Queenstown, NZ-Next to Paradise

100_7319scenic overlook of Queenstown from the trail

Well, it is expensive in Queenstown, NZ. This is the “adventure capital” of New Zealand, and everything is priced to match the reputation. But it is a beautiful place. Queenstown is situated on the southern end of the South Island of New Zealand. It is nestled at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range and at a major bend in Lake Wakatipu. Soaring mountains, and a lake that is as deep as the mountains are high. It is quite an amazing place. Oh, yes, the Paradise reference–just outside of town there is a section of one of the national parks called Paradise. Not because it is breathtakingly beautiful (which it is) but it is where the species of paradise ducks live. You can tell a paradise duck because the female head is stark white against a multicolored body, and the male has a black head and it appears to pretty much have a black body until he flies and several brilliant colors come out of hiding on his wings and sides.

We are doing our last half of the academic semester in residence at Queensland Resort College. The director, Hal, mentioned that Queenstown has a lot in common with Aspen, Colorado. They are both beautiful and both expensive. Surveys have shown that even people who backpack into Queenstown expect to spend over $200 per day beyond the cost of food and lodging. What do they spend it on? I’m glad you asked: skiing, snowboarding, jet boating, white water rafting, horseback riding, sky diving, bungi jumping, parasailing, off-roading, zip line, hiking, drinking, visiting Lord of the Rings/Wolverine film locations, panning for gold, more drinking, four wheel drive tours in the surrounding mountains, steamship rides, expensive chocolate, still more drinking, eating really good burgers from Fergburger’s, and last but not least some more drinking.

Seriously, I was taken aback by how much everyone drinks alcohol here. Once you hit 18, you forget what water is. (Don’t even try to ask about iced tea, I did and they laughed.)

I will be bungi jumping from a height of 134 metres on Saturday and doing a 300 metre swing out over a canyon afterwards. I’ll let you know if I survive. Note the British spelling when I refer to measurements in metric?

Here are a few image of the sights we see everyday going to class while others are spending copious amounts on adventure tourism. (My day is coming next weekend!)

view from our apartment building

looking at the harbor from the botanical gardens

it is early spring, everything is in bloom

trees along the Queenstown Hill hiking trail

another section of the trail

overlooking Lake Wakatipu

a cabbage tree near the trail head

Next week I’ll bring some drawings, finally! I’m going through withdrawals as I have not had the time to draw in over a week. Until then…