17 September 2009

queenstown

From Wanaka, we drove through mountains either covered in snow or full of dry California-like brush, overlooking valleys and vineyards below on our way to Queenstown.

And there were the usual fields of sheep:

When we got to Queenstown, we found an adrenaline-fueled adventure sports mecca in the charming lakeside town. Apparently, Queenstown is the birthplace of bungee jumping (and they don't let you forget it).

So, while it looked like a bustling version of Wanaka:

The snowboard shops and the never-ending array of adventure sports made its culture very different.

There were videos of people bungee jumping in several of the shop windows with their voices booming out onto the sidewalk, saying things like "Even my sh*t was scared."

Our Rough Guide said visitors to Queenstown might not have thought they'd splurge on bungee jumping but most end up succumbing to the barrage of advertisements. Maybe we're old fuddy duddies, but we didn't feel like spending almost $200 each to jump off a bridge. And anyway, here's an interesting article on how you should use your travel guide-- it says to use it for research, taking everything it says with a grain of salt, take notes on anything particularly compelling, and then leave it at home.

We visited the Queenstown Gardens and fell in love with this huge tree:

Here's my partner next to it to give you a sense of scale:

We walked down to Lake Wakatipu:

And discovered some stellar mountain views:

Our favorite mountain range was the aptly named Remarkables:

The water in Lake Wakatipu was incredibly clear:

We came across some neat birds that resembled seagulls but had black tails with white polka dots:

And after weeks of trail mix and sandwiches, we finally treated ourselves to a restaurant meal. It was the best Thai food I'd had in a long time:

Yum.