While the trip had been pretty amazing start to finish and easily the longest vacation we've ever taken, it was coming to a close. We thought 16 days was pretty excessive, but pretty much every other tourist we met couldn't believe how short that was. I guess when you compare it to the Israeli woman spending 3 months in New Zealand or the German couple who was only half way through their six month holiday around the world, it doesn't really stand-up. Regardless, it felt long to us and it was time for our last stop of the trip, Queenstown. First though we had to get there. We took yet another scenic drive heading south.
Seriously, this entire country is a freaking post card.
We stopped at one of the dozens of random pull-off points. This one happened to be called Ship Creek. We found a sign on the beach explaining the name. Some time in the 1800's a ship wrecked on the rocks off the coast of Melbourne. Eventually, the tide pulled the wreck back out to sea and apparently it floated clear across the Tasman and landed here, on a random spot on the western coast of the South Island. The remains of the wreck are still on display in a museum in Haast Pass.
This is the lake that the town of Wanaka is built around. We stopped for lunch and a quick walk around. Seemed like a pretty cool place. If we could have changed one thing about the trip it would have been to leave Fox Glacier a night earlier and spent the night in Wanaka. Oh well, you never know until you get there.
We were stoked for Queenstown ("a city fit for Queen Victoria"), because it is called the adventure capital of the world. We'd tend to agree. It has a population of about 30,000, and a third of that has to be tourists at any given time. Our first stop on Adventure Day was Jetboating. Olivia models this year's newest Jetboat fashion.
Now, Jetboating isn't baby friendly so we had to do this in shifts. Let's do this!
What is Jetboating? It's a super fast, boat that uses jet water propulsion to move around. As such, it can operate in water as shallow as 6-8 inches which is incredible. They go super-fast through Shotover Canyon and come disturbingly close to being bashed to death along the canyon walls. It. Is. AWESOME.
Next up was bungee jumping. You may not know this, we certainly didn't, but bungee jumping was invented by a Kiwi and the first commercial operation was opened at Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. Olivia, apparently having a death wish, couldn't wait to go. She also dressed appropriately in her Tarzan romper. They'll actually let you jump naked if you want, and apparently "it's a surprisingly popular choice." Greg and Laurel told her that we would happily watch and take pictures. For some reason she decided not to take us up of the offer.
Olivia stepping out on the ledge, preparing to make her bungee. As last views go, you could do a lot worse.
And there she goes. It's been nice knowing you Olivia. We'll miss you.
I'm so glad you didn't die, Aunt Wib!
For those that need it, there is a bar on premises with a very apt name. Olivia, not being a punk, needed no such libation.
Easily the best bathroom signs ever.
Anytime you want to stop being a postcard, you feel free Queenstown. Needless to say, this was our favorite city we went to in New Zealand. Saved the best for last. Now we're just trying to decide if Queenstown or Wellington is our favorite Kiwi city. Future travel may be required to fully answer this question.
All that adventure made us hungry, so we stopped for a cookie and a photo op with the Cookie Time monster. Who looks kind of high. Pretty sure there was only chocolate chips in our cookies.
This is William Gilbert Rees, the founder of Queenstown, sculpted here with a sheep. Way to just embrace the stereotype, New Zealand. He settled there in 1861 with his wife. When gold was discovered nearby in 1862, he sold off his land for a fortune and moved away. Not making this up. The "founder of Queenstown" barely lived there for a year.
This trip was fun guys, but I'm tired. Also, I love being a naked baby.