Queenstown is one of those airports that every one should fly into at least once.

Coming in over the mountains and the lakes and the snow topped caps is, well, it’s remarkable.

The good people at Qantas have already done us height challenged people the service of installing a little mirror in the top of the plane overhead lockers so that we can see what’s still left in there, so at risk of pushing my luck, I’m asking for one more relatively simple little invention. What is it? An interactive window screen so that when you fly over scenery like this, little white arrows pop down telling you what it is that you’re looking at. No?

I love flying- everything about it. I even eat the airline food without coming over all snobby about it – and yes, I’m always in cattle class. I am, however, one of those people who likes to keep myself to myself on a flight. I stick my ear phones in, I either watch or write and generally am in my own world…but flying over these mountains makes you want to talk about it.

So I did – to the older couple sitting beside me…and boy was I surprised. She was able to point out the Routeburn Track – a 4 day walk across the top that they did a few years ago. Then we got to chatting about the 4 day bike ride that they’re doing from Clyde.

I didn’t like to say that my only plans for the next 5 days were to fall completely off my dietary wagon…

Speaking of which, blogs for the next couple of days will involve food…and it will be food that is not, I repeat not, on my be nice to my tummy diet.

I’ve already had my first beer of the year (an Emersons Pilsener by the waterfront, and heaven) and have plans for bread. As for wine? Seriously?

Anyways, I spent the afternoon on a 90 minute lake cruise – up as far as Kawarau Bridge…I so want to stay at this Hilton… one day.

The Hilton at Kawarau Falls
The Hilton at Kawarau Falls

The boat lingered lovingly around the foreshore of the million (plus) dollar homes…I want one.

It reminds me of just what I love about Kiwi architecture – that mix of textures and materials that somehow manages to blend into the environment and look…right.

The houses are lovely, but the lake is remarkable- as are the Remarkables that rise behind like a long seam of rocky toblerones.

We’re reliably informed that the Remarkables are only the 2nd of 2 mountain ranges that run true south to north…and presumably, north to south. I wasn’t listening properly, but apparently the other one is in North America somewhere.

Also in the realm of #funfacts is the one about the water in the lake being 99.something% pure- like distilled water. This means that it doesn’t conduct electricity. Ok.

Also in this vein is the #funfact that the water leaving the lake is about 12 years old. This has something to do with the depth of the lake. Who even thinks to measure this stuff?

And don’t get me started on the whole thing about the eels in the lake. They live for 100 years and somehow, at the end of their lives, make their way, presumably by some complicated system of eely hitch-hiking, up to Tonga. There they breed one last time before dying. The elvers find their way, somehow, back to the lake in Queenstown.

mucking around with the fish eye app
mucking around with the fish eye app

Anyways, I got talking to a couple of women who have done it all and jumped off pretty well everything that’s able to be jumped off in the last few days, and I’m feeling like I want to do something that gets my heart racing too.

My chiro has already said no to the bungy thing, but they were telling me about paragliding from the top of the gondola…or zip lining down. And yes, I’m aware of how weird it is that I’m contemplating either of these activities after talking about my fears yesterday!

Hubby has told me to be sensible and behave, and I think finances will be the decider…when my friend arrives we’re planning on wine tasting and some off roading…but surely jet boating through the canyons of the Shotover doesn’t count as extreme so should satisfy the responsibility requirement…

For more info on the lake cruise, check out the website.

my dinner- a little tasting plate with a side serve of lake view.
my dinner- a little tasting plate with a side serve of lake view.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

10 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the travel tips. Have always wanted to go to the South island, and now you’ve convinced me to definitely plan it!
    Have fun, and don’t fall off that wagon too much….

  2. I’m planning on a couple of weeks in the South Island next year. Flying into Christchurch, trekking down the Southern Alps and finishing in Queenstown. Maybe a few days in Milford Sound as well. Keep talking, I need to know how beautiful this place is 🙂 p.s. Enjoy the eating and drinking!

  3. Last time I was in Milford (2 years ago) we did an overnight cruise on the Sound. It was a-flipping-mazing. So dark, so quiet- just the seals swimming around the boat in the moonlight…

  4. New Zealand is just DDDG every where you go and look takes your breath away and has you grabbing for your camera. I am enjoying tripping around with you. BTW my daughter to celebrate entering her 50th decade is entered into the Clyde rail trail duathalon this weekend. Then she is coming to visit us. 🙂

  5. Oh it sounds lovely. I’ve been to Queenstown only one, but didn’t fly in (drove there) from Christchurch. You make me realise I didn’t do enough touristy things, but when we were there they’d had a lot of rain and we went on a bus trip to Milford Sound (in a bad storm) only to get there and discover we couldn’t go out, so turned around and headed back. It was the first time I’d seen snow though. So that was exciting!

    1. We had stunning weather! I’ve been to Milford twice & had good weather each time too- must be good travel karma.

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