Queenstown is a hilly picturesque town along the shores of pristine Lake Wakatipu. As if that wasn’t enough, it is surrounded by majestic mountains which are reflected in the water on a sunny day. Like many other New Zealand towns, homes dot the hillsides. Queenstown is known as the “Adventure Capital of the World” since there are so many outdoor activities available to choose from. It has a reputation for being the premier four season destination in the Southern Hemisphere and the world’s southern most wine producing region. Queenstown is the birthplace of jet boating and bungy jumping.
We were not feeling particularly adventurous since it was drizzling and chilly when we got there. It cleared up the next day but continued to be very chilly. Autumn comes early to the South Island.
While in Queenstown we drove one day to Glenorchy along the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu with breathtaking views. The Queenstown area, especial Glenorchy, has been the backdrop for movies such as Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit trilogy, the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, 10,000 B.C., Wolverine, and Prince Caspian.
We also drove to the Kawarau Bridge Bungy Center. In 1988 AJ Hackett and Henry Van Asch started the world’s first bungy jump facility in New Zealand. This helped Queenstown become known as the adventure capital of the world. We were able to stand on a large viewing platform and watch several people make the big leap.
Queenstown has plenty of tourists and traffic compared to other South Island towns. They have a town center area with tons of shops and restaurants and it is a challenge to find parking during the day since we did not see any parking garages or public lots. You can ride a gondola and there are vendors everywhere trying to sell you any kind of adventure you can imagine. It was common to see street performers and one evening we saw a young man in nothing but a thong singing very badly while being encouraged by a group of friends. Our last night in Queenstown we went to a pizzeria for dinner. We wondered why the crowds along the streets and in our restaurant were so rowdy. We soon realized that New Zealand was playing Australia in the 2015 World Cup Cricket championship game. We watched some of the game from our table. Cricket is a strange game and the only way we knew what was happening was if the crowd cheered or groaned. New Zealand lost, by the way, by seven wickets whatever that means.
- New Zealand has its own version of American Idol (called X Factor), Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor. We also can watch the United States American Idol here on a delayed broadcast of several hours.
- Kiwis love antique cars. Wherever we are it is not unusual to see people driving around in them. They love to take them out on the open road on a regular basis.
- Even Bill is really tired of New Zealand food, especially New Zealand restaurant food. We are both longing for American food right now! Bill had goat for dinner tonight. Sigh….
- New Zealand has a ton of lakes, waterfalls and one lane bridges.
This entrire trip has been so amazing and I look firward to your blogs. Just wish I had the energy to do what you two have! Thanks so much for doing these blogs…know it’s a lot of work.
In August we’ll be heading most likely to thr UP of Michigan, then across to Sioux Falls, then Montana. I have forgotten where you plan to be this year but hope we can meet up somewhere.