We left our hotel in Manapouri a little after 9:00 am and began our two hour drive to Queenstown. We didn’t stop along the way as much as I had planned, however, I did manage to get a few nice photographs when we did.
We arrived in Queenstown a little after 11:00 and checked into the Earnslaw Hotel. It was still raining when we arrived, so Lisa and I decided to try and do some of the indoor activities Queenstown had to offer. But first we needed to get some food into our stomachs.
We found this great little Thai restaurant in the city centre that promised authentic Thai food. Lisa ordered a chicken dish and I ordered a fish dish. When the food arrived at our table, to our surprise, my dish came out with the fish head still on the plate. I thought it was cool, Lisa thought it was gross.
After the meal we headed to Caddy Shack City for some indoor mini golf. For $30 we played 18 holes on the most amazing mini golf course, I’m sure it must be one of the best in the world. Each hole had a unique theme and had varying degrees of contraptions setup for your golf ball to get lost in. One of the more spectacular holes had your golf ball go up a ski lift and then down a ski hill. Then depending on which run it took down the ski hill, you would end up in different putting situations for your last few strokes on the hole. Another neat feature was the 18th whole, which was a candy shop. Once we sunk our balls a lollipop fell from somewhere within the candy shop and appeared at our feet, I think this was Lisa’s favourite part of the entire course. Once our game was over we headed over to the lounge section and exchanged our ticket passes for complimentary sodas.
When we left the mini golf the sky looked to be clearing up a bit, So Lisa and I headed back to the hotel to lay out our strategy plan for the next few days in Queenstown.
Back at the hotel our hostess was great. She asked us what we wanted to do, made a few recommendations and then took care of all the bookings for us; now that’s what I call good service. Lisa and I finally decided on the Shotover Jet Boat ride and our hotel hostess called them up and got us booked in for 5:00 pm.
Lisa and I had some time to kill before our Shotover Jet Boat ride so we walked over to the hotel located across the street from ours to use the internet connection there. We uploaded some of our more recent photos up onto the website and sent a few emails off to our family.
Back in downtown Queenstown we boarded our tour bus a few minutes after 5:00 and headed on a 10 minute ride just outside of town to the Shotover River. When we arrived, the bus dropped us off near the edge of the river where we were given a long waterproof coat and life vest. The boats were cruising up and down the river as we were putting on our gear. From what I could see, the jet boats looked to be coming within millimetres of the canyon walls. It looked like it was going to be good!!
Each boat seated 14 people. Lisa and I sat together; Lisa made me sit on the edge as she was a little apprehensive from what she had seen while standing on the bank waiting to board.
The Jet Boat pilot gave us a small speech to prep us for the boat ride and then we were off. We blasted off through the Shotover River Canyon at 75 KM/H coming within just centimetres of the rock faces on the edges of the river. The entire boat ride was like this, just nearly missing a rock or the river bank by only a few hairs. It was a pretty thrilling ride, but it wasn’t very warm outside and Lisa and I got cold fairly quickly. A real thrill was when the boat did a 360 degree spin, however the excitement started to wear off about fifteen minutes into the ride as we knew what to expect after a while. The complete ride consisted of shooting up and then back down the river in about a 30 minute span before docking once again.
Once back on shore Lisa and I weren’t super thrilled about the ride and didn’t end up buying any of the photos and souvenirs they try to sell you at the end. We just boarded the next tour bus back to Queenstown. I’m sure if it had been a nicer day it would have been a lot more enjoyable, but we were pretty cold by the time we got off the jet boat!
When we got back to Queenstown, Lisa needed a pair of pants since she had only brought capri pants with her on the trip. We wandered around Queenstown for a while looking for a good shop where we could find a descent pair of pants. Well this was hopeless right from the moment we started. Girls have trouble finding clothes even when they know where to get it, but now we were in a town where we didn’t know where anything was. Oh well, at least we got to check out more of downtown Queenstown. After wandering around downtown Queenstown for an hour or so looking for pants, we took our defeat and walked back to our hotel room.
