Here I am on the second Queenstown blog, and we haven’t even covered the first day yet.
After checking into our bach and soaking in the view, we hopped in our rental car to check out Moke Lake, where Top of the Lake was filmed. The road there was barely wide enough for one car, let alone two, but it was well worth the bumpy ride.
It’s easy to see why they chose this place as the setting for “Paradise.” If you haven’t seen Top of the Lake, go watch it now.
That might be my favorite shot of all. What cute parents I have.
Lots of photographing photographers here. Can you blame all of us for trying to capture this epic spot, though?
There’s a DOC campground on the side of Moke Lake, and I’d really love to stay for a night or two sometime. Imagine how peaceful it would be, and what the night sky would look like overhead.
We didn’t have time to hike around the entire lake, so we did part of the track and stopped to take in the view at a good vantage point.
Since we had a wine tour scheduled bright and early the next day, it was time to head back to our car.
We popped into Queenstown for some groceries, and my mom made a fabulous pasta dinner. We watched Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, as the sun set over Middle Earth outside. Pretty epic first day, I’d say!
The next morning, we woke to THIS view.
Not a bad spot for breakfast.
It was finally time for the long-awaited wine expedition. My dad had booked the four of us onto a day tour of Central Otago, which was customized to our particular interests and tastes (although most of our tastes were “wine,” while my dad had a lot more specific ideas). It ended up being just us and a young couple on their honeymoon from the US.
Not only did we stop at some great wineries, but our guide, Matt, taught us so much about the history of Central Otago and the unique aspects of each vineyard. After a wonderful morning of wine tasting, we stopped for lunch (and more wine) in Cromwell.
The highlight of our afternoon was definitely Georgetown Vineyard. With a tasting room housed in a 19th century blacksmith shop that could barely fit more than a few people and owned by a guy donning gumboots and shorts, this place was the ultimate Kiwi experience.
Oh yeah, and the wine was fabulous!
The vines are covered in netting to protect the ripening grapes from opportunistic birds.
I can’t leave out the epic view from Georgetown, either.
Although we would have been happy to, we couldn’t spend all afternoon at the same place. Time for the next one!
While I love a good wine, nothing beats this sight upon arriving at a vineyard (or anywhere, for that matter).
Mt Rosa had some fabulous wine, but all I wanted was some time with Baz.
Just look at that face!
As the sun sank behind the mountains, it was time to head back toward Queenstown.
We made a quick stop in Arrowtown to check out our guide’s favorite wine seller.
Back at our bach and full of wine, we ordered delivery from Pedro’s House of Lamb, recommended to us by TripAdvisor and our guide, Matt. It was fall-off-the-bone delicious, and lived up to all expectations.
The four of us enjoyed a magnificent sunset before watching the final Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. It’d come in handy on our Middle Earth explorations the next day.
The low clouds over the Remarkables made them look like a plateau – so cool.
What a fabulous day. If anyone is looking for an amazing outing in Central Otago, I highly recommend New Zealand Wine Tours. You get your money’s worth and so much more, even if you start out knowing nothing about wine. Mmm, speaking of… now I want some wine.
Come along to Lothlórien in my next blog!