Sunday, December 23, 2012

Adventure Capital of the World

We arrived in Queenstown late afternoon on Wednesday the 19th.  After checking in to our hotel (which was a bit rinky dink but who was cheap) we decided we were going to walk around Wanaka Lake to town.  The view from the hotel was lovely...sadly a tree blocked my view haha. But it was easy to get out and around it, with a picnic table outside for sitting and taking in the views.  Right below our hotel were bus stops (quite convenient for the rest of the trip) and a little lake path.  Once we got down to the path we noticed a dock.  Andrew was set on jumping in the lake at some point on our trip. I told him he was crazy. He then decided he was going to stick his feet in to the water...that's when he decided he was crazy as well. It was freezing...of course. So after staring at the water and the mountains, watching all the ducks bob up and down...we decided to keep on going in to town.

The walk was a lot longer then we though...4km long...which is about 2.5 miles. But hey, it was beautiful out and we needed to walk after such a long drive! We walked through the Queenstown Botanical Gardens, in to town under a big arch that Rotary had made as a memorial for something...I think a war...anyways...there were lots of people sitting out on the beach area near the water. Listening to music, slacklining between was a site to see :) 

We went in to the downtown area to have a look around.  First we did a bit of shopping. It's quite hard figuring out what to bring back people...but even harder, to figure out what to get people for Christmas! Andrew and I were under the impression that we did a draw name gift exchange for Christmas here and that that was we each bought for the person we drew and thought nothing else of it...come to find still buy for everyone for Christmas day...the draw names was just for a family lunch. Oops.  So about half our time in Queenstown felt like we were looking for gifts haha.  

After going in a few shops we noticed the movie theater! So we decided to buy tickets for the 7:30 showing of The Hobbit :) Movies sure are expensive here...I think it was $15 or $16 per person? Ridiculous. So we bought the tickets then went and had some dinner at a bar/restaurant right next to the theater.  I was oddly craving pasta.  I think it was because of going past all the wineries that made me think of Italy...
Then we went and saw the movie...I won't spoil anything, but it was fantastic :) So cool to see the scenes shot in places that now looked so familiar :) After the movie we got a cab back to the hotel...most expensive cab ever...$17 for about 2.5 miles of driving.  Stupid. So we decided to learn the bus route for the next day haha.

The next morning (Thursday) we woke up early around 8 to go get some breakfast at the hotel.  They had a rinky dink buffet...but was included so we ate it. Thursday was the day for the gondola and luge :) So we figured out the buses and headed in to town.  Once in town, we walked over to where the Skyline Gondola starts off.  We headed up the gondola over the tall trees to the top of the mountain.  It was so breathtaking from up there.  There is a restaurant situated on the top of the mountain that has a cafe, restaurant and a gift shop.  On the way up we also passed the bungee jumping.  We decided to give that pass...sketch! 

We went in to the Skyline building to take a look at the views off the mountain side.  It was stunning (as you could imagine from the photos).  We wandered around, snapping photos and then decided to go for the ride on the luge.  The ride to the luge started with a helmet and a chair lift. The helmets sucked. We went up the lift to the top and learned how to operate the little luge thingys. Pretty easy.  Then we went off on our first ride down of 5.  Soooo much fun! It was a bit hard to go fast though...people kept getting in our way and not pullling off to the side. A bit of a pain. But it was still a blast :) 

After the luge it was bout 11am or so.  We decided to go have a custard square in the cafe and then go back down the gondola in to town.  We weren't sure what to do because it was still early and we hadn't really planned anything we decided, lets go see if the Shotover Jet has anything available.  It was a beautiful day...and Saturday, the day we planned to go, was 'supposed to rain' (just like every day is supposed to rain here) so we figured, hey, why not.  

So we found a place that sold tickets to the jet, went in and talked with them...and it turned out they had an open trip just minutes away! So we booked our tickets and off we went to meet the bus and go to the Shotover River :)  Once at the river we suited up in our lifevests and got on the speedboat.  Man that thing had some umph! It can hydroplane in water as low as 5 mm! Insane...and the 360 spins?!?!$@#! I about pee'ed my pants. It was SO MUCH FUN! get on this little speedboat with a bunch of people, and this guy takes you up and down this cliffy river...super fast...and makes you think your going to hit all the cliffs.  Then, once your in the open a bit, he takes the boat and does a ninja fast 360 degree spin! You get quite wet.  So awesome and so worth the $130 bucks haha.

So after the boat ride we went and grabbed our free photo (check it out over there) and went back in to town to shop some more for Christmas presents.  We shopped for what felt like super tired...and decided to take our tired selves back to the hotel for a nap.  

When we woke up we decided to go back in to town to visit the Minus 5 Ice Bar. Probably the coolest bar in the world. Literally ;) Bahaha. Anywho...they supplied us with big furry coats, ugly ugg boots, and gloves and shuffled us in to the big cooler of a bar.  The bar was surrounded by block walls, ice sculptures, ice shevling for the drinks...SO COOL! Our entry came with a 'free drink' so I got the peachy something and other and Andrew got a 'Yummy Yeti".  Heehee.

After cooling off, taking lots of pictures, and not being able to feel my fingers anymore, we decided to head on out.  The guy at the counter gave us a little coupon for a buy one get one at the bar next store called the Boiler Room (or something similar) so we went over there to have a drink.  After that, we decided it was getting a bit late, and we had to get up SUPER early the next morning for our Milford Sound trip, so we headed back to the hotel and in to bed. 

Amazing day...and couldn't WAIT for tomorrow :P

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