Sunday, February 7, 2010


Queenstown was our last stop in the South Island before one night in Auckland on our way out of New Zealand.  Located on Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown seemed like an amalgamation of Boulder, Colorado and Prague.  It was packed with tourists, especially backpackers, most of whom were using the town as their base for helicoptering, jetboating, skydiving, bungee jumping or even just hiking around the local mountainous wilderness.  Everywhere else we went in New Zealand seemed to be visited only by elderly British couples and ourselves.  In Queenstown, I was the one who felt old.

This is Vesta Design Store and Cafe, on the lake shore in town.  It is a cute old house where Kiwi designers sell their wares and you can enjoy a flat white (latte) while perusing some local architecture and interiors magazines.

The greenhouse in the front garden was cute.

In the spirit of all things Queenstown, we decided to get our piece of the adrenaline circuit and signed up for some tandem paragliding.  We strapped in with our respective guides and leapt off of this mountain into the wind.  That blue ribbon indicates to the guide that there is enough wind to keep you aloft once you jump off the edge.

There goes my boyfriend.

I expected to be terrified, but it was actually quite peaceful.  As close as a person can get to flying... quietly drifting over hilltops and forest.

At the end of the ride, my guide gained altitude on a cross wind and then decided to give me a thrill by spiraling down to earth incredibly fast.  It was radical.  I wanted to go again as soon as it was over.

Having really experienced the nature, adventure, and thrills of the South Island, we flew to Auckland for one night in New Zealand's largest city before heading home.  There were some pretty Victorian houses in various stages of repair and disrepair around the Ponsonby neighborhood where our hotel was located.

Two weeks was not enough to see all of the South Island, let alone the whole of New Zealand, but I think we got a good taste for things.  Of course, I was blown away by the awesome natural beauty of these islands (as everyone who has been is, I am sure).  Also, I was surprised by the sense of isolation and its strong affect on the culture of the place.  If I am ever lucky enough to go back, I think I will focus the trip even more on seeing pure nature.  Auckland was a pleasant enough city, and we had some good food and great wine in several places, but without a doubt the most remarkable time of our trip was spent being floored by the surreal countryside, beaches, mountains, forests, glaciers, rivers and lakes of this tucked-away corner of the globe.

No comments:

Post a Comment