A Town fit for a Queen
Trip Start Jun 15, 2011
84Trip End Jun 01, 2012
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'Are you going to bungee jump, sky dive, bungee swing, go canyoning, white water rafting etc???'
There is pretty much nothing you can't do. The lake has all sorts of water activities, the mountains provide ample space to jump from, the rivers have awesome rapids and just outside of Queenstown are Canyons and places to rock-climb, abseil, BMX etc.
The main one you hear about is definitely Bungee jumping as Queenstown has the world's first commercial bungee site, something the kiwi's are very proud of
Initially it wasn't exactly top of our list of things to do but we thought we would do something adventurous when we got into Queenstown maybe white water rafting, just not bungee jumping. However we ended up deciding to save our money for later trips (such as South Africa) as Queenstown is just so expensive.
We paid a visit to the World's first commercial bungee site, Kawarau bridge which I think is a 40m jump (tiny compared to the highest one in Queenstown which is 140m). The site is really cool, it's set out of the town above a beautiful river and you jump off a picturesque bridge across the canyon. Having watched a few people I think if I was going to do a bungee it would be that one as I started to half consider it. Perhaps I'd feel differently if I was stood over the edge with nothing but some elastic stopping me from hitting the ground. Katy remained adamant that Bungee jumping was not for her and definitely couldn't justify all that money for 10 seconds of adrenaline rush!
We spent most of our time exploring Queenstown which is so much more than a place to jump off a bridge
From the mountainside where we got the cable-car to, there were a number of people Paragliding and it looked so cool. The views they had over Queenstown must have been simply incredible as they were circling right over the town with views of the Lake and mountain ranges. We were very tempted to have a go ourselves, however when we investigated the prices we really couldn't justify it when we have so much more to come in our travels. Oh well, maybe next time!
After Queenstown we carried on heading North through Wanaka, then following the Gold mining trail . The Gold mining route takes you through a few backward little towns which were founded when they discovered gold, and you can see some of the original buildings such as houses, convenience stores, hotels, post and telegraph stores and bars
Then it was onto the Haast pass, which has to be one of the best (and under-rated) drives in the world, and strangely I hadn't heard about it at all when looking into our New Zealand trip. We were expecting to have a fairly standard dive up North and found ourselves along some of the most beautiful countryside yet. I had read that there were a couple of good walks in the area which we were looking for, but the area way exceeded our expectations.
If you are heading North (as we are) you start off at two beautiful lakes (Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea) and then for miles you drive through lush forest surrounded by mountains, past clear blue glacier pools, stunning lakes, waterfalls and rivers before you get west enough to be on the coast and then you get incredible coastal views. This continues all the way up until you reach Mount Cook and the Glacier region (which we haven't yet reached). Every few kilometres there are stops with walking tracks to some beautiful part of the Mt Aspiring National Park and we stopped at most of them.
It's a beautiful Country, and I think the West Coast is the most beautiful of all in my opinion! The whole of the West Coast is a national heritage UNESCO protected area and when you see it you can see why
So we have been lucky enough to explore beautiful areas and sleep by some of these stunning lakes. The only negative thing about it is the Sand-flies which are particularly feisty in the morning and early evening. One of the early explorers to the region wrote that the Sand-flies were added to stop you from loitering in the beautiful countryside, then when it was realised that the sand flies got lazy at night, Mosquitoes were invented. This time it's my turn to be bitten by all the bugs (it was Katy's turn in Asia) and my foot has been munched by dozens of the bitey little buggers, although fortunately Mosquitoes haven't really been a problem so far.
Next we head into Glacier Country! Unfortunately the van is still playing up and shows that the tank is completely full, then it will suddenly drop from full to empty in around 5 minutes... not ideal when you are driving long stretches with no petrol stations.
Anyway, so far so good as we haven't run out yet.
Wish us luck!