Kirsty & Nick's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Posing at Lake Wanaka

View into Shotover Valley (Queenstown)

Depart Wanaka: 3061 km (10.20)

Although it was another sunny day, we were slow to get up again this morning, tired from our efforts the day before, and in no rush to move on to the next adventure.

We decided to cycle along a track that runs along the western side of the lake. Selected really because it wasn't too long, seemed to run along the lake shore, so wouldn't be too steep, and wasn't too far away, so when we were done, we could head on down to Queenstown.

The ride was pretty good, although the scenery not quite as stunning as the previous day. We didn't go too far along the track, we were out for just over an hour, 7.1 miles.

Got a chance to watch some wild cattle herding too.

Suitably cycled-out, we headed off towards Queenstown.

The drive from Wanaka to Queenstown was an interesting one, because it presented us with another New Zealand vista we had yet to encounter – that they call 'tussock dessert'. It was very hilly terrain, not mountainous though, and absolutely no vegetation above about one foot. Just tufts of yellow grass on sandy soil. No critters, no trees, nada!

We went past Cardrona ski resort quite early on, just before the desert really, but you couldn't really see anything from the road.

Oh, and did I mention the road. Just as we started to come out of the desert, and the views ahead show lush green hills with snow capped mountain peeks again, the roadworks signs appeared. Suddenly ahead of us was an unseeled road, just loose gravel, pot holes, mud...the usual. Then a bit of machinary and some men working. Then about 5km of the same, no road, just gravel, both sides, for 5km! Never seen anything like it. So much for not taking the camper off road!

We stopped and took in the views of the Queenstown valley, with the Wakatipu lake beyond, and they were spectacular and then drove down a really cool road into the valley, which was a bit like a baby-Alpe d'huez, with lots of hairpin bends.

We drove into Arrowtown, which is an old goldmining town in which the main street buildings have been preserved and restored. It was very picturesque, and we parked up, took a few photos and had a quick wander around.

Then we drove into Queenstown. It was just over 100km I think from Wanaka to Queenstown and we drove into the motor park at around 16.00. The park wasn't amazing – quite squashed in, but it was very close to the town centre, so I guess you'd expect that. The facilities were ok though. We found the staff a bit jobs-worth too.

Love Queenstown though. Cool town! We didn't see it at its best, because part of the pedestrian centre was being ripped up and tarted up, but anyway we really liked it. Very happening, which of course brings an element of idiots, but we tried to be gracious :o) Lots of 'adventure' stores, where you could book up for coach trips, guided tours, helicopter rides, scenic flights, bungee jumping, hang gliding, paragliding, paraskiing, water skiing, rafting, skiing and snowboarding, jet boating and a zillion other things bedsides. Some sports and outdoors shops (never enough) lots of restaurants and cafes, a really high proportion compared to the rest of NZ, some really swanky too, which we really haven't seen much of, then your normal fashion shops (mostly trendy, but some high end), souvenir shops, etc.

We wandered around for a bit, I bought a few Icebreaker things and we booked up for a white water rafting trip for Saturday morning. Nick's been dying to white water raft in NZ for I don't know how long. Good for him! That done, we decided that we would treat ourselves to dinner out for a change...the first time in fact. We found a pizza and pasta restaurant called The Cow, which was tucked away in a back alley in a really old building. They had an open fire going and big, old, wooden tables and benches. We were allocated a big table with a warning that it was their policy to share tables and sure enough within a couple of minutes, a father and son had been seated with us.

We had a very jovial time and conversed with them all evening as we ate (pizza) and drank. Pizzas were pretty good actually, not thin crusted (Italian style) as we like them, but very crispy and very tasty.

We only had two drinks then paid up, said our goodbyes and walked briskly back to the camp site. It was pretty chilly again, the skies seemed clearer again, a few clouds having moved in later in the day.

In bed 11.30.

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