Now that we have been home for a week and a half I’m finally getting back to sharing our New Zealand holiday. I want to keep putting up posts, as a record for myself as much as anything. As it is, I have the map sitting next to me to remember place names.
So, after our wonderful day to Milford Sound we were on the road again, this time heading to Queenstown.
We saw our first wind farm in NZ. I suppose they don’t need them as much, as they have such a large hydro electric system.
We then followed an old railway corridor which has been developed for cycling and walking. Lots of new infrastructure along the way. Which brings me to the number of cyclists on the road. I can’t think of a harder way to travel, they were all heavily loaded with panniers and there is not a lot of flat ground. You would need to be super fit…….or you would be fit by the time you finished.
We enjoyed a coffee at this cute coffee van. We actually saw four Airstreams set up as coffee vans. This one had been imported from Washington State in the USA. They had done a great job converting it, and the coffee was good too.
It wasn’t all that long until we came to yet another lake. They sure are plentiful. This is Lake Wakatipu.
It is quite long and narrow and the road follows along the shore line.
This part of the road is called The Devil’s Staircase”.
Queenstown is on the northern part of the lake. A rather picturesque setting. Queenstown sees the end of the Scenic Southern Route that we had been following for the last several days. It had been an ideal guide to follow during that time.
Queenstown is known for it ski fields in the winter and it’s water sports and outdoor activities in the warmer months. We watched a couple of jet boat go through their paces in the harbour.
The weather continued to be nice and warm, so we enjoyed sitting by the harbour watching the world go by. There was a lot of the world there to watch too, with most accommodation being booked out and everywhere very busy.
This stylish old lady is the the TSS Earnslaw and has been plying her trade on the lake since 1912. She was prefabricated in Dunedin and then dismantled and transported to Queenstown before being reassembled there. She has been used to transport all sorts of cargo as well as passengers over that time.
No, we didn’t go for a ride on any of them.
I had to chuