On a day trip from lovely Cromwell, we ventured into Queenstown. On our journey out we passed through Arrowtown, a name familiar to me (once again) from the LOTR special features. Sure enough as we crossed the river, I recognised it as the Ford of Bruinen, the river Arwen races across with Frodo on her horse, as the water sweeps the ringwraiths away. I still can’t get over seeing all these Lord of the Rings locations, it blows my mind.
Anyway, Queenstown! We had intended to treat ourselves and go for a classy brunch however, straight off the bus we were presented with the golden arches of McDonalds, and let’s just say our traveller’s budget brains kicked in and we abandoned the pricey brunch plan. Fuelled by our breakfast (or 10AM Big Mac in Ben’s case) we went to explore. I knew the view I wanted to see so I insisted we head towards the lake, taking in the buzz of Mall Street on the way. As we reached Marine Parade we were presented with the typical Queenstown lakefront view, that I’d seen online many times and hoped to one day see for myself.
We wandered along the jetty and alongside the waterfront bars which were just gearing up for the day (Queenstown is a party town) before veering back on ourselves and upwards, towards the gondola that would take us 450m above the town. I’ve just learnt that it’s the steepest cable car in the Southern Hemisphere and believe me, whenever I managed to peak out from behind my sweaty palms, it was flippin’ steep alright.
At the top of Bob’s Peak (who’s Bob?) you’re faced with tremendous views over Queenstown and Lake Wakitipu, as well as the surrounding Southern Alps. I read that you can go up the gondola on an evening for some top quality stargazing and so I’ve added that to the bucket list, hopefully in Wintertime too so I can see all the surrounding mountains covered in snow. My vertigo had me feeling a little wobbly up there, but I was determined not to let it ruin the experience completely (admittedly the cable car trip was a write off, I couldn’t appreciate that at all!)
On our return back to a normal height we had our eyes set firmly on one goal: acquire slushy drinks. Armed with slushies, we set out back towards the lake to reunite with Annie and Bronia, our British pals from Westport and Franz Josef. After mooching beside the lake for a while, we decided to go for a wander around Queenstown gardens, a path that follows the lakes edge. I was goaded for shunning the rope swing across the river but hey, I carry around a big lovely (expensive) camera and I am CLUMSY, so to swing across any water is asking for it. Bronia also shunned the rope swing because she is sensible.
The walk along the lake was lovely, it was a really stunning day, we were really lucky with the weather. After a while, we decided to pull a u-turn and head back towards town, taking the forest pathway. Our minds had turned to food, once again, so we went in search of ice cream. As we tucked in, I had a genius idea; Domino’s Pizza. Now, let me explain myself! Basically the best value meal you can get here in NZ is the $5 pizza deal at either Pizza Hut or Dominos. Food is EXPENSIVE here, like, I was not prepared for the food costs at all. Pizza is a bargain and I love it, so you can’t go wrong. PLUS, it had been weeks since we’d stayed in a town that offered pizza bargains so we HAD to make the most of it.
Feeling fairly smug, we took our pizzas and sat on the grass, by the stream on Ballarat street. The sun was beaming down, there was pizza and good company, so all in all, a pretty lovely afternoon.