WOW WOW WOW
The mountains are on steroids! They are insane!
Flying into Queenstown Airport itself is a wow factor. Regularly rated among the world's most scenic landings. You will always remember the first time you flew into Queenstown.
Queenstown sits on the shores of South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, set against the dramatic Southern Alps. It is known as the adventure capital of the world. Bungee jumping, skydiving, zip lining, canyon swinging, jet boating……all the things that are NOT for me….lol For me, New Zealand is a driving destination, a photographer’s delight and for Hubby it is a superb golfing destination (see Queenstown GOLF blog). I loved loved loved Queenstown and would return in an instant.
While Hubby was off competing in the New Zealand Golf Open, I put my little rental car through it’s paces during our short stay.
The TSS Earnslaw (also known as the Lady of the Lake) is an absolute MUST DO. It is a 107 year old steamship that was launched just months before the fateful maiden voyage of its fallen big sister the Titanic. A beautiful steamer from a bygone era with its bright red funnel, white hull and kauri timber decks is a New Zealand icon. You can walk into the hot engine room and watch the Stokers shovelling coal into the ovens. Such a grand old girl that is clean and comfortable, you can sit outside or inside and are free to walk around as much as you like. Very spacious and not crowded at all when I was on her.
There is a cafe on board where you can purchase a good selection of food & drink at your own expense.
I took the 3.5 hour round trip tour that leaves Steamer Wharf in Queenstown and takes you along the clear waters of Lake Wakatipu (3rd largest lake in New Zealand) taking in breathtaking alpine scenery before arrive at stunning Walter Peak High Country Farm where you disembark and feast on a gourmet BBQ lunch. A truly divine feast, so tasty, meat was cooked to perfection and service was wonderful, not the usual BBQ I was accustomed to back in Oz. It was like a fine dining BBQ. After lunch you are free to roam around the working farm and see sheep dogs in action and watch a sheep shearing display during the farm demonstration.
Driving along the side of Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown all the way to Glenorchy I was in awe around every corner. It is about a 45 minute drive but you need to add on at least 15 minutes for photographic stops along the way.
Now there isn’t a lot to do in Glenorchy, for me it was well worth the drive as there is a lovely picturesque walk around the lagoon which takes about an hour and you can just sit on one of the many benches and take in the views. I just loved the iconic red boat shed on Glenorchy wharf with the Humboldt Mountain Range in the background.
The local scenery was used as one of the settings in the first Lord of the Rings film - The Fellowship of the Ring. Also Vertical Limit, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Water Horse were filmed in the area.
A 20 minute drive from Queenstown you will find this charming former Gold mining town. This town oozes heritage. I visited the Chinese settlement at the edge of the river. Built by Chinese miners from 1868, this area of restored shelters and buildings paints a picture of earlier times.
The tree lined streets of Arrowtown are home to many fine dining restaurants, cafes, pubs, bakeries, boutique stores and art galleries.
I thoroughly enjoyed strolling around this old worldly town. Enchanting stone buildings - the main street is one way. It’s a bit like a time warp actually. So many cute little houses to drive by and look at in and around the town.
I would so love to visit this quirky town in Autumn, it would be magical.