Spectacular Queenstown starts my NZ tour

Trip Start Oct 24, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, February 27, 2012

Really have been looking forward to the next section of my trip, a month touring around New Zealand, somewhere I have always wanted to visit. My trip starts in Queenstown right in the middle of South Island and then a 2 weeks self drive tour eventually up to the top of the island and a ferry across to North Island and a further 2 weeks touring there before ending up in Auckland.

The decent into Queenstown airport was spectacular, straight down the valley with amazing mountains rising up from my window seat. The airport was very close to the town and it wasn't long until I was settling into my accommodation at Hippo lodge, a friendly little place set in the hills with amazing views over the town and Lake Wakatipu.

Queenstown has an amazing setting right next to the lake with the soaring Remarkables mountains surrounding in the background, it bills itself as the adventure capital of New Zealand with so many things do here, bungy jumping however was not on my agenda, bit of a pussy in that regard!

The town has a great selection of restaurants and pubs and I have found out the Kiwis are pretty good at brewing ales, a lot of the pubs have a complete selection of brews from either Mac’s or Speights so I think that’s one thing I wont have to worry about in finding a decent pint.

My first full day in town I decided to have a stroll around the compact town and explore the lake shore by the impressive park and then take the skyline Gondola up the mountains for amazing views.

My second day here I picked up my hire car from the airport, a battered old Nissan Sunny with 250,000 KM on the clock, now its been a long time since I’ve driven a car with a wood veneer steering wheel and a tape deck for entertainment but it was cheap at around 15 a day and as long as it was able to negotiate the many ups and downs the mountain roads were gonna throw at me for the next 13 days I would be happy.

I took off on the Glenorchy road out of Queenstown and was rewarded with one of the best scenic drive I think I have ever taken. The road was about 70km and hugged the lake all the way and the views were amazing vast features carved out by glaciers thousands of year ago. It helped that the weather was so perfect as well, not a cloud in the sky apart from small blankets left over from the morning mists. Glenorchy was a postage stamp sized village and very relaxing compared with the bustle of Queenstown. I had the most amazing towered steak sandwich there and a look around before the journey back to Queenstown.

The weather here has been amazing and also very weird, the temps get down to about minus 2 at night and then when you wake up you think it’s gonna be a crap day, cold and overcast and about 10 degrees and you have to wait until about 1pm for the sun to climb above the mountains to burn off all the morning mists and then the temps have climbed to nearly 30 degrees and very intense burning sun.

So Three very enjoyable days here to kick start my South Island tour, taking the road to Te Anau tomorrow which will be my base for my trip to the wonderful Fiordlands, Milford Sound and Lord of the Rings country.
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