Wednesday September 8

Finally, a nice relaxing day in the mountains

After several days of flying and a trip to the Tasman Sea, we have a day to kick back and do whatever we want to do in Queenstown.  Most likely, wandering around eating and shopping.

So today we had nothing in particular planned, other than to check out Queenstown and do some souvenir shopping.  Jen had scoped things out before we arrived and found out that there is a recreation facility on top of one of the mountains in town where you can go Luge-ing, Bungy jumping, and Para-sailing.  And the view should be incredible.  So Jen and I decided to do that, while Mom was doing some shopping.

We took the gondola ride up to the summit - here's what it looks like during the ascent.
Queenstown from the Gondola

The Bungy platform is just attached to the building.  Shucks, but it didn't open until 4....

It's true - the view of the Queenstown area, and Lake Wakatipu in particular, are absolutely stunning.  Here's the view from above the luge tracks:
Queenstown from the Skyline

From the same area, looking to the east, here is most of the tourist area of Queenstown with the luge lift in the foreground.

A better shot of the mountains to the southeast.  What more can I say - stunning barely describes the scene.

A pretty good shot (if I do say so myself) of the southern part of Lake Wakatipu.

Looking into Lake Wakatipu - it doesn't come out great in the small photo, but the water color is so blue, and so clear, that there are these amazing shades of color as you look into it. 
The Blue waters of Lake Wakatipu

A wide-angle shot of the downtown area.  It looks pretty similar to the shot from the Ministry of Tourism on the 9/6 page.

While we were up there, several people paid the $189NZ to go tandem parasailing.  Looks intense, but everyone appeared to enjoy themselves greatly.
Tandem Parasailors

Yes, we did the Luge, though no one was there to document our journey into the Xtreme Sportz.  We rock.
We are XTreme Luge-rs!

After the trip up top, we hooked back up with Mom and showed that we survived the experience.  We spent some time enjoying the nice weather (about 52 degrees) and watching the people and the ducks.  Yes, that appears to be a regular mallard duck hanging out downtown. 
Yep, that's a duck!  A mallard duck.

Some more shopping and wandering ensued.  We ended up in the wharf area by the lake as we were getting ready for dinner.  You can see in the pic how the town has gotten pretty built up on the hillside and physical space is at a premium. 

Before dinner, Jen went and checked out a bar where the entire bar is made of ICE - and the whole place is at 5 degrees below zero (celcius).  The glasses are made of ice, and you wear special garments to keep warm.  She can provide more info on that.

Dinner was at a local Tapas restaurant called Brazz.  Good food - Mom had a skewered shrimp item while Jen and I had small flat-crust pizzas. 

Tomorrow we're off to Christchurch.

Updates since our return home

We received several questions about the bar made of ice.  Here's what Jen has to say:

"It was based on a hotel in Sweden where all the walls were put together with large bricks of ice.  Everything in there was made of ice, including the bar, chairs, cups, tables, benches, etc.  and they dress you up like an eskimo to go in, with two pairs of gloves, ugg boots, and a big ass wooly jacket with a hood even though the Fahrenheit equivalent to minus 5 is only 24." 

Here's some info off a postcard from the bar, which is called "Minus 5".  The brown things in the foreground are deer skins.  Otherwise everything is ice.
Minus 5   Minus 5 postcard

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