The Queen’s Town

 

Yesterday we had a beautiful drive through the mountains down to Queenstown, adventure capital of the world.

Mid-morning we stopped at Lake Matheson for views of Mount Tasman and Mount Cook. Neither explorer ever set eyes on the mountain named for him. The lake was formed by a glacier, so the water had no source and was thus very calm. We missed this perfect mirror effect thanks to the morning breeze. Mount Cook is one of the places I won’t have time for this trip and will have to return another time. Luckily we’ve got some pub time planned tonight at The Thirsty Ram and The World Bar to ease everyone’s nerves.

Queenstown is definitely known as a party town, and I can feel the overly expensive adventure activities and 130+ bars and cafes just creeping around every corner. Thank goodness I’m only here for two nights.

We then passed through Buller Gorge, a trip that traditionally would have taken 7 weeks, but we had a leisurely hour-and-a-half drive. A quick stop at Ship’s Cove beach showed some ‘save the earth’ hippies gutting fresh fish in the parking lot and a beautiful beach that was crowded with the 40 of us off the bus. Our last stop for the day was at Roaring Billy Falls, a waterfall across a gigantic riverbed that was mostly dry except for a lazy strip along the base of the mountainside holding the falls. The Brits began skipping rocks and Emma tried to re-teach me, but I have lost the talent for it.

Today the drive was less interrupted. We passed through the glorious mountains to Wanaka – a town that makes you want to come back in winter to gaze at the snow and enjoy the cold sweat of a ski run. I picked up a yummy bacon chicken ranch sandwich at Subway and sat on the deck to stare at the mountains reflecting on the lake. Traveling is starting to wear me out.

We stopped at the A.J. Hackett Bungy site just outside Queenstown and watched a video all about bungy. Erin and Keith talked me into it – tomorrow I’m jumping the Nevis. The world’s third highest bungy at 134 meters from a suspended cable car over the Nevis Canyon.

POST UPDATE: Here are a few photos of our day at the bungy site. It was amazing!

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