For such a destination this town is, I hardly spent any time here. After leaving Christchurch and the Antarctic Centre, the family started on the first of what would be many many days of long long drives. New Zealand might look like a small country, but with mainly two lane roads (not much reason for more) and beautiful scenery that makes you want to stop all the time to gawk at, miles may not be far, but time is. It wasn’t until day 4 (out of 12) that we had a day with minimal driving.
It was over a 6 hour drive from Christchurch to Queenstown. We stopped at Lake Tekapo to marvel at the bright blue lake. We stopped at Twizel because of the funny name for snack at the Four Square. We trekked all the way to Queenstown where the rain greeted us. After a long day of driving and what would be the crappiest of our accommodation, the Autoline Motel, which looks like it has been redone since our stay (thankgod!), everyone was a little cranky. We walked into town for dinner, walked around the empty town and the lakefront before the rain set in and we arrived back to our hotel soggy and wet and ready for bed. The next day we set out on our long drive to Milford Sound.
Two days later we were back driving through town to get from Te Anau up to Franz Joseph and we stopped in for lunch and some sort of activity to break up another 6 hour drive. We stopped and road the gondola’s up the mountain. The view was fantastic. My sister and I bought some luge tickets and played kids and road them about 3 times. So much fun! After coming down the mountain, we grabed some lunch at various take-away places before jumping on the road again. We made a pit stop in Wanaka and stopped at Puzzling World for snacks and the toliet and I highly recommend a pit stop there. Not at all what you expect, I can tell you that. One more stop in Haast for more snacks before finally arriving in Franz Joseph. The following day will be the first day in 4 days that we didn’t spend at least 6 hours in a car. Glacier hiking here we come!
Moral: I know lots of people come to New Zealand and spend lots of time in Queenstown. For the young’ins, it’s a very popular place to set up base thanks to all the adventure activities that have set up shop here. Coming with a family who isn’t really into any of that, we used it as more of a pit stop, as one of the bigger towns on the South Island. With the expection of the rain, and even thought we didn’t spend much time around, we all had a good time here. And we got lucky with the day we went on the gondola’s. Great views all around that day!