We drove at a very leisurely pace from Twizel to QT - a distance of 262 Km and checked into Colonial Village Motel. As expected the Southern Island is extremely pretty especially during the autumn months. The entire stretch is soaked in multitude of autumn colors – yellow, red, orange, brown and green. The entire drive was devoted to watching and appreciating nature. I am yet to come across something so pretty and wonderful. God has certainly chosen Queenstown to display his unlimited artistic talent. The view from our motel bedroom stood testimony to the beauty of QT.The evening was spent sitting outside the motel and soaking in QT. Lake Wakatipu is located just outside the motel. One can endlessly gaze at the beautiful landscape and spend quality time with friends. The weather was very chilly and we had to continuously fortify ourselves with some stiff portions of elixir.
QT is built around Lake Wakatipu, a long thin Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes, and has spectacular views of nearby mountains. Queenstown has an urban population of 13,150. There are no traffic signals in QT and everyone observes the rules to the T. The traffic flows smoothly and a pleasure to drive.
|Along the drive|
|Riot of colors|
|Outskirts of QT|
|Surrounded by lakes|
|A typical QT house|
Arrowtown – 30 Apr. After checking in we took a drive to Arrowtown, a historic gold mining town located on the banks of the Arrow River at a distance of 20Km from Queenstown. This charming town has maintained its rich heritage and historic buildings and is now a vibrant town with world class food and beverage, shopping and attractions. Arrowtown provided some famous locations in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. After relishing some creamy ice-cream we headed to QT city centre for lunch.
Once again the CBD is extremely well laid out and it was a pleasure to sit in a roadside restaurant having some beer and lunch.
|Typical miners family|
|Lot of effort to maintain the facade|
|Totally at home|
|Colonial Village Motel|
Jetboat Ride - 01 May. Shotover River is just a 20 min drive from QT, famous for its fast flow through canyons, ridges and rock faces. It flows to a distance of 74 Km. This is where the inventor of Jetboats Sir William Hamilton developed a waterjet in 1954 for operation in the fast-flowing and shallow rivers of NZ, specifically to overcome the problem of propellers striking rocks in such waters.
|View of Shotover River|
|Waiting for their turn for the ride|
|All dressed to ride|
|The actual ride|
|This is how we looked|
A jetboat is propelled by a jet of water ejected from the back of the craft. Unlike a power boat or motorboat that uses an external propeller in the water below or behind the boat, a jetboat draws the water from under the boat through an intake and into a pump jet inside the boat, before expelling it through a nozzle at the stern. The Jetboats can make headway in just 8” of water depth and can reach an incredible speed of 90KMPH. The boat has excellent maneuverability and can execute 360 deg turns with utmost ease.
We joined the Shotover Jetboat ride along with another 14 adventure seeking tourist. After a detailed safety briefing the captain of the boat took us around the river for a breathtaking 30 min experience of a life time. The incredible speed and the intentional close encounters with the protruding rocks made the sport even more fascinating. Number of times the pilot executes a 360 deg turn, a very frightening but thrilling experience. The passengers are so preoccupied with the boat movement as it winds its way through gorges and canyons, nobody seems to realize how quickly the time passes. Finally the adrenaline rush ends and we come out of the boat all flushed and happy. It is indeed a very unique experience.
Gondola and Ride on the Luge. Just a short ride from the centre is the ‘Gondola’. The ride in the Gondola takes you to the top of Bob’s Peak. The best view of the city is obtained from the peak sitting half a mile high. In addition one can see all encompassing view of The Remarkables, Coronet Park, and of course Lake Wakatipu.
From the peak we took a ride in 2 - man chair lift to Luge station. Luge is a simple one man sled on wheels with a hand pulled break. The sled rolls down the slope and picks up speed and momentum down the natural slope. The course has a number of sharp turns and bends making the journey down exciting. We were allowed two runs on the ticket. The child in you comes out loud and clear.
|In the Gondola|
|View from the top|
|Jai soaking in QT|
|Kats and Naveen preparing to jump off the 2 - man chair. A very tricky maneuver for the old|
|Jai on the Luge|
|Another lovely view|
|A very satisfying outing|
Lake Wanaka – 02 May
Early in the morning we decided to visit Lake Wanaka which is around 67 Kms from QT. Lake Wanaka is located in the Otago region of New Zealand, at an altitude of 300 meters. Covering an area of 192 km², it is New Zealand's fourth largest lake, and estimated to be more than 300 m deep. The drive once again is simply fascinating and the country side comes alive with beautiful valleys. Wanaka lies in a U shaped valley formed by glacial erosion during the last ice age, more than 10,000 years ago. The township is situated in a glacier carved basin on the shores of the lake. Then weather god was not very favorable and Wanaka turned out to be a damp squib.
Bradrona. On the way back we were suddenly attracted to a long fence with hundreds of assorted bras hanging on them. We examined the scene more closely to find the bras have been put there to bring awareness of ‘Breast Cancer’ and seeking donations. The location has been named ‘BRADRONA”. There is a small Ski town by the name of CARDRONA close by.
|Totally Unique form of expression|
|After a very tiring day|
|So is Kats|