Queenstown!

Happy New Year!!

Sunburnt and half bald… This is how I am greeting the new year… But also travelling to new places and appreciating those I love. 

I woke yesterday feeling that I was putting the patterns of my life back together. I woke this morning remembering that home is not a place, but the people who live in my heart. 

I’m leaving a piece of my heart in every place we visit in NZ. I could live here. I could own a boat! The lake is truly breathtaking. The mountains. The people. 

Not a lot of photos from the Queenstown adventures…   

This was on a plate – glass and too heavy, but I love it!   

So we quickly, and firmly, established the child would not even consider bungy, canyon swing, sky diving or paragliding… I even tried bribing with money! What teen doesn’t respond to money or food?!? But alas… No way in hell, was the response… Not even the scariest haunted house in the Southern Hemisphere…

We took a 360 speedboat up through the lake and up the shot over river. Glacier water is great for the skin so I’ve been told… But the temperature is not so great for the sanity! Take a hair tie!! This is my advice… And sunscreen :/ Another piece of my heart left up that lake though. Mesmerising. Breathtaking. Just…

Then up the gondola    
  

I have no fear of a bit of wire holding up my carriage… So it’s always odd to observe the panic of others…
The Luge (not a snow one) was at the top… How could we resist?!? 😝   

The chair lift for the second leg of the ascent     

On the way back to the hotel, we discovered an Ice Bar! Another tick for that Bucket List 😉 

Everything is ice…    

Even the glasses… Frostbite here we come!  

 
Then finally… New Years!!

A line up of bands we’d never heard of, but enjoyed 🙂 we were there in time for Versificator and Mojo. NZers it seems, have a favourite song – Wagon Wheel?!? I think I may have heard it once – very C & W… That’s what we heard the year out with… Not my first choice… Not my choice at all! 😉 But we did enjoy the bands 🙂  

Mojo and a countdown:

 

Then the fireworks over the lake 🙂    

A gorgeous way to see 2015 out! It seems the teen can’t handle the crowds though because then we were out of there! 😂

2016 was welcomed in by another tick on that List – segways!!     So much fun!! I want one 🙂 

Breakfast by the lake…     

Then driving on to Dunedin, Moeraki Boulders and Oamaru…
 

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It is morning and I am yawning… I’m convinced the teen is planning to spend the trip catching up on a lifetime of sleep…   

 No need to rush today though – we’re here for two nights… It’s already starting to feel like home 😉

Yesterday was driving… driving… driving… to Queenstown…. No one to take the happy snaps, as she slept…   

   
The one lane bridges throughout NZ still mess with my head… Forever stopping… Forever forgetting to stop!   

I’m loving the NZ safety radio messages (but not the intermittent radio service!!)… Drive safely, don’t ruin someone else’s life… I know you want to keep your baby close, but keep them in the back seat… 

Lake Hawea – there is no gentle flowing water in NZ! Or if there is, we’re yet to find it… Everything is tumultuous, discontented…  

What’s with the bonfires on every beach? NewYear?   

Then up through the amazing Crown range 🙂   

   
And finally…. Having driven past too many places at which we should have stopped… Queenstown 🙂  

I feel like we’re moving too fast… I want to go back and undo the organisation. I almost didn’t book accommodation until we arrived… But given the time of year… Glad I did! Twice so far they’ve double booked us and had to do some crazy scrambling to find us other accommodation. NZ is decidedly booked out at this time of year! But we are skimming… I want to stop and see and experience. I want to hike. I want to climb. I want to take the road less travelled. 

Hokitika to the Glaciers

17000 steps and 75 flights of stairs, according to the Fitbit on the teen’s arm. Add an unknown number of driven kilometres. That was yesterday’s adventure! Not a lot according to many, but enough of an adventure to make us sleep well 😉

Another hotel room to wake in… I feel like I should be writing a song rather than a recount…

Loving the adventure with the child. This will be our last before she is an adult, so our last for quite some time I imagine. She has one year of school left… Then her thoughts and focus will be firmly on her friendships… They already are for the most part…

So, yesterday was shopping for jade – these ones are my own favourite and a gift from the child 🙂

 I need to research it more… I want to know the beliefs associated with this stone…

Hokitika Gorge was first on the list. Driving in NZ, the thing that strikes me is the mountains. They’re like blobs of PlayDough dumped on the island. In Oz, our mountains tend to creep up on us and you find yourself within them without realising.   

  
The Gorge… The pics just don’t capture the colours. Brilliant turquoise water – the result of melted glacier, rock flour and something else… Pretty sure I know a geologist who will fill in that blank 😉 but the colours… Breathtaking! As simple and as cliched as that. 
   

And the swing bridge that has an odd restriction…
 Heavy people in NZ?!?
Next was the treetop walk. We have so many in Oz, but I’ve never been on one. So another tick on the bucket list 😉 

 A great experience if you’re into plants… And from what I read, if you’re into plants, NZ is certainly the place you want to be!!  

Then down to the glaciers finally!    

We didn’t book a helihike because we were told there are no guarantees. Wait until you are there and book it, because the weather can change quickly… Everything is booked out because it is the Christmas season!! 

So…. We hiked to Franz Josef. Within 250 metres of a glacier is NOT even remotely close to walking ON a glacier… Yet another reason to return… Or maybe I will add hiking on a glacier to my South America trip… Whenever that happens… No longer next year for the olympics!

She regretted the ‘inappropriate footwear’… 
  
 It looked amazing at the start of the trek…
     

Much less impressive from 250m away in summer…
  

Waterfalls…

  

Grey rivers… 

 

  
And rocks for the rock lover 😉    

   

But I loved the sound of walking on these  … the sound of carrying a box of china to a new house… 🙂

On to Queenstown today 🙂

I am in love…

With this part of the world 😉

I’m not as taken with the amazing coastline as I was promised – but perhaps that is simply because I am spoiled with a stunning coastline in my own neck of the woods… 

But I am loving the people and the outlook on life, and I am loving Hokitika!

  
They do keep telling us this weather is deceptive. Apparently, it’s been the worst spring and summer to date… But this week, the magic has appeared. 

I love these two pics:

   
 Because I was standing in the same spot at the same time when I took them. Beautiful summer beach weather, with snow capped mountains in the background!
And finally, the sunset over the west coast…

  
Today, if I can drag the teen from her bed, we’ll explore the treetop walk and the swinging bridge, before heading south to the glaciers. 

But I have fallen in love with this section of the coast in particular. I could live here… More importantly, I could afford to live here!! 😂