The Thrill Capital – Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand

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While cleaning out our Jucy Jazzy car in Te Anau, I found a GPS system underneath one of the seats. We had not rented this with our car, but since it was there, we decided to use it. It saved Erik’s cell phone battery and it was really easy to just stick up on the dash and go.

Co-pilot Erik programming the GPS. The Tourism Radio unit is at left.Co-pilot Erik programming the GPS. The Tourism Radio unit is at left.
Co-pilot Erik programming the GPS. The Tourism Radio unit is at left.08-Dec-2011 17:30
 

Once again, the scenery along the drive did not disappoint. Beautiful crystal turquoise lakes like I have never seen before. Simply stunning! When we finally made it to Queenstown, the holiday park was packed. There were no cabins available, so we stayed in a house-type share. Not ideal at all. It was like living with loud roommates in the next room. We did have a kitchen downstairs, where we could cook our meals. One night, we met these two cool girls from California traveling through New Zealand by motorcycle.

Stunning scenery on the drive from Te Anau to Queenstown.Stunning scenery on the drive from Te Anau to Queenstown.
Stunning scenery on the drive from Te Anau to Queenstown.09-Dec-2011 11:20
 

We took a nice walk around the lake in Queenstown. It is stunning. So clear and serene and COLD! Apparently, it stays around 11C or roughly 52F year round! Yikes!

Queenstown's freezing cold lake and beach.Queenstown's freezing cold lake and beach.
Queenstown's freezing cold lake and beach.09-Dec-2011 14:01
 

We made our way to the gondola which takes you up the mountainside to a beautiful panoramic view above the town. Thanks to our Top 10 card, we got a 10% discount. It helped us get discounts in many places in Australia and New Zealand. With the high costs of everything in these countries, we took every discount we could get!

Riding the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak.Riding the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak.
Riding the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak.09-Dec-2011 15:14
 

The gondola ride was very steep and despite the beauty, I still hate these things. We lucked out with the weather – the views were spectacular on such a clear day. As we were soaking in the view, we noticed the gondola had stopped. And not just for a few minutes. It was out for a good 20-30 minutes. Since I am so afraid of these things in the first place, I was more than a bit apprehensive to get on it again for the ride back down!

Heather forcing a smile on the gondola ride.Heather forcing a smile on the gondola ride.
Heather forcing a smile on the gondola ride.09-Dec-2011 17:00
 

We decided to take advantage of the luge ride at the top of the gondola. We bought tickets for both the scenic and the advanced tracks and had a blast zipping down. Those things do move quite fast and as we heard later, can be very dangerous. It was good fun though.

The luge course at the top of Bob's Peak. A local we met later on told is this is actually the most dangerous thing you can do in Queenstown!The luge course at the top of Bob's Peak. A local we met later on told is this is actually the most dangerous thing you can do in Queenstown!
The luge course at the top of Bob's Peak. A local we met later on told is this is actually the most dangerous thing you can do in Queenstown!09-Dec-2011 16:03
 

Taking advantage of the spare time we had while the gondola was out, we had a delicious $5 glass of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc in the bar overlooking Queenstown. Can’t beat it!

Tasty glasses crisp of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a beautiful view.Tasty glasses crisp of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a beautiful view.
Tasty glasses crisp of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with a beautiful view.09-Dec-2011 16:28
 

When we got back home, we found another Viator deal for a Million Dollar Cruise on the lake. Since Erik was working the next day, I decided to go enjoy the lake on the cruise.

The Million Dollar Cruise on Lake Wakatipu.The Million Dollar Cruise on Lake Wakatipu.
The Million Dollar Cruise on Lake Wakatipu.10-Dec-2011 10:43
 

We tried to go have dinner at the famous Fergberger in town, but it was crazy crowded so we decided to try again another day.

The world famous Fergburger hamburger restaurant.The world famous Fergburger hamburger restaurant.
The world famous Fergburger hamburger restaurant.10-Dec-2011 12:03
 

After a nice breakfast with Erik, I set off for my 11am lake cruise. The weather was gorgeous and clear – a perfect day to be out on the lake. The water was very clear and I got to see many of the million dollar homes that line the lake’s shore (thus the name of the cruise). The skipper pointed out some interesting boats, as well. A boat that had attempted to sail around the world, an old sightseeing boat, and even a boat that once belonged to Sir Winston Churchill!

Cruising beautiful Lake Wakatipu around Queenstown's million dollar homes.Cruising beautiful Lake Wakatipu around Queenstown's million dollar homes.
Cruising beautiful Lake Wakatipu around Queenstown's million dollar homes.10-Dec-2011 09:14
 

After the cruise, I had a walk around the “pier” and had a look at the restaurants. There were some tables set up selling crafts and photography, so I had a look at those, too. Then, we finally made our way to Fergburger. There was a line, once again, but it looked manageable. We placed our order and then had to wait.

There's always a line out the door at Fergburger.There's always a line out the door at Fergburger.
There's always a line out the door at Fergburger.10-Dec-2011 14:12
 

This place is well-known, basically famous for serving up some of the best gourmet burgers in New Zealand. Erik ordered the “Southern Swine” – a beef burger with bacon, BBQ sauce, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, tomato relish and garlic mayo. I ordered the “Cockadoodle Oink” – a butterflied chicken breast with bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion, tomato relish and garlic mayo. We went all out and got some onion rings, too. These burgers were amazing!

Erik with his super-sized "Southern Swine" burger.Erik with his super-sized "Southern Swine" burger.
Erik with his super-sized "Southern Swine" burger.10-Dec-2011 14:18
 

Definitely a belt and a budget buster, but we just had to try them. As we were sitting there along the lake chowing down on our burgers, a guy came up and asked us where we had gotten them. They are certainly some of the most famous burgers in New Zealand!

Fergburger - a Queenstown, NZ institution.Fergburger - a Queenstown, NZ institution.
Fergburger - a Queenstown, NZ institution.10-Dec-2011 14:18
 

After lunch, we booked Erik’s bungy jump. I was so scared for him, and then even tried to convince me to book a jump. But, I said NO WAY! That’s the crazy kind of stuff I leave for Erik to do! Stay tuned for that story…

Then, we went to our 3pm wine tasting at Wine Tastes. We had gotten a deal on BookMe, so for $15 each, we got to taste $30 worth of wine tastes. We tried all of the New Zealand sauvignon blancs, some more than once… Some reds, some dessert wines.

The Wine Tastes New Zealand Wine Experience lets visitors sample a selection of the country's famous wines.The Wine Tastes New Zealand Wine Experience lets visitors sample a selection of the country's famous wines.
The Wine Tastes New Zealand Wine Experience lets visitors sample a selection of the country's famous wines.10-Dec-2011 16:20
 

It’s basically set up for people who want to taste all of New Zealand’s incredible wines, but won’t be able to visit all of the wine regions. It’s a bit touristy and expensive, but if you want to taste some nice New Zealand wines while you are in Queenstown, that’s the place to go.

Erik working his way through the Sauv Blanc selection.Erik working his way through the Sauv Blanc selection.
Erik working his way through the Sauv Blanc selection.10-Dec-2011 15:13
 

After that, we went home and Skyped with my sister Caite. We had a nice chat and then Erik and I packed up a bit. In the morning, it was JUMP TIME!

About Heather

Heather and Erik set off on a round-the-world trip in April, 2010, travelling overland through Central and South America before getting engaged in Antarctica. In 2011-2012 they tackled Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

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