Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Queenstown

We hatched a plan a bit over a year ago to have a holiday in New Zealand, to include walking the Milford Track with our friends Brian and Meredith (who came skiing with us in Japan in 2015), and another couple, who had to pull out when their daughter had a baby due at around the same time. 

The Milford Track is touted as being the 'finest walk in the world', so it features on many people's 'bucket lists'. Thus you have to book early to get one of the restricted places on it. We signed up the day the booking list for 2018 opened up, over a year ago.

There are two ways to do it: 'independent trampers' stay in Dept of Conservation huts, and carry their own bedding and food. 'Guided trampers' stay in private lodges which provide bedding, food, showers, drying facilities, etc. We settled for the 'pamper tramp' version with a company called 'Ultimate Hikes'.

So we are now the advance party in Queenstown, getting fit and equipped, and psyching ourselves up for the trek.

Queenstown is basking in hot weather, a bit warmer than the Gold Coast, but there is a storm predicted for our first day, Thursday February 1st.


Queenstown has changed massively changed since we were last here. The scale of tourism has shot up by a huge amount, especially from China. With the Chinese New Year on 16th February, much of China is currently in Queenstown!

But it is still a lovely place.


Cirrus clouds over TSS Earnslaw


Lake Whakatipu


George doing last-minute shopping.

We had been recommended to do a trip on the old steamship Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station. I love old working machinery like the steam engine on the ship.



Walter Peak Station had an 'all-you-can-eat' meal. It was lovely.



It attracted a certain demographic! The ship listed worryingly to port!


Steaming back into Queenstown under a full moon 


Queenstown waterfront at night



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