow life vests, and wondered what was in store. Lee, our driver, treated us to a trip along the Haast River which has forest-covered mountains on both sides, dotted with numerous waterfalls. He kept up, as we have come to expect of Kiwis, a steady banter about the river and his adventures driving on it. The trip concluded with a couple of spin outs. Lots of whoops and hollers for those!

    We continued our trip south. Linda kept us entertained with stories about adventurers who explored this part of NZ and opened it up for settlement. Every couple of minutes, there was another canyon or river. We passed the point where the two tectonic plates meet and have actually split the rock formations. New Zealand lies at the edge of both the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates. To the northeast of New Zealand, and underneath North Island, the Pacific Plate is moving towards, and being subducted below the Australian Plate. To the south of New Zealand, and underneath Fiordland, the two plates are also moving toward each other but here the Australian Plate is being subducted under the Pacific Plate.

    The landscape changed from dense forests and mountains to plains where sheep and cattle farming are done. We got into another wine area with vineyards climbing up the mountain sides. The area is also noted for its apricot and cherry harvests.

    Beautiful Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea with their emerald green waters enchanted us. Our eyes and minds are stuffed full of these glorious views.

    The landscape changed yet again - this time there was almost no vegetation on the upper slopes. We came to Arrowtown, a historic gold mining town in the Otago region. Gold was found in the Arrow River in 1862, and a township of 1,000 miners soon sprang up. It was initially named Fox's, based on William Fox's claim to have been first to find gold there, but was soon renamed Arrowtown. At the high point of the gold rush the population of Arrowtown rose to over 7,000 and it became the center of a larger municipality, which covered the new settlements of Macetown, Skippers Canyon and Bullendale (today only ghost towns). Today, the population is about 2,500 and it has many well-preserved buildings used by European and Chinese immigrants dating from the gold mining days of the town. We had a chance to explore the museum that captured the many aspects of the gold mining heyday of the town.

    From there, it was a short drive to our final destination of the day - Queenstown on beautiful Lake Wakatipu. This is where adventure seekers gravitate - here, you can enjoy kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, parasailing, paragliding, sky diving, mountain biking, tramping (aka hiking), jet boating, and bungee jumping. The world's first permanent commercial bungee site, the Kawarau Bridge Bungy at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge near Queenstown was opened by New Zealander, A J Hackett.

    Queenstown lies close to the centre of a small wine producing region, reputed to be the world's southernmost. The Two Paddocks vineyard is owned by internationally known local actor Sam Neill.

    The town is awash in tourists - there would be more if flights from China were still coming into New Zealand - they have been suspended due to the coronavirus. Fully one-quarter of all tourism business in New Zealand comes from China.

    Our hotel is modelled after ski lodges in Canada - mine has a couch and a huge TV. Still missing my bed buddy. I walked downtown and found the grocery store. I got a big salad, some fruit, milk and oooops, how did that Whittakers milk chocolate bar get in my bag??? I climbed back up Heart Attack Hill and dined Chez Hotel Room. It’s been a long day. Had a good video chat with Doug. He’s working his way through all of Auckland’s museums and getting a LOT of reading done.

    I have tomorrow to myself until 5:15 p.m. There is going to be some sleeping in to get the day started!
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  • Day20


    February 25, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    In Queenstown haben wir vier Nächte in einem Airbnb verbracht und dort hauptsächlich die Wohnung und die schöne Aussicht genossen. Außerdem sind wir auf den Queenstown Hill gewandert, waren im Lake Wakatipu schwimmen und waren abends in Bars.Read more

  • Day7


    November 13, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 6 °C

    I decided to juggle an Issy long run adventure, along the lake this morning, I can't think of a better way to say goodbye to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the South Island.

    I had the trial for myself most of the time... running free with a happy heart, surrounded by beauty. Thrilled when I randomly discovered the flowers I saw on postcards and ads about New Zealand.

    It's wonderful to know I don't have to worry about safety here. I had my phone with me but more to check out google maps in case I get lost.

    My quads slowed me down on the hills but I am forgiving, they covered quite some distance with the hike.

    ( It's great to travel in a first world country where you pop a local vodafone simcard in your phone & 2G fast data is included in the $29)
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