What is the opposite of an bungy-jumping, parasailing, luge riding tourist? Me, my mom and friends. I could not even convince all of them to take the gondola ride! We still enjoyed Queenstown and nearby Arrowtown.
Staying at The Rees hotel means having to overcome the temptation to stay in room all day gazing at the gorgeous view of Lake Wakatipu and watching the weather and light move across the sky. We all agree that our 2 bedroom apartment was one of the nicest we had ever enjoyed and the kitchen was much larger and better appointed than mine at home. Plus they have a great dining room, True South, with a creative albeit pricey menu inspired by local ingredients and room service.
The first day Mom and friends took the hotel shuttle into town and joined the Real Journey’s lake cruise on the TSS Earnslaw to a sheep station and enjoyed a delicious barbeque lunch. They loved it and highly recommend this experience. I took advantage of a quiet day of walking around town and caught up on emails and did some light grocery shopping.
Queenstown is truly beautiful. Comparisons to Lake Tahoe are inevitable and full of so many exceptions it is not worth the breath. It stands on its own.
The next day we spent in Milford Sound and that will be its own post. The final full day in Queenstown we took a cab into town and we all enjoyed the Kiwi Birdlife Park, especially the conservation show and the kiwi house at feeding time. Lisa and I bought combo tickets that allowed us a ride on the gondola.
The trip up the mountain in the gondola took only a few minutes (less than the line we waited in to board). We were at the shrine to adrenaline in Queenstown. Mountain bikers hung their cycles off their gondola chair and headed up looking dusty and determined. We lofted above the luge ride and watched the bungy jumpers prep for their brave leap. As we approached the top we level with the paragliders as they took off over town.
The views at the top were as spectacular as you might expect. My best memory was the incredible Tip Top ice cream cone!
We rejoined Mom and Nancy and we called a cab to drive us to Arrowtown. Several friends recommended checking out this charming gold rush town. It is lovingly maintained and an interesting place for shopping and dining. We ate delicious blue cod and chips at the Fork and Tap. We were ready to head back The Rees and attempt to eat all the food still in the fridge. My crew was definitely from the waste not-want not generation.
As we watched the light fade over the lake we understood deep in our souls why so many people make the effort to visit Queenstown.