On to Queenstown for a few days

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Adventure Queenstown

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day and we leave Wanaka to go south to Queenstown. We arrive in Queenstown about lunchtime and we're in for a bit of a shock after the many quiet towns of New Zealand.  There are people everywhere – on the waterfront, in the streets and shops are open.  Queenstown is the main hub in the South Island for tourists as it has a pretty location – another lakeside town surrounded by mountains and is easy access to most of the main sights of the South Island.  It is also possible to do pretty much any high adrenaline activity here; jet boating, sky diving and many different bungee options and so it gets a big backpacker crowd as well.  The thing is as we have been travelling down the West Coast it takes us a couple hours to get used to the amount of people and being in an actual town as the West Coast has been pretty remote.  We stay at Queenstown Adventure Backpackers which is probably one of the friendliest backpackers we have stayed in and a good size for a Queenstown hostel.  We take a wander around the town which is pleasant but then walk along the lake to find a quieter beach spot to pass the afternoon.  We even try the water here but it seems a whole lot colder that the other lake and we don’t go in past knee height!      

Next day we do a bit of a hike up the Queenstown Hill which must have worked off all our Christmas indulgences.  One of the activities in Queenstown is to take the Gondola up the hill to look at the view.  But our walk takes us to the top of the Queenstown Hill and we look down on the gondola and the surrounding area so it was a pretty rewarding walk despite being steep.  We also get to see some local wildlife – mostly birds and a couple of deer that look like they may have descended from Americna Elk cross our path.  There are so many walks you can do in this area that we could have quite happily filled a week with day walks. 

For our final day in Queenstown we drive up to Glenorchy which is at the North end of the lake.  We pass several areas that were film sets for Lord of the Rings but unfortunately don’t know the films well enough to pin point the areas.  Plus we have discovered that although Lord of the Rings has a lot of amazing scenery shots in the films what seems to make them film sets comes down to two things – accessibility and ability to close off for filming and so a lot of scenery is far more stunning but not used in the films as it is too remote.  We also have a slight issue with accessibility as today we only get so far before the road becomes too rough for our little hire car and we have to stop.  This area is where the big walking tracks are and we make a mental note to come back one day with camping gear as the scenery is meant to be amazing.  Glenorchy is a nice spot on the lake and we take a walk around the reserve beside it to stretch our legs.  The winds are kicking up dust from the dry river beds which gives the lake a mysterious mist to it and makes it all the more scenic.

In the evening we treat ourselves to a dinner from Fergburger which has come highly recommended and we’re keen to compare it to GBK in London.  The restaurant is mental, with very few seats and a lot of queuing people but after about 30 minutes we escape outside with our massive burgers and chips to sit by the lake and have dinner.  The burgers are pretty good but the chips let the meal down and so we think we’ll stay loyal to GBK and claim it is still the winner when it comes to burgers.
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