Wednesday, January 29, 2014


It was a relatively short drive from Wanaka to Queenstown, and much of the country I passed through looked like this.

As I approached Queenstown, I started getting glimpses of Lake Wakatipu over the peak of the mountain that you must descend to the valley in which the city is nestled.  Then, when I reached the top, I enjoyed this amazing view.

It's a wonder I made it down into the valley along the mountain road with its countless hairpin curves considering this distracting spectacular scenery.  When I met people in my travels who had been to NZ, they always used superlative terms to describe it, and now that's all that comes into my head (along with a huge dose of WOWS).

I have a studio apartment here for four days, and I'm extremely pleased with the view.

And the view at the back isn't bad hydrangas.

There are a lot of tourists here.  The streets are crowded with them, and there are a lot of choices for outdoor adventures.  Just about every other storefront in town is selling an adventure activity of some sort, from lake cruises to bungee jumping to jet boat river rides.  I met some people from San Jose at Starbucks who were around my age, and the man was about to jump off a mountain in tandem with a parasailer.  Every day on the lake I see someone doing this.  I'm not sure what it's called...maybe paragliding?  This guy is being pulled by a powerboat.

There's a beautiful trail walk that goes by the lake and through a lovely park.  There are benches along the lakeside where you can sit and enjoy the view.

There were some lovely and well-tended flower beds in the garden park on the hill above.

And all different colors decorate in the rose garden.

Further along I noticed a clubhouse, and when I investigated I found a group of seniors playing lawn balls, which I believe is also called lawn bowling.  One of the spectators, Margaret, wasn't playing because of a recent surgery, and she explained the game to me.  I was enjoying the conversation with Margaret and the bowlers and missed the check-in time for a lake cruise I had planned to take.  Fortunately, I hadn't paid for it yet, and it was very windy on the lake anyway.

I've made two side trips from Queenstown.  A short drive away is the old gold mining town of Arrowtown, which has dozens of liitle boutique shops and lots of restaurants. 

 I had a decent Pad Thai here, complete with this very familiar photograph...the King and his wife.

Gold was discovered in Arrowtown in 1861, and one of the historic sites here is a partially restored Chinese settlement.  There were about 3,500 Chinese in this area in the late 1800's, living on the fringes of the European settlement due to discrimination.  The social center was Ah Lum's store, this restored three room building.

There were several small huts in this settlement, which apparently housed 4 to 6 men, and the Chinese grew their own food in terraced gardens along the hillside.  It's hard to imagine that many men crammed into this very small hut.

I haven't mentioned the sheep yet nor posted any photos, only because any time I've seen a pasture dotted with them, there hasn't been anywhere to pull over.  But there are thousands of them and you see them almost everywhere there is open pasture land.

I also took a leisurely drive along the lake toward Glenorchy.  It was a beautiful day, and I made several stops to enjoy the pristine views.  There are some stunningly beautiful and very large mountain lake in NZ and most of them are undeveloped.  Commercial and housing developments are prohibited by the government, so everyone can enjoy this unspoiled nature.

Today, I'm doing laundry and just relaxing because I feel like doing nothing.  That's a luxury even more pleasant when you consider the view.

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