January 22 - 23
The two days after the Milford Track and Routeburn Track were a holiday at the other extreme; from tramping to living it up in Queenstown!
Having never been to Queenstown I was blown away by the range of activities on offer, all of which are quite expensive. So first up it had to be the Shotover Jet, one of the oldest and most famous attractions in Queenstown. The original plan was to only go horse riding, but I was able to swap my lunchtime horse riding experience for the evening meal cruise which was a much better option and meant I was free during the day to hit the jet boats.
I really enjoyed the rushing at full speed in the Shotover Jet boats with the canyon walls flying by as you would expect, though it was not as ‘freaky’ as I thought it was going to be to be honest. After doing it once, you can redo the rapids for only $19, so I headed back out for a second run, while Julianne relaxed on the shore. One ride was enough for her.
The afternoon was spent taking our time slowly to explore the centre of Queenstown and of course having Fergburger for lunch. Great burger but hell of a queue - about 15 minutes.
The evening meal cruise started on the TSS Earnslaw. When I boarded the TSS Earnslaw I thought it was an old steam ship which had been refurbished and as such used modern engines, I was completely blown away to see this was not the case and the Earnslaw has not changed much since it was launched back in 1912 and is still using the same coal fired steam engines.
What is also very cool is that you can go in and watch the stokers shoveling coal into the boilers, this was brilliant - Living History! Normally when you get to see old steam engine it is in a museum, or they if they do get fired up on a special occasion it not longer does anything. So to see these original engines working hard doing what they have always done was so unexpected and great to see in action.
It turns out the clear fresh water of Lake Wakatipu has helped preserve the TSS Earnslaw over the years. This boat used to be the only way in and out of some of the farms and only way up to Glenorchy until roads were put in place.
So it was a great trip over Lake Wakatipu once I dragged myself away from the engine room, plus nice and calm for Julianne who gets sea sick very quickly.
The boat stopped at Walter Peak, one of the large farms in the area where an old homestead has been setup as a restaurant with farm experiences such as sheep shearing. We managed to get this amazing table with this awesome view of the lake.
So I had this lovely buffet meal watching the TSS Earnslaw casting off into the distance, and the high rolling hills around us.
Also clothing was amusing- in that because we have been tramping for the last couple of weeks we don’t have a lot in the way of clothes with us, I have only a couple of pairs of shorts and t-shirts and one pair of trousers as I didn’t want to be carrying lots of clothes around as extra weight. So I was dressed very casually.
The following day we had a morning to ourselves before flying to Chirstchurch to meet with the rest of the family, so we decided to do something very different and which happened to be free after all expensive activies from yesterday – Frisbee golf!
On the way to Frisbee Golf, Julianne used her ranger magic to befriend a chaffinch with her icecream.
I had never heard of Frisbee golf, but it is exactly what it sounds like, throwing a frisbee into a medal bin down a course. The frisbee golf-course was located just across the bay and a short walk from where we are staying. I must say I enjoyed Frisbee golf, a tad strange but quite fun. So the next several hours were spent throwing a Frisbee while walking through a nice park.
Then it was back to Queenstown for lunch, another fergburger for me before jumping in the bus to the airport. As we were waiting for the bus I spotted an old church which I had visited before but I didn’t have any loose change to buy the pamphlet on their history. So I quickly grabbed some coins off Julianne and ran off at full speed back to the church. Julianne was quite concerned and thought I was mad, she didn’t want to miss the bus or flight due to getting a church history pamphlet – but I ran like a mad thing and made it back as the bus was boarding – no drama’s.
All up my 2 days in Queenstown has been more enjoyable than I thought and a great way to relax after all the walking over the last couple of weeks.