New Zealand: Christchurch to Queenstown

26 Jul

I know it’s been a while and I apologize.  I’m slowly working my way through all of my New Zealand photos.  It turns out it’s a lot harder to stay on top of a travel blog when you’re no longer traveling, but I promise that starting now I’ll get through these last few updates in a timely fashion.

From Thailand I flew to Sydney to meet my mom.  We stayed the night in Sydney which was kind of cool, because it was a chance to say goodbye to Australia.  We flew out very early in the morning bound for New Zealand.  We actually spent our first (and last) night in Christchurch but I have no photos and not much to say about it because a. I never saw it in the daylight and b. the city is still pretty messed up from the earthquakes, so there really wasn’t much to see where we were staying besides rubble and condemned houses.  We rented a car in Christchurch, woke up early the next morning, and headed for Queenstown, the “adventure capital of the world.”  The drive was about eight hours and took us through forests, mountains, and a whole lot of sheep farms.  I (of course) took photos along the way.

One thing we didn’t see much of was people.  There are only about one million people living on the entire South Island- that’s the population of the county I live in.  Pretty crazy.

Anyway, Queenstown was a charming place but it literally rained the entire time we were there.  (Unfortunately, this turned out to be true of pretty much our entire NZ trip.)  Still, it was rather lovely.  The town is built around a huge lake and surrounded by mountains that seem to just come out of nowhere.  We couldn’t see them for most of the time, but on the few occasions that the clouds receded, it was really a beautiful view.  It actually felt a lot like a ski resort, which was weird because there wasn’t any snow… there rarely is in Queenstown.  To ski you have to take a bus up into the mountains, but they don’t really have resorts up there like we have here so a lot of people will base themselves in town and take a shuttle to the slopes every day.  As a result there were people everywhere carrying skis and snowboards through the rain.  Most of them were around my age- it seemed like it would be a really fun place to visit with friends.

We basically spent two days in Queestown.  On one of those days we took a trip out to Milford Sound.  (I’ll talk about that in my next post.)  We spent the other day following the walking tour suggested by our copy of Lonely Planet’s guide to the South Island.  It ended up being pretty fun and a great way to see the highlights of the town.  We visited an underwater observatory, a bird sanctuary and some beautiful gardens.  We got fish and chips by the water for lunch and finished the day off with some wine tasting at this place in town called the Central Otago Wine Experience.  (I REALLY wanted to go actual wine tasting at a winery but we didn’t have time. :()  Here are some assorted photos from Queenstown.

That’s all I’ve got for Queenstown.  In a few days I’ll do a post about Milford Sound, so check back for that.  I hope everyone’s having a great summer!

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