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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Downtown Queenstown

Downtown Queenstown is a great place. There's no doubt about that. There are many reasons why it's considered the Adventure Capital of the World & it lives up to them. From it's stellar location on Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the Southern Alps to the spirit and friendliness of the people, there's no other city like it in the world.

From our hotel, we took a short walk to town & cut through the park instead of walking along the street. We met so many locals out walking dogs or going for a leisurely afternoon stroll. A little peninsula juts out into the lake that contains Queenstown Gardens & makes a great little protected Harbor area right on the edge of downtown.

The Silver Fern is quite the national symbol. Not only does it represent their national rugby team the All Blacks, it resembles so much of the flora and fauna that covers the islands with hundreds of types of ancient ferns and tree reminiscent of the Jurassic periods.

We lucked out & had amazing weather on our days in QT, and many people were enjoying the day laying out on the lake's edge catching some sun while taking in an amazing view.

In addition to all the usual tourist shops & restaurants, there is quite a bit of green park space along the waterfront for just relaxing.

There's a certain quaintness about the streets & shops that reminds me of some of the sky villages we've visited in Colorado.

It was a very interesting mix of people- obviously tons of tourists, but lots of younger, hippier people working in the town at the restaurants or attractions. It made for some great people watching :)

There were quite a few boats down at the Marina & the water is stunningly clear and clean looking.

We walked into town for dinner & the sun was setting behind the mountains making for some beautiful colors-capes on the horizon.

Queenstown has a very interesting past & I wished we'd have spent at least 1 or 2 more days in the area, possibly taking a Segway Tour and learning some of the historical info.

There was a very neat war memorial down on the quay & they were doing some renovations in that area. You can see Bob's Peak and the gondola soaring above downtown.

We caught some type of memorial bagpipe ceremony on the boardwalk as we headed to dinner.

I took a video- there's just something to haunting and beautiful about bagpipes. I did a little look-around to show the beautiful surrounding mountains.

I had to giggle at the sculpture of a William Rees with a sheep. I know they are very important to the region, but I'd rather settle for having things names after me than a sculpture with an animal that every single Kiwi described as "stupid, just bloody stupid".

The main boardwalk area had a very cool wall with something (a poem? a tribute?) etched into stones for the length of the wall.

There's a small indoor mall area with lots of restaurants and shops.

We really enjoyed the view of the sun setting & painting the mountains with the day's last rays of sunshine.

Now normally, I'm not too big into taking food pictures but this was a giant crayfish. They don't technically have lobster in NZ, but they have GIANT crawfish that are just like lobster without the claws. We finally found a nice restaurant (The Boardwalk) and ordered some that were delicious.

I was also adventurous for this meal and decided to try some lamb. In so many American restaurants they serve New Zealand rack of lamb. I figured I'd traveled halfway around the globe- I should try the real thing straight from the source. They were very yummy, although not something I'd order all the time.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Going back to H's alma mater tonight to catch a the Texas Music Festival.

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