To Queenstown

On 1st July we took the bus from Franz Josef township to Queenstown, so-called “Adventure Capital of the South Island.” On the way we stopped at Lake Matheson which, thanks to the clear weather, had the most beautiful reflection of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. As we got closer to Queenstown, driving through the Makarora river valley, the scenery just got better and better as the day went on — all of the countryside is so beautiful around here, but this was one of the best journeys that we have done so far!

In the afternoon we stopped briefly at the town of Wanaka. We didn’t see the town itself but instead spent the time at the excellent Puzzling World just outside the town. This had four “illusion” rooms which showcased various optical illusions and tricks, such as heads that follow you around the room, the wierd effects you get if make the floor at a 45 degree angle, some holograms and a demonstration of one of the tricks they used Lord of the Rings to make hobbits appear smaller and other creatures larger! There was also a tricky but very fun 3-D maze, but it was time to leave before I had chance to finish it. 🙁

On the way into Queenstown we stopped at the site of the first-ever commercial bungee jump operation. A baby jump of just 43m compared to others that are now available (Andy did the 134m “Nevis” the next morning!), it was fun to watch people throw themselves into the canyon, but the concept still doesn’t appeal to me — it’s not a cheap activity and it all seems to be over rather quickly really.

Since Andy was jumping the next day and we needed to plan our itinerary for the next few days, I spent the 2nd July wandering around Queenstown, sampling its various coffee shops and enjoying the views of the lake and mountains. By sheer chance we had timed our arrival to coincide with the opening of the annual Winter Festival, and there was an outdoor party starting mid-afternoon. Some of the entertainment was a bit suspect, such as dancing “celebrities” (all unknown outside of NZ!) from some reality TV programme called Dancing with Celebrities, but there were some good fire dancers, a very polished and amusing performance from Abba-tribute band Abbalicious and some excellent fireworks. (These were set to music which I’d really like to find out more about but alas my knowledge of classical music is practically non-existent! I think the opening passage was associated with the NASA Apollo missions in some way — it’s a very rousing intro — so I shall have to hunt that down when I get back to the UK.)

After dinner we caught the second half of the rugby… no more needed on that topic I fear!

One Response to “To Queenstown”

  1. Rosie Says:

    So glad you decided not to bounce up and down on your head; all that geek knowledge might have fallen out. I have a horrible suspicion that what you thought was classical music was actually 20th century orchestral film music, but perhaps I misjudge your self-confessed lack of musical knowledge. Did it go Duuuuum, Duuuuum, DuDuuuuum. Duuuuum, Duuuuuum, DuDuuuuuum. DuDuuuuum, Duuuuuum, Duuuuuuuuuuum at the beginning, played by brass?