New Zealand Part 17: Queenstown

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The one place I will always visit when I go to New Zealand is Queenstown.  The town has grown since my last visit and the resort atmosphere may not be for everyone.  Has the majesty been lost in the assortment of jet boats, ziplines and sky diving?  None of that bothers me.  The town is wonderful and Lake Wakatipu has stolen my heart.  And if you do need something to occupy your time, there are always ways to do so.

On one morning Halley and I decided to go to Skippers Canyon.  This wasn’t the best idea ever; the weather wasn’t cooperating.

Road warning sign at entrance to Skippers Canyon

Road Warning!  From this point on it’s one lane, narrow, and insurance no longer applies to rental vehicles.

Nonetheless, I couldn’t wait to ride along this road and the tour company trucks were willing to do it.  The foggy weather may have been a blessing.  We weren’t able to see the sheer drops along the edge of the road!  In some places we drove right next to the cliff wall.

The Skippers Canyon road is cut right through the cliff face

The Skippers Canyon road is cut right through the cliff face

Like a typical tourist I enjoyed the ride. Of course, we made the requisite scenic stops, a picnic stop, and even a stop along the Shotover River to pan for gold.  This is the same river that’s famous for the Shotover Jet Boats.  I so wanted to get all the way to Skippers Bridge. But there had been a slip which closed the road.  We had to turn around at that point. One of these days I’ll find that bridge!

Our day wasn’t over yet.  Halley and I still had the afternoon!  And this time we headed for Glenorchy.  I love the drive to this small town. The road winds along Lake Wakatipu.

Lake Wakatipu and the Glenorchy Road, autumn 2014

Lake Wakatipu and the Glenorchy Road, autumn 2014

We were headed to the stables and horseback ride along the Dart River.  I may live near the American West, but I don’t ride.  And this time we had English tack.  It seemed easier and more comfortable than the western saddle.  A few of the riders in our group were experienced; the rest were like Halley and me.  We plodded along at a stately pace as we criss-crossed the Dart.  It was a glorious afternoon.

Horseback riding along the Dart River

Horseback riding along the Dart River        Photo by Halley Boatman Sanchez

Halley had the Olympus TG-4.  It came in handy on this New Zealand adventure and especially on the ride because the stables didn’t allow large cameras while on the horses.  The Olympus is pocket size, and water proof.  We were taking no chances that it would fall into the Dart (which it didn’t!)

Is all this starting to sound too adventurous?  As I said above, Queenstown is full of thrills, but there are quiet times as well.  We like to visit the Queenstown Gardens.  There are lots of trails to follow and one can walk along the shore of the lake or explore the rose garden.  It’s also a nice place to come and relax.

Relaxing in Queenstown Gardens

Relaxing in Queenstown Gardens

Whatever you do, don’t pass up Queenstown.  It has something for everyone.  And its beauty is beyond measure.

 


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