A Travellerspoint blog

June 2012

Summer snow

Unseasonal weather in the adrenalin capital of the South Island

all seasons in one day
View Just a big holiday on ClareAndTom's travel map.

While on our kayaking trip we’d been recommended to visit the Te Anau cinema to see “Ata Whenua – Shadowland”. We turned up at the tiny cinema (purpose built to show the film) just in time to catch a showing, so dashed in to watch half an hour of gorgeous cinematography. Mostly shot from helicopters, it highlighted just how mind-blowingly beautiful the Fiordland area is.

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After the cinema we headed back towards Queenstown

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The road wound along the edge of the lake, the mountains on the other side lit beautifully in the late afternoon sun

We reached Queenstown in the early evening, and it felt like a holiday town. It was really buzzy, packed with tourists enjoying the last of the sun. We grabbed a famous “Fergburger” (actually, had to wait for half an hour) and ate it on the lake shore with a beer.

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The Fergburger – a mighty meal as big as Tom’s head but not as good as a Grubbs in Brighton, in our opinion

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We watched the sun set over the lake

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We arrived at a DoC campsite just outside town after dark – this was the view that greeted us in the morning

We moved to a posh campsite as it had been a few days since we’d had a shower. Clean, we pottered about town and tried to decide what we were going to do that afternoon. Queenstown has a huge range of activities for adrenaline junkies, designed to empty your wallet and take years off your life. After careful consideration over a tasty lunch we opted for jet boating, and hopped on the coach to take us up the road to the Shotover Canyon.

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Our first view of the incredibly narrow canyon, down which we would soon apparently be flying along at 85km/h

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We got to sit at the front of the boat, which travelled unbelievably close to the rocks, performing 360° spins whenever the canyon was wide enough – and sometimes when it really didn’t feel wide enough! We screamed for most of the journey (Tom whooped in a manly way), but it was an exhilarating, hilarious ride.

We couldn’t take cameras on the boat, so here’s the official video

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Queenstown had a good selection of interesting restaurants, unusual for New Zealand. We enjoyed a posh meal out – Tom had some excellent oysters from Stewart Island

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We continued the pretence of a sophisticated evening by going wine tasting. We then went to a pub where they had a half-price happy hour

It had snowed overnight – the surrounding mountains were covered in a dusting of white. Like kids at Christmas, the thought of snow anytime, let alone in the middle of summer, excited us. We quickly packed up the camper and drove up the mountains to look at it. It was nice.

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A winter wonderland in summer – we think the van enjoyed it too

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Looking back towards Queenstown, surrounded by snow-capped mountains

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Tom had a snowball fight with the van

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Driving back down

We were going to head over towards Wanaka, but first stopped off at one of the many wineries in this area, the Central Otago region.

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Vines and snow, an unusual combination

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Mmmm, wine. Barrels as far as the eye can see in the Peregrine cellar

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We bought a tasty bottle of Riesling from the Peregrine winery

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We stopped for lunch in a layby – this was the view

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The drive over the Crown Range towards Wanaka was beautiful

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The little town of Cardrona had a handful of quaint historic buildings

Posted by ClareAndTom 04:04 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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