Back at the hotel we gathered my laptop and headed back over to the hotel across the street to get something to munch on and to use their internet connection. Lisa ordered a chicken appetizer while I enjoyed a pint of New Zealand fine Speight’s beer as I typed away on my computer answering emails and doing a little work.
After along day Lisa and I returned to our hotel room and called it a night.
Another rainy day!! Lisa and I woke up around 8:00 am and opened the curtains to another grey sky. I was supposed to go tandem paragliding off the mountain in Queenstown but after a phone call for a weather update it didn’t look like I was going to be flying any time soon.
Lisa and I headed down to the local McDonalds for breakfast to start the day; Lisa was craving McDonald’s Pancakes. After breakfast we walked over to the Skyline Gondola and took a ride up the mountain to the viewing station on the top. Once on top Lisa and I took a few photos and decided to check out the luge ride which was a little further up the mountain.
We walked to the chair lift which brought us even further up the mountain; this is where the luge ride began. After some brief instructions on how to slow down and stop, we were on our way down the mountain on these crazy little luges. The luge was awesome. I kicked Lisa’s butt to the finish line, although I think she was more worried of loosing control and going over the side of the mountain. Once down the course I went for another run, since I knew I would be kicking myself later if I didn’t try it again, this time on the faster of the two tracks available.
Lisa stood further down the track and took a few photos of me as I passed under one of the walkway bridges.
After the second luge ride Lisa was cold, so we headed inside to the cafe for a hot chocolate. Lisa said it was some of the best hot chocolate she has ever had!
After an hour on the mountain top we hopped back on one of the gondolas and went back down into the village. We didn’t really have all that much planned for the day so we went back to our hotel, got my laptop and went across the street to the other hotel to use their internet connection.
It was only about 3:00 and it was still raining outside. We were out of activities to do in Queenstown, so we decided to go for a walk along the lake shore.
The walk along the lake was great; it didn’t rain too much which made it much more pleasant. Some of the houses we saw along the lake front were huge; they were such a contrast to the other houses we had seen in town.
After our lake side walk we headed on down to the city center to see if we could find a nice restaurant to eat in. On our way, we happened to come across the Queenstown gardens; it’s really a great place to visit! There is a huge pond teaming with ducks and birds and huge trees that tower over the park. It only took five minutes to walk through and was really quite scenic.
We found a nice Italian restaurant in the city center called Fatz Cat. The sign on the door said the restaurant was open at 5:30 and it just so happened to be 5:30 when we walked through the door. We were the first ones in the restaurant and I think we caught the staff a little off guard as not all the staff was there yet.
Lisa and I ordered nearly the exact same pasta dishes, but instead Lisa had the chicken and I had ham. It was a great meal and went down well with a couple of glasses of the local Sauvignon Blanc wine. The restaurant was quite interesting, it was lined with cat stuff; books, pictures, stuffed dolls anything you could possibly think of. I didn’t have a chance to ask the host whose collection it was, but it was really interesting to look at while eating.
After supper Lisa and I walked to the Steamer Wharf and decided to try our luck inside the Wharf Casino. The casino was not very big, it probably had about 40 slot machines and a few poker and blackjack tables. Lisa and I started off small with the penny machines, I lost $40 in about 20 minutes and Lisa lost about $15.
Like any good gambler I decided to try and win back my losses quickly and went and played on the dollar machines. My second pull on the dollar machine netted me $100, which was enough to cover my losses and the cost of supper for that evening, so I cashed out.
After the big win at the casino Lisa and I called it a night and headed back to our hotel room. On our way out of Steamer Wharf we passed by a lounge called minus5. It caught our attention because the lounge was made of ice. We found out that everything inside the lounge is made of ice too. It seemed interesting but we decided not to go in since we left winter back home and were in no hurry to rejoin the cold!
Back at the hotel Lisa had a bit of an upset stomach and we didn’t want to chance it leaving the hotel room, so we sat around and watched a few really interesting shows on T.V.