Tour of South Island – Day 6
Saturday 12th February
We agreed with Peter and Margie to visit Queenstown separately so Bill and I packed up the camp and drove into town. Queenstown is described as the adventure capital of the world and one of the brightest diamonds in New Zealand’s jewel studded crown – humm, I’m not sure I would go that far but it certainly had a lot going on. Nestled on the northeastern shores of Lake Wakatipu Queenstown was formerly a gold-mining town but now relies on tourism. It offers a host of exhilarating activities from jet boating to bungy-jumping and skiing in the winter.
After parking the car the first thing we came across was the local church’s farmers market. These are always very well organised with lots of examples of local produce on display and for sale. We bought some locally growth fruit and homemade cakes. The church had a beautiful flower display inside.
We walked along the waterfront to the peninsular gardens established in 1867. Trees and flower gardens cover a small promontory with paths leading through the gardens out onto the waters edge. There were fabulous views across Lake Wakatipu to the Remarkables range.
We watched the TSS Earnslaw arrive on the waterfront. It offers trips across the lake but as with a lot of things in New Zealand it’s beyond the cruising budget. We walked along the waterfront and watched the jet boat going out onto a fairly rough lake as it was blowing a good F5/6, which was creating quite a chop. It was only out a few minutes before it came back in to let someone off who had already been seasick. We decided with that and our bad backs it wasn’t for us neither was bungy jumping. (Sorry Paul and Derry we failed!)
One thing we did treat ourselves to was a ride on the skyline Gondola. Opened in 1967 you are whisked up 450m in small gondolas that takes just four minutes. The views from the viewing platform across the town and lake to the Remarkables were breathtaking.
There’s a further chairlift that takes you higher and you have the option of walking back down or taking the Luge ….
…. So we had a go
We had arranged to meet Peter and Margie at a different campsite that was quite a way out of town next to a lake. When we got there it was very crowded and the only facilities it had was one compost toilet, so we went back to the same campsite we had been in the previous night but didn’t camp next to the lake this time so as not to upset the ranger.