While our budget (and my head for heights) won’t allow us to do anything really
stupid fun like jump out of a plane or off a bridge, we were determined to make the most of our time in Queenstown. Yesterday we headed into town and had an amazing coffee to wake us up after the worst night’s sleep in NZ so far – will be sure to name and shame the hostel once we don’t have to stay here any longer! I was not in the best mood after very little sleep, so we opted to leave the Jetboat trip a day, and instead went up the Skyline Gondola to get the best views over Queenstown, and to have a go at the Luge. So much fun!
I was still a little grumpy when we got to the top, but as soon as we got on the luge ride we both cheered right up. We both went on the scenic route first and made a bit of a race of it, although I won by a mile after Rob accidentally stopped completely, laughing too much at me overtaking at speed, crying “shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!” as I passed him. Rob won the second round on the advanced course, and we both had a laugh at how serious we looked in the photo-finish captures that were up on the screen at the end.
The views from the Skyline centre were amazing, even though the clouds meant that we didn’t get a great shot of the Remarkables.
Later in the day we went and tried the famous Fergburger, which was really really good, and massive. Considering the hype about it, and the constant queue of people that they have, the price was really reasonable. It was so good in fact that we went back today for a post Jetboat lunch.
This morning we got picked up bright and early from our hostel. We had been told to wrap up warmly and it was pretty cold, although the clouds had decided to like us and cleared so that we had beautiful blue skies all morning for some great photo opportunities. We were driven out of the town and up into the hills, along the Shotover River where the more famous Jetboat company run. We opted to go with Skipper’s Canyon company instead, who used the same river but further north, and for the same price included nearly two hours of 4wd touring around the gold-rush area and… my favourite part, visited Lord of the Rings film locations. We almost didn’t pick it because of the 4wd/offroad part, still a little nervous after the bus incident in Nepal, but I am so glad that we did because it was brilliant.
Within moments of leaving the main road we came over a hill and there, against a backdrop of mountains stood a real life herder (cowboy!) with his horse and dogs. I thought for a second that he might have been a cutout (there had been a cartoon one earlier to mark a goldmine), but he was real and worked out in the remote farms.
The rest of the drive was just so impressive, and we took so many photos of the scenery, and heard a little about how the whole area had been busy during the gold mining period, but how only six people lived out there now.
When we got to the river we got kitted up in some pretty awesome looking protective gear, and then got on the Jetboat for the fun bit. Wow, those things go fast, and the driver had a great time doing 360 spins and getting us really really close to the edge of the rockface. I loved it, got thrown around a fair bit so had to hold on very tightly to the bars in front, but it was the best and most exciting thing we’ve done here. Rob just laughed the whole way and came out with his hair standing almost on end!
We only have a couple of photos from the actual boat unfortunately, as we only took the small camera which died after a few minutes. As such I didn’t get a photo of the Ford of Bruinen (the bit from the 1st film where Arwen makes a flood to destroy the horses and save Frodo (not quite what happens in the book by the way)). However, on the way back to town the driver took us to a bridge right near there for a photo opportunity so I have some but from a different angle.
Anyway, that is about it for our time in Queenstown. The purpose of this place seems to be fun, which we have definitely had. Tomorrow morning we leave bright and early to go to Milford Sound – the place that made me want to visit New Zealand in the first place. We have a couple of days there to hopefully go out on a boat, maybe even do some walking or canoeing, although there is currently a weather warning for gale-force wind in the Fjords, so we will have to wait and see!
Nic & Rob