Leaving Wanaka was bittersweet. We spent the morning attending the local ANZAC ceremony (more on that later) which included beautiful bagpipes and bi planes flying over the lake. We then hopped in the car to drive the spectacular Crown Range Road which connects Wanaka to Queenstown. Our first stop was the Cardrona Hotel which has many honours, including being the most photographed pub in New Zealand. Established in 1863, it has retained its charm and managed to thrive all these years without falling prey to the gift shop trap. The kids had a ball running around the garden and we had a ball watching them. After a rather leisurely lunch, we drove the remaining 40 scenic minutes to Queenstown.
If by any chance, anyone is reading this blog and thinking, “I want to go THERE!” , I need to warn you about something. You will not relax here. It is, how you say, impossible. Maybe because I have lived away for so long and maybe because my time here has an expiration date and I feel the need to see everything, but this place makes you tired. New Zealand is a place to get after it. I have come to the recent conclusion that the reason kiwis travel overseas so frequently is to relax…
Queenstown is no exception. Rather it is the center of the ‘problem’. Known as the adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere and the home of bungy jumping, among other dangerous pastimes, it is a place to get really knackered. In a good way. I think. We had 4 nights in Queenstown and a hotel that allowed us some ‘separation’. I pictured some R and R. I was wrong.
You can not help yourself here. There is SO much to see and do. Within hours of arrival, we were luging down a mountain. See what Queenstown did there? Drive in to town, drop bags at the hotel, head straight in to town where you immediately take gondola up the mountain and luge down…repeat last steps over and over again. Tate said it was the best day of his life.
The next day we left Queenstown to see Milford Sound. Rudyard Kipling described it as the eight wonder of the world. Granted that was a while ago…1891 to be exact but I thought this fact would give my blog a more academic flavour. The drive to Milford Sound is almost more beautiful than the actual destination.
The drive to Milford Sound takes approximately 4 hours. You can either take a sightseeing cruise or start hiking the famed Milford Track or do a short hike, continually remind your children about that 8th wonder of the world thing and get right back in the car because your nice hotel wins over camping. We chose the last option.
I brought Jeff to Milford Sound in 1998 and he thought it was closed. Thankfully, because it is already difficult to get to in a country that is, difficult to get to, it remains uncrowded and spectacular. That Rudyard Kipling was a very smart fellow. More Queenstown sights on the blog tomorrow.