There are lots of touristy things to do in Queenstown. We did most of them. Some of our favorites were zip lining - some of us overcame great fears to get through this one. It was a great experience and we all loved it at the end of the day.
|talented Adrian shot the platform as he zipped along|
The gondola ride up the mountain to the luge ride was wonderful and afforded us some great views. We all tried the luge. Abigail unfortunately did not quite have the hang of turning so had quite a spectacular crash - I was behind her in my luge and was able to stop, drag her car into the grass (an Asian man crashed into us during this process but none of us was hurt) and then Abigail and I rode together the rest of the way down. We made another run in tandem and had some laughs, all trauma forgotten until someone would listen to her tell the tale...
|from the zipline|
We went a few times to a small town close by called Arrowtown. Gold was discovered there 150 years ago. It is a charming town and was gorgeous with the fall colors in full view. We did some window shopping, had lunch, went to the Arrowtown museum. On the day that we were there we noticed that there seemed to be a large police presence on the streets, very strange in such a small quaint town. We had seen the lower level of the museum and came up to the main level to leave and there were 100+ Asian people with a few non-Asians in the main area of the museum. Adrian had his jacket over his arm and received lots of serious once-overs from men in dark suits, neck ties, ear microphones and large axillary bulges. Come to find out the #4 Chinese leader was there with a very large entourage of body guards, security people, support staff, etc. We read about it in the paper the following day, strange to be in the middle of that...
|riverside walk in Arrowtown|
|Arrowtown's Chinatown - dwellings of gold miners|
|sky over Queenstown - WOW!|
We found a painting in a shop in Arrowtown that we both loved so to commemorate our SI trip we bought it. We asked the shopkeeper about the artist and she said that we should stop in and see him on our way back to Queenstown. She gave him - Angus Watson - a call and with directions in hand off we went. Gus has built his own home and has a cabin for rent at the back of his property. It was very charming and inspirational as was Gus. Gus had an accident some years ago and is now a paraplegic. He had painted recreationally all of his life but his accident brought him to his painting full-time (the silver lining!! we think). We have since bought another of his works and really enjoy having them in the room where we spend most of our time (I can see them from the kitchen). We were quite taken with Gus and his charm, the home he has built, his artwork and gardens. We hope to see him again before we leave.
One of the most incredible things we were able to experience was a flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound followed by a cruise to the entrance of the sound and flight back. We booked a trip with Glenorchy Air - a wonderful, knowledgeable family-owned outfit that we would highly recommend. After getting suited up in inflatable life jackets and being assured that they had never needed them the four of us boarded an Australian Airvan - no, really, that is the name of it! Off we went. It was a gorgeous day and the views were unbelievable. We flew over places where the Lord of the Rings was filmed. We flew past glaciers and glacier streams, waterfalls and then landed on an air strip in Glenorchy. Our passenger boarded - an Italian University graduate on a 5 week holiday before starting work - and off we went to Milford Sound. I will not go on about the views but spectacular does not do it justice. We boarded the ship for our cruise through the Sound. We were escorted by dolphins and saw so many waterfalls and gorgeous sights. The photos will give you some idea. We flew back via Glenorchy and were taken over some of the largest glaciers. We say one where two helicopters had landed and they looked like mosquitos because of the vastness of the glacier. WOW! This will certainly be a memory for all of us to treasure.
|Milford Sound from the air|
|for Daddy and Big Dave|
|Pilot Richard, Co-Pilot Adrian|
|coming in to Glenorchy's grass strip|
Lord of the Rings site
|glacier from above|
|Lord of the Rings site|
|Queenstown landing strip|
Adrian played golf at Jack's Point. It is a really nice course with its own spectacular views. He really enjoyed it! Probably half a dozen times during the three hours that he played planes took off and dumped out people overhead. He heard the screaming and saw the chutes opening and coming down. Awesome!
oh and happy birthday daddy!!!