Plainly and unapologetically an adventure tourism mecca, Queenstown (population 12,500) wears it proudly. And rightly so, flaunting its glamorous self at the foot of The Remarkables as it nuzzles the acrylic blue waters of Lake Wakatipu.
It's got the best look in town: sexy, adventuresome, and just plain gorgeous.
To me, one of the most exhilarating parts of travel is encountering a diverse range of people, and while we miss Chicago's rich diversity there are people from all over the world living and working in NZ. One night in Auckland, a couple of our crew stopped somewhere for a pizza to go. After ordering, the waiter asked if they wouldn't enjoy eating it hot and fresh in the restaurant.
"Our plan was to take it back to the hotel," Trevor told him.
Hands together in front and bowing slightly, the waiter replied: Respect for the plan.
This was a much-quoted phrase during the following week. And so it was after the long Milford Sound trip--on a free day and three-quarters--16 people took off in pursuit of disparate amusement. You've already seen the skydiving and helicoptering (and Holly and I rode horses! post to come).
Here's another photo mix showing other activities, many of them free. (We can barely keep up with the incoming flow of pix, everyone’s eye catching something different.)
Dusty, Chris, Holly, and I walked the esplanade
Cody and Trevor played disc golf in the Qtown botanic gardens
Here they are that evening sharing two-for-one fish and chips at the hotel. When asked what they enjoyed about the disc course they replied:
Trev: favorable bounce
We see what he means
Holly had a reading and our mother came through
to say she was glad about the ring
Holly wasn't sure at first what he was telling her. Duh!
Marc had the ring designed with diamonds from his Grandma Ellen Hough's wedding ring, her stones bookending the new central diamond.
While Holly talked with mom, Dustin and I wandered in search of a cafe and we found a splendid one, with salads and all manner of nicely priced nibbles.
Whatever you're up to, respect for the plan
A group of us went up on the gondola (while Holly, not a fan of heights, went to the kiwi conservation center).
There's a bungy jumping platform on the way up.
Here's Pete taking his first dive (joke--I shot this on a monitor).
On top of the world
The world in jelly bellies (NZ in licorice?)
Closer to sea level, time out for refreshment.
Paula got the bargain of the week with this hat for Peter, a steal at NZ$3.99.
Rich got a nice hat too.
NZ can be a pricey place, but like all travel it depends on how you approach it. We've spent most of our time here in a $30/day caravan, plus camping fees (plus oh yeah we bought a car, but Art would be doing that anyway), cooking our own meals, pouring our own drinks, and walking (as you know).
Someone early in our holiday said: the best parts of NZ are free. True, that.
There are lots of free things to do...
...including taking it all in. Austi, at left, told me her favorite part of the trip was just looking around.
With vistas like this...we get it!