Complicated Queenstown

I finally managed to tear myself away from Fiordland today, and headed to Queenstown. The drive was beautiful, and I got the above photo which is kind of iconic for New Zealand- Mountains & Sheep…

As with most things on this trip, I’ll have a much longer post about Queenstown, but I was surprised to see rampant commercialism- the first time I have seen it on this trip and I was shocked/appalled/saddened by it. I have tried to avoid too much introspection about what I’m seeing on this trip- I’m in sensory overload mode right now and trying to grasp it all might make my head explode, but I did not expect Queenstown, especially the central downtown area, to look this way.

It sure is in a beautiful area, though, as this view from my hostel room proves. It’s probably the days of near isolation in the fiords that had me so wholly unprepared for the madness of Queenstown.

Feeding my obsession with elevated viewpoints, I took the Skyline Gondola up to overlook Queenstown.

The views of the town, it’s suburbs and those mountains (appropriately named The Remarkables) were pretty awesome. I warmed toward Queenstown a little, especially from this distance.

Activities available at the top of the mountain include tandem paragliding, bungy jumping & a luge. I did not avail myself of the adrenaline activities, but I did see the Kiwi Haka show. I knew going in this would be touristy, but it was one of those things you just do in New Zealand. I’m going to do it right, however, as I have a few things I am going to do & see on this trip to delve deeper into the complicated history of the Maori. 

The other thing I chose to do on top of the mountain was indulge in Skyline’s six course buffet dinner, which was ambitiously priced, but the food and the views made it worth it. The food really was amazing and I proceeded to try a little of everything and left comprehensively gorged. I made sure I photographed everything I tried, and I’ll do a post on it to prove that this picky eater got a little adventurous tonight. 

After dinner, I spent some time using the tripod to try and capture the lights of Queenstown at night, which I think I did. Not in the above photo, but I’m saving the good ones for a little later.

I have been running a day ahead of schedule so far, and I’m going to use it tomorrow here in Queenstown. I was originally only going to stay and day and a half and leave tomorrow afternoon, but I’m going to stay another night, and try again to find that scenic flight I so desperately want. I called about 10 places today and they either weren’t flying at all because the weather in the sounds was not cooperating, or they didn’t get the minimum numbers needed. I’m going to try again tomorrow, as I fear this might be my last chance. The awesome weather I’ve had is supposed to change tomorrow afternoon and I could be looking at a few days of rain in a row. Who knows with this country’s crazy weather- although it’s winter here and my luck with the weather has to run out eventually, right?

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