We have found the chilly part of New Zealand and it’s a damp cold. It feels… cold, and I am notoriously complainy about always being too hot.
Between rainy visits to local bakeries for sausage rolls and meat pies and drizzly stops to run off a bit of energy at a park, we have managed a few adventures in our days here so far. I am pretty glad we budgeted plenty of extra time here in Queenstown because the rain is a constant threat and my obsession with checking the weather forecast has reached pathetic proportions. It changes hourly and every website predicts drastically different wind speeds and precipitation probabilities! How is a planner to plan?!
Queenstown’s sights are entirely outdoors and there appears to be a reason for that. It’s freaking gorgeous everywhere you look. It’s the most beautiful city I think I’ve been to. My memory isn’t the greatest, but I’m reasonably confident in this.
Consequently, even though it is about the population size of Golden, it feels a bit more like a big city in the center because it is crawling with tourists even at this time of year. The city’s “core” is full of storefronts; about half restaurants and the other half split between clothing or souvenir stores and tour companies. I have never passed this many businesses dedicated to speedboat experiences, zip tours, and who knew how many things you could do involving a helicopter?
Day #1 we made it down to wander around Lake Wakatipu before taking cover in the local library – a welcome stop for the kids.
By the afternoon it had cleared enough to go up the Skyline Gondola, which had changed quite a bit from my childhood. The boys’ main memory won’t be the views (unfortunately) but the luge track that has been added since I visited in the EIGHTIES.
Day #2 we took it easy meaning I don’t remember what we did for the first chunk of the day.
We made it out in the afternoon again for a visit to the Kiwi Birdlife Park (BRRRRRRR). I don’t have many pics of this stop because I was a little pissy and chilly and there was far too much Cam management going on. He appreciated the nocturnal houses, where they keep kiwis and quiet voices are required, almost as much as Quinn did, which wasn’t a lot. Once we got the hell out of those (even though, by the way, kiwis are pretty cool looking!) things turned around. The older two got hooked on the audio tour, which they thought sounded stupid when their parents initially suggested it, and we were walking among bush trails so the little one was able to run and swing sticks around. Thumbs up.
The “conservation show” here was the highlight. Lots of info about how the prey-predator balance was thrown off in the 19th century when rabbits were introduced for fun. There were no predators here to take care of them so they multiplied (like rabbits 😉 ) and then someone introduced this stoat (weasely-looking) thing to take care of the rabbits but they started killing all the birds, including kiwis. They now have a big push and plan to eradicate the top three unnatural predators in NZ by 2050 (stoats, possums – brought over by Australians – and rats). We saw related traps in the Blue Pools area the other day and the bloke who hosted the show said if you see a possum when you are out driving, please don’t swerve.
Next up, we are getting a nice day (all the reports match up and everything!) and heading to a working farm…