Without further delay, let’s get back to Queenstown! I’ve been a bit behind on photos, too busy enjoying the summer weather here while it lasts. Editing photos inside with the curtains drawn (that glare!) sometimes seems like a crime against Mother Nature, but I finally got around to it yesterday evening.
Let’s pick up where we left off, as I finished my morning walk along the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
To give you an idea of the lake itself, here it is on Google Maps. You can only see part of it from any given vantage point, so you often don’t grasp how vast it truly is.
This beautiful boat heading toward Queenstown is the TSS Earnslaw. Wikipedia says it best: “The TSS Earnslaw is a 1912 Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer…. It is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Central Otago, and the only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere.” Even if it’s touristy, it’s definitely worthwhile and surprisingly affordable. I went out on it a few years back and really enjoyed the experience.
Back in town, I met up with Karinna and Kate (the Ks unite!) for a wander through the botanic gardens while some of the ladies went to Glenorchy and others to the Onsen Hot Pools. There are so many adventures to choose from around here!
We couldn’t have gotten better weather for this beautiful walk.
Since Kate and I clearly have super-human noodle arms, the camera couldn’t quite fit us all in. Still love these shots. 🙂
And just when you thought you’d seen all the lupins Queenstown had to offer…
I love the clouds hugging the Remarkables in the background.
The gardens are on a peninsula jutting out into the lake, so after following the lakeside path, we headed in to the central bit and meandered through the rose gardens.
One of the big trees needed a helping hand. How incredible is this carved limb-crutch? It features the symbol of NZ/Aotearoa, the unfurling koru, also known as the silver fern.
After all they do for us, the least we can do is give a little extra support to a tree in need!
We stopped at a cafe by the beach in town before meeting the rest of the group for a boat trip on the Spirit of Queenstown. This 90-minute trip takes you up one of the arms of Lake Wakatipu and back, with incredible views along the way.
You don’t even have to get very far for jaw-dropping sights. Behind the houses, you can see Queenstown Hill, which we climbed the day before.
And here’s some of Queenstown’s many fancy hotels, with the gondola apex up above.
Further out of town, we picked up speed and Queenstown Hill shrunk behind us.
We passed the Earnslaw, on another one of its trips.
Again, I’m sometimes not sure whether we’re in the Southern Alps or just the Alps. Look at this place!
The boat captain let us try out his chair, despite nearly scaring me away with questions about being an American and what I think of “our leader.” That’s one way to put off most Americans traveling in NZ, but luckily I’m used to it by now. If all else fails, just say you’re Canadian.
I think Em pulls off the captain look pretty well.
Even in summer, snow lingers atop the upper reaches of the rugged alpine landscape.
All the colors seem more brilliant here, like someone turned up the saturation. No, it wasn’t me on this end, I swear!
This is truly my happy place. 🙂 Can you tell?
Even in the covered portion of the boat, the view was stunning. See what I mean about colors here?
I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to be ridiculous, and this WAS a boat after all…
Even better, Emma is always on board to partake in these photo ops. One of many reasons I love her!
Luckily, no icebergs in sight.
Civilization gave way to more rugged landscapes, with fewer and fewer houses in sight. This is the land of the high country sheep farm.
Glaciers appeared in the distance, mostly obscured by clouds, marking the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park. It’s one of NZ’s most epic, in my opinion (and that says a lot, in a country like this).
The road to Glenorchy can be seen, precariously holding tight to the sheer cliffs rising above Wakatipu.
Despite the lovely interior, we mostly stayed outside, enjoying all the sunshine we could.
Before long, we were pulling into Mt Nicholas Station. There are many high country farms dotted around these mountains, and some have opened their doors to tourists. You can stay overnight here, even in the “Shearer’s Quarters.” Sign me up!
I can only imagine what the stars must look like from here on a clear night.
While we docked, it was the perfect time for a group shot of all of us. Thanks, Emma P!
After dropping off some people and picking up others, we were back en route to Queenstown.
We spent most of the return journey enjoying some hot drinks and nice conversation, tucked inside, with a view like a painting out every window.
What a perfect group outing!
We enjoyed a relaxed afternoon and had a wonderful dinner in town at The Ballarat Trading Co. that evening, complete with plenty of wine and laughs. The next day, we sadly had to say goodbye, but there will surely be another epic ladies’ trip before long!
Farewell for now, but see you soon, Qtown!
Jayne and Ian arrive the day after tomorrow, so some epic family adventures are sure to feature on the blog next. 🙂