Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ice Blue Lakes and Damn Tasty Ginger Beer

After a long and amazing week I've decided to sit down and write out all that was done the past week...get everyone a bit more caught up ;)

 Monday and Tuesday were working work work so that I can get a bunch of hours in and then be able to go to Queenstown for a long weekend :) Andrew did a lot on the farm, helping out his dad, like working in the hay! Nice outfit huh?

Wednesday morning finally came and we woke up around 8am to get on the road a bit early.  Queenstown is about 4.5 hours from we had a ways to go.  The drive was absolutely beautiful...first we drove through the winding hills of Mackenzie Country, passing all of the adorable farms with my favorite, sheep on hills :) I just love sheep on hills. Not sure why.

Our first stop was Lake Tekapo.  Its this amazing ice blue lake, crystal clear, surrounded by colorful lupins with a backdrop of snow capped mountains.  We pulled up to the lake and it took my breath away.  So amazing! I've never seen water so blue in my life.  In front of the lake, there was an adorable little church on the hill.  We got out of the car to walk around and take it all in....The lake was surrounded by rocks of all shapes.  I definitely needed better shoes.  After lots of climbing up and over and tripping I finally made it to the waters edge to take some photos and stick my toes in the water.  It was FREEZING. I guess that's what happens when you have glacier fed lakes.

After a photoshoot we decided to go grab some lunch in the tiny town surrounding the lake.  We decided on fish and chips.  Andrew wasn't too pleased with the result, but I thought it was just fine. Kind of tasted like funnel cake batter around fish. We also got a ginger beer...its like a thick ginger ale.  This one was a special one though because it was called "Franks Damn Tasty Ginger Beer"...Damn tasty. Funny. They're so much less censored here in NZ...SO MUCH less censored.  Its strange.

After fish and chips we decided to go look in a little gift shop to see if we could find a post card to send off.  I picked one with Tekapo and some of the lupins on it and sent it off to my family back in NC...missing them bunches! Then we decided to keep going with the drive and head to the next place.
Next stop was Lake Pukaki.  We didnt really get out and do a lot of looking around.  We just pulled off on the side of the road to run and grab some photos.  A nice Swedish family stopped behind us and took a picture for us :) Andrew did some funny poses...then I did some funny poses...and then we decided to move on so that we could get to Queenstown a bit earlier with time to have dinner and look around...and MAYBE go see The Hobbit...ohhhhhh how excited we were about that!

After our stop we continued on through Mackenzie Country to our destination...Queenstown.  Before the trip to New Zealand (while still in the States) I figured out there was a site called GrabOne, like Groupon or Living Social at home.  I scanned the site daily to find any deals we could use while we were here in NZ.  I ended up finding quite a few awesome things.  The first was our hotel stay in Queenstown...then I found a deal where you took a bus from Queenstown in to Milford Sound, and then you got to do a little boat cruise on the sound and then hop back on the bus back in to Queenstown. I also found a deal where we could go to the Minus 5 Ice Bar and a Pub Crawl while in Queenstown as well (fit in all the bars/restaurants at once!)...and then the last was Skydiving in Auckland (at the end of our trip here in NZ).  So with all those deals, plus our Christmas present from Andrew's dad and Aunt Steph, a trip up the Queenstown gondola and 5 luge rides, we had lots to do in the 4 days we were there. off we continued on our journey in to Queenstown.  The next town we hit was Cromwell, also off a lake.  That town was pretty cute.  Must be known for their fruit because they had a huge sign as you entered town with gigantic fruit statues behind it.  It smelt amazing! Andrew saw a sign for fresh fruit ice cream and decided we needed to stop.  So we went in to this adorable fruit stand and got some fresh fruit ice cream.  They take fresh fruit and then put it in this contraption and the put ice cream on top, blend it, and then fill your cone.  We decided to pick two and mixed berry.  Both amazing and just what we needed to cool us off.  It was a beautiful hot summer day.
So then we kept on going in to another country! I couldn't tell you how many vinyards we passed.  It was amazing! There were a whole bunch of wine and cheese tastings...I was quite tempted...their cheese is awesome. But we kept moving, determined to make it to Queenstown with time to spare.  So onward we went, through the mountains and cliffs.  Each part of the trip was different.  It's amazing the difference in the landscape here.   Some places completely flat...others hilly...others cliffy...others like our mountains at home, rolly and tall :) And then snow caps and waterfalls and beaches! So incredible! Every step of the journey had something to see.  I couldn't let myself sleep (as I normally would on road trips) and kept my eyes peeled open :) 

Next stop...Queenstown...our vacation for the next 3 days.  Filled with adventure, relaxation, and beautiful sites to see :) Oh how we couldn't wait...

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