2008 01 14 – Big Trip – Day 258 – New Zealand – Queenstown

Lakeview Holiday Park, Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand 6628km

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View from the Gondola, Queenstown

After our amazing sunny day on the way to Milford, the weather changed and our return to Te Anau was markedly different. It rained most of the way, at times quite heavily. We did stop at Lake Marian for a short visit to the rapids, which were bustling with white water. By the time we reached Mirror Lakes the weather improved somewhat but it was still cloudy enough to block off the mirror.

In Te Anau, Ron got to visit the glow worm cave with his grandparents while Paola and I took Shir and Orr for a stroll around town. We spent the late afternoon moping around in the campground and enjoying the fine weather.

We have spent the last 2 days in touristy Queenstown. Yesterday morning we left Te Anau and drove in a straight shot the 170km to NZ’s premier tourist destination. The last half hour drive along lake Wakatipu, surrounded by majestic mountains, clarified the reason for that.

We got into town and had lunch at the Queen’s Gardens. We then checked into our campground, strategically located 5 minutes walk from the Gondola. We got ourselves together and took the steep lift up the hill to see the great vistas from above. Truly beautiful. While up at the top, dad and I experimented with some rides down the luge, a low adrenaline rush, but fun nonetheless.

We got back down and walked around the town for a while, soaking in the hustle bustle that we haven’t seen anywhere else in NZ, including Rotorua. Lots of languages, many younger tourists, lots of Israelis.

We found a great Japanese restaurant and enjoyed a delicious meal. It was hard to keep the kids off my sushi. Ron enjoyed miso soup, Paola the tempura, and dad had a deeply moving experience with the suki yaki.

This morning dad and I got up early to hike near Queenstown. Not a spectacular walk, but with pretty views, and a visit to an old gold miner’s hut. The sky today was much darker and ominous than yesterday balmy atmosphere. By the time we got back to the campground it was fully covered in clouds.

We decided to stroll around town a bit more and reach a lakefront playground. Just outside the campground we encountered a kiddie bungy, which Ron thoroughly enjoyed, soaring up and down for several minutes.

We walked around, browsing tourist shops (Mom and Paola), and stopped for a late lunch in a mediocre Indian restaurant. When we finished eating, we were trapped. It was raining cats and dogs outside. After waiting half an hour at a nearby mall, we decided to make a dash for it, and ran up the hill to our campground.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in my parents’ unit, which was quite comfortable having two rooms. The kids played with Saba and Savta, and I took a long nap. Although Shir and Orr have been spoken to in Hebrew for less than 2 weeks, they seem to understand a lot of what their grandparents are saying to them. They are already picking up the basic words (Ken, Lo, Od, Maim) and using them correctly. Incredible, these young minds.

Good Night,


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