We had snow overnight, not in the town but down to around 500 metres which has amazed the locals as it’s supposed to be getting towards summer. Everyone has been saying how bad the weather has been but it seems to be at a turning point as whilst it started out really cold today (6 degrees), its warming up tomorrow and expected to reach 21/22 plus the weather improved as we went through the day meaning we were able to get some really good photos. Unfortunately it looks like we may be chasing the weather a little bit as there is rain forecast as we head up the west coast (although hopefully its gone by the time we get to the top).
We’re still thinking about whether we want to do bungee so we took time out today to go and watch the AJ Hackett bungee which has a really excellent set-up just north of Queenstown, this is one of the shorter ones (43 m) so it does not look too scary. What IS scary is how quickly they can part you from your money. Not since I was last at a casino roulette table have I seen $200 disappear so quickly! But it’s one of those things that you (possibly) have to say you’ve done (as opposed to actually enjoying the experience). I’m not sure I need that social validation so we may decide to skip it and spend the $400 on wine and beer instead.
Before we went to see the bungee we went on a very nice walk called the Crichton loop which climbs about 4km up into the hills just outside Queenstown into old gold mining country. So as well as passing Lake Dispute (very pretty) it’s also an area which has historic interest. The walk is about 7km and rated at between 2-4 hours. We finished it in 2 and not sure what someone would need to do for the walk to take 4 hours (a long picnic perhaps?). One notable thing about the walks in NZ is that many of them are one-way meaning you either need to take (irregular) public transport back to you start point or else double back which is not so interesting. More loop tracks please.
After the bungee viewing we then headed to Gibbston Valley Cheese which was really very good as they offer a mixed platter of local cheeses for just under $30 (for the cheesy amongst you it consisted of Balfour, Gouda, Nevis Maasdam, Wakatipu White and Brinza. A nice change for a lunch stop.
We then headed back towards town and decided to take a drive up towards The Remarkables, one of Queenslands ski areas. The ski field is actually some way (about 13 km) from the main road up a steep tarmac / gravel road. Since I was here six years ago they have put up safety barriers on what is a very steep climb with some stomach churningly steep drop offs. I understand they currently investing around $20 million to improve the skiing so maybe we will come back and try it again (it was certainly good skiing first time around). Anyway the views from where we drove (about half way in) were simply stunning.
We headed back towards town and took a short drive onto the Kelvin Peninsular which sits opposite the main town. We stopped at the end and took (another) walk (a nice loop) around the tip of the peninsular which was really nice as its quite well shaded from the wind (except at the end where it crosses the gold course). Probably around another 4-5k to add to our tally for the day.
Back into town in the evening and after an hour or so’s really interesting souvenir shopping (yeah right) we popped into Winnies for a “gourmet” Pizza (which was very average).