Sharing The Peapod's Travel Adventures...

On Our Way To Queenstown

Print the article

This entry was posted on 12/21/2006 3:55 AM and is filed under New Zealand.

Well, our schedule was tight because of our reservations for the Milford Trail, so we ended up only having an overnight in Wellington, which was a pity because it looked like a really wonderful city to explore in depth.  It had a great art museum, always free and a sophistication reminiscent of San Francisco.  It is an active harbor town, and we spent some time walking along the waterside and having a great dinner at the wharf (pictures below, of course).

We were in a marvelous hotel there called the Bolton Hotel.  We had views of a green hillside right behind the hotel and could look down to an old church and cemetery right next to the hotel.  Actually a lot of Wellington was that marvelous mix of old and new buildings right next to each other.

The hotel itself had that clean ultra-modern European flavor we both love so much.  One thing we've noticed is that almost every hotel or motel has a kitchen in it.  Here is an example of the one in the Bolton that even has a little half-dishwasher in it too.  And a full cooktop, fan over the range, microwave - you name it!  You could live here...



One thing I (M-pod) inherited from my brother Steve is a fascination with how things work.  Here is one of my favorite movies of the blog...

The Magic Bolton Door

Dinner was at a great restaurant called Shed 5 on the wharf.  M having prosciutto wrapped rocket (aka arugula) with calamari...




and rack of lamb (yum, but not photo-worthy) - and E having a great salad, followed by groper on polenta with fried capers.  We got this whole story about the groper being rare in restaurants because they are very deep sea fish and hard to catch, and if they are caught, they open up their mouths really wide to take in a lot more water and give added resistance, so they are hard to bring in to a boat even if they are caught.  Anyway... it was delicious...



The next day we head to the airport, and spend our waiting time doing four-handed-blogging for you...
(pause on this next image for a moment)



and off we go...

Here's Wellington from the air...



Leaving Wellington, we saw this wonderful river snaking away - pure natural art...



and this as we fly near Mt. Cook (middle of south island)..



A large part of the electicity of NZ is hydroelectric from damns and the water coming from Mt. Cook and the alps that run thru the middle of the island.  A dry winter often leads to a summer with frequent black outs they say.

We landed in Queensland and went to our hotel (The Queensland Hotel) and immediately got hit with a dual and severe case of claustrophobia.  Yikes!  So we began our exploration of the town, with the quest of an upgrade in mind.  We viewed 5 other hotels (the second best being the Aurum Studios, for future reference) - but then took one look at the new Sofitel, and well... let's just say it's our Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year's present to ourselves.

Here for instance is the bathroom...



and please take careful note of the waterproof television above the jacuzzi bath tub for two...



The room is spacious and zen-elegant and we are in heaven.  They even have espresso machines in each room with your choice of 6 kinds of coffee (in pods ready to espress).

So - we have two nights here before the tramp (as they call hikes), and they'll store our luggage, and we have that tub to look forward to when we return - for four more nights.

Queenstown itself is very wonderful - though it is bloody cold!  Feels like it could snow any minute now, even though it is the height of their summer.  Here's a sunset looking out over the lake from night two here...



The town and environs feel like a cross between Aspen and Switzerland.

    We've got our packs all ready to go and our beautiful one set of thermal clothes for the 5 days all ready to put on tomorrow morning.  We've got two walking poles each, a water bottle (which they say you can fill right from the river, imagine that!), and our gloves, hats and scarves.  The weather outlook is mixed, we'll probably experience the whole gamut of sun to rain, but they say that the rain is really a beautiful thing while hiking because the waterfalls are so magnificent.  We're hoping to take a 35 minute helicopter ride back from the trek instead of a 5 hour "coach" ride.  But they will only fly if the conditions are permitting it.

    Looks like an interesting group of people joining us for the hike.  The age group seems pretty mixed between young and older and there were only about 16 here but we pick up another group at Te Anau.  It will be curious to see who we bond with.  We're staying in "deluxe ensuite" accommodations which mean that we have a non-fancy room with private bath.  It was that or bunk beds and you know what we chose.  Two princesses go trekking...

    We get to come back to this gorgeous Sofitel Hotel and stay for 4 more nights, so that will be a great treat. Did we mention that each room also has a  large possum comforter draped on a comfy chair?  Possum are considered major pests here and there is a huge effort going on to eradicate them.  They use their fur in everything - comforters, gloves, hats, scarves, slippers, jackets etc. and nobody seems to mind buying it or wearing it.  It's incredibly soft!  Who would have thought that???  They're anxious to rid their island of this devastating animal that eats their precious trees, plants and kiwi birds.  And interestingly, in Australia, the possum is considered endangered and can't be hunted at all.  If only they could ship their possums over there!

A sunset from night one...



Be back in a few days...

 

What did you think of this article?




Trackbacks
Trackback specific URL for this entry
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.
Comments

    • 12/21/2006 7:29 AM MplsPod wrote:
      Oh, you two. Loved the groper story. Isn't it grouper? Maybe they grope you when you finally catch 'em. And the hardware! I could plotz! Bring some back and sell it.
      Have a great tramp. It is a wonderful and beautiful blog and I start my day reading it. You are the best!

      Reply to this
    • 12/21/2006 10:05 PM Kemper wrote:
      Life is rough when the POD BLOG goes dark....
      Reply to this
    • 12/22/2006 12:45 PM Brian wrote:
      i loved the the video of the lock on the door. so cool!
      Reply to this
    • 12/22/2006 9:41 PM Jane Lurie wrote:
      four handed blogging photos are hypnotic (is that a word?) anyway I finally looked away and now I feel like I just walked out of the meditation cave!
      Reply to this
    Leave a comment

    Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

     Name

     Email (will not be published)

     Website

    Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.