Queenstown, New Zealand

In May 2011, our family spent a day in Auckland and then flew to Queenstown for a week of adventure.

Queenstown

Queenstown


Queenstown

We rented a beautiful three bedroom / three bath home for 4 nights with a stunning unobstructed view from every room.

Queenstown

Queenstown

15,000 years ago during the last ice age, a huge glacier moved from the north west and carved out what is now Lake Wakatipu.

Queenstown

We were told that the water in the lake is 99.9999% pure, the purest water in the world.

For dinner we ended up at Bella Cucina, a recommended rustic Italian restaurant in the heart of Queenstown.

Kelly ordered the Pasta alla Carbonara:

Bella Cucina

And the rest of us ordered wood fired pizza.

Bella Cucina

Everything was delicious.

The next morning we huddled around the fireplace and watched the sunrise.

Queenstown

Then headed off to our first adventure in Queenstown — Ziplining through the forest on Gondola Hill.

ZipTrek

What a morning!

ZipTrek

Our next thrill was a jet boat ride on the upper Shotover River with Shotover Jet.

Shotover Jet

We couldn’t take cameras on the ride because they’d get wet, but mostly because we were gripping the “oh crap” bar with both hands.

Shotover Jet

This video explains it best:

Crazy, intense, and thrilling!

On our way back to the house we passed a sign that said “The Road to Paradise“.

It is scenic drive that curves along the side of Lake Wakatipu with several places to hike and camp.

That night we went to another highly recommended dinner spot, Yakitori Daruma Japanese Sake Bar.

Yakitori Daruma

Our energetic waiter suggested several different entrees for us to share.

Yakitori Daruma Japanese Sake Bar

Our experience at Yakitori Daruma surpassed the rave reviews on Trip Advisor.

We wanted to find a local place for live music and were told that Póg Mahones is the place to be on a Tuesday night.

Queenstown

It’s a local Irish pub that was designed & built in Ireland, then shipped to NZ.

A great way to end an amazing day.

The next morning we drove to Te Anau.

Queenstown

Two hours of fascinating countryside.

Queenstown

Queenstown

We took a boat ride across Lake Te Anau to visit the Glowworm Caves.

Lake Te Anau

Lake Te Anau

Our guide took us on a small path underground and then on a small boat through limestone caverns.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the caves so I borrowed a couple from Real Journeys.

Glow Worm Cave

Glow Worm Cave

The sun was setting over Lake Te Anau by the time we started our journey back to Queenstown.

Lake Te Anau

That night we went to Flame for ribs, steaks, and lamb chops.

Flame in Queenstown

Flame in Queenstown

Our last day began with paragliding over Queenstown.

Paragliding over Queenstown

Paragliding over Queenstown

Paragliding over Queenstown

Paragliding over Queenstown

Here is a short video of my experience:

So! Much! Fun!

Kelly bugged us all week to bungy jump. She really wanted to do it and REALLY wanted us to do it with her.

Quite honestly, I have absolutely no desire to do it.

Skydiving, I’ll do. Bungy jump, no thanks.

John and I talked about it that morning and decided to surprise her by driving to The Kawarau Bridge Bungy, home to the original Bungy Jump.

Bungy

My stomach was in knots and my heart was racing. I can only imagine how it felt for her.

Kelly Bungy Jumping

 

She was on an adrenaline high for the rest of the day.

Bungy

We pre-ordered a picnic lunch from Gibbston Valley Cheesery and Winery.

Gibbston Valley Cheesery and Winery

It was filled with several different cheeses, fresh baked bread, antipasto ingredients, crackers, napkins, bottles of water, wine glasses, and a bottle of wine.

Gibbston Valley Cheesery and Winery

Times like this are what it’s all about.

Gibbston Valley Cheesery and Winery

Our last meal in Queenstown was at India Once Upon A Time.

India Once Upon A TIme

The food was good but we were all so tired that we were dozing off in our naan.

The next morning we packed-up and started our journey towards Lake Tekapo.

Lake Tekapo

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