First off, flying into and landing in Queenstown is a bit of a thrill, especially on a windy day. As you swoop down into a valley between snow dusted mountains the plane shudders and wiggles as the pilot attempts to wrestle it to the earth. The actual touchdown wasn't the softest but I was glad to feel the wheels touch ground.
As an American that has grown up in the NW, lived for 5 years in Colorado, but prefers the tropics- I wasn't sure I'd truly appreciate the mountain scenery especially with the chilly weather forecast. Queenstown certainly did NOT disappoint, in fact, it felt quite familiar and I often found myself smiling for no apparent reason. Seeing mountains rise out of gorgeous blue water reminded me of past hikes and good times. My visit to Qtown was short but the days were sunny, the air temps brisk, and views of distant peaks crystal clear.
One of the best parts of Queenstown was the food, and of course, the wine. I had a tasty lunch at the BathHouse- see the pics below. Toasty warm in a windowed sunroom, I sipped wine while watching waves of Lake Wakatipu slap the shore.
For dinner one night I had salmon and a Marlborough Pinot Noir at Pier 19. If you are in Qtown I highly recommend this restaurant. The service was as excellent as the food. The Empanada Kitchen is an open air, cart style food venue that basically just serves… yep, you guessed it- empanadas. I tried lamb with green olive tampenade, yum!
My trip across the lake on The Steamship Earnslaw (TSS Earnslaw) felt like a quick trip back in time. The boat has been taking passengers on Lake Wakatipu for many years. It was the only way to travel around the region early in it's settlement. A pianist inside at the bow played sing-along folk songs. Luckily the songs reminded me of home and family reunions past and kept thoughts of the Titanic from the forefront of my mind. I just can't resist getting on a boat when I have a chance.
Walking through town I happened into the Ivan Clarke Gallery. His work is quite unique as it is portraits of dogs that are uncannily humanlike. His original work started from the love a pooch, a long haired dachshund.
Enjoy the pics and don't miss the captions. Maybe you will feel like you took a quick visit to Qtown too- or at least make you think twice about adding it to your bucket list, along with a bungy jump, of course!