Wednesday, February 15, 2017

South Island: Quintessential Queenstown

Our Queenstown trip was primarily done in two legs- one before we headed out to Milford sound and one on our return.
Queenstown, frankly is one of the prettiest towns we've visited. The whole town is settled around Lake Wakatipu. Wakatipu's waters are so clear, we could see almost right through to the bottom- despite it being almost 380 metres deep in places.
Clear waters of the Wakatipu
We took the million dollar cruise around the lake which started with the feeding of the rainbow trout by the captain of the boat. The trout, clearly loved their freebies and the captain then proceeded to take us around Queenstown... including the million-dollar plus houses that dotted the shores of the lake (hence the name of the cruise), but what really awed us was the view of the Remarkables.
Slightly rubbish weather, but the peaks of the Remarkables finally poked through

The million dollar houses along the lake

Another view once the weather cleared up a bit. 
Once we were done with the tour, we decided to drop in at the Fear Factory- supposedly New Zealand's scariest experience. They didn't let the little bossy baby in - she was considered too young, much to her displeasure. She clearly thought she was more than ready (the age recommendation is 15+) to take on whatever was thrown at here. So it was Pickwick and me  going in first, followed by the Baa-lamb, alone.
I'm not going to tell you what happened in there, but suffice to say I was rather hoarse from screaming and Pickwick had to admonish me several times for coarse language. Arun, apparently didn't fare much better (we saw the photographs of the screams) despite his denial of any such behaviour. If there was anyone who was fearless, it wasn't the adults.
Child 1's badge of honour. 
Fear factory. Totally worth it for the screams.

By this time, the bossy baby clearly had enough of everyone else having fun, so off we went to the Remarkable Sweet Shop for a free fudge tasting and buying some really amazing fudge (the dark chocolate and salted caramel fudge was to die for. So was the red velvet) and some very happy people.
image courtesy: Lengwapa
the next day dawned wonderfully bright and sunny, so we set off on a walk along the lake, we also decided to drive down to Kawarau bridge to watch a few brave souls bungee jump off it.
Bungee Jumper screaming her head off. What fun!
Although I was sorely tempted, we'd just blown our adventure budget on the skydiving, so we had to make-do with some vicarious fun.
The Kawarau gorge

the laguid Kawarau
We even made our way down to the bay for some really fun paddle-boating with some over-sized plastic wheels (of course). Ultra-competitive Child 2, naturally , overreached for the pedals while trying to overtake child 1 and me and took and unexpected plunge onto the lake - naturally because that was the one time I wasn't carrying spares.
Child 1, who insisted on steering, though he can barely peer over the handlebars...

...and Child 2, who despite being drenched is still practically standing on the pedals

We spent the rest of the afternoon feeding the ducks, drying off (in the case of child 2), hanging out at the park and finding little treasures on the shores.
Mummy and baby ducks. They had quite a fan following with Child 1 and 2
little sparkly treasures on the shore

The Fergburger with a view
We also sampled the legendary Fergburger, and realised why it had acquired its legendary status, before we drove on to Te Anau.
*I'm also going to include the short visit on our return leg here for the sake of continuity
The return drive from Te Anau was equally spectacular - we took the road that hugged the Wakatipu and of course we took far too many pit stops for pictures. I think even the bossy baby (who is a serial photobomber) was quite sick by the end of it.
The road hugging the lake

One of the many, many Pitstops
And if all that driving wasn't enough, we decided to do the Remarkables drive- a winding route up to the ski slopes (during the winters) where, to be honest, we spotted more snow that the Franz Josef glacier.
The snow melting off the slopes

The Remarkables drive

More fresh snow than Franz Josef
The wind was still biting cold but the view alone was worth it. we could even see where the Shotover and Kawarau combined to become one river.
The hotver is swift and muddy. The Kawarau is the gentle blue,
As we took off to head to Auckland, I couldn't help but promise myself another visit sometime in this lifetime.

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