Queenstown sits on the north shore of Lake Wakatipu in the south-western alpine region of the South Island. It is surrounded by the Southern Alps, and it is often referred to as the 'Adventure Capital of NZ'. This resort town recently overtook Auckland as least affordable place to buy property in NZ.
We traveled the Crown Range Road over the mountains to get to Queenstown. We left town by way of Gibbston Valley, following the Kawarau River through the 'world's most southern wine growing region.'
The Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge was built in 1880. We stopped here to view the bungee jumpers and this beautiful river.
In 1988, the world's first commmercial bungee jumping business was started on this bridge.
The view from the Crown Range lookout is of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.
A view of the Crown Range Road, as it winds it's way down to the Arrow Valley just above Queenstown.
Bob's Peak overlooks Queenstown; there is a gondola ride that takes you to the top. During the daylight hours, there is a steady stream of paragliders leaving from here.
Sitting next to Bob's Peak is Queenstown Hill; one morning we hiked up here for a view of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the mountain range called the Remarkables. This Basket of Plenty sculpture was built to celebrate the millennium.
The Queenstown Gardens are located on a small peninsula on the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu. This entrance sits close to center of Queenstown CBD.
When we visited, they were setting up for an art show in the Queenstown Gardens and along the shoreline.
A male pied muscovy duck at the Queenstown Gardens.
In NZ this native bird is called a kereru or NZ pigeon. Like the wompoo dove that we saw at Daintree, AU, it has the important role of eating large fruit and then spreading the seeds for long distances.
Queenstown sits nestled between Lake Wakapitu and Bob's Peak (part of the Ben Lomond Mountain).
William Rees is regarded as the founder of Queenstown. He was an explorer, surveyor and he was one of the first Europeans to settle here. After gold was discovered, he had to give up his sheep farm, but he turned to selling food and other services to the miners. His contributions to the growth of the area included a timber mill, churches, a hospital, and a hotel to name a few.
One of the most famous restaurants in Queenstown is called the Fergburger. There was a long line, but the service was great and so was the "Fergburger".
One day we drove alongside Lake Wakatipu to the small town of Glenorchy. Located at the top end of the lake, it is about a 45 minute drive from Queenstown. Here, the Dart River empties into Lake Wakatipu, and the surrounding mountains are much closer together.
The Glenorchy wharf and railway shed are located on the north end of Lake Wakatipu. Until the 1960's, there was no road to here from Queenstown.
Jet boat rides on the Dart River are a popular thing to do in Glenorchy, but business was slow on this day. We noticed that tractors are frequently used to tow/launch boats in NZ.
We walked around the Glenorchy Lagoon.
On our way to Glenorchy, we drove along the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu. We passed by Pig and Pigeon Islands which lie in the middle of the lake..
If you follow the narrow valley north of Glenorchy, you might eventually find Paradise. The name either comes from the abundance of paradise shelducks or simply from it's beauty. Paradise is described as a "rural locality;" and since there is no specific spot, it is all about the journey. The journey involves driving on a gravel road through lots of sheep and cattle land, past Diamond Lake, Mt Ernslaw, to the border of Mt Aspiring NP. It is remote and beautiful!
There have been multiple movies filmed here including: The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.
A view of the mountains surrounding the Paradise Valley .
Arcadia House sits by Diamond Lake in the Paradise Valley. It was built in 1906 by a wealthy Englishman named Joseph Fenn. His plan to entice a future bride failed; he never married or lived in the house. He lived as a recluse in a nearby cabin; Arcadia House became a guest lodge run by managers that he hired. Arcadia means "paradise" in Greek.
We drove across the Arcadia station which sits in the Paradise valley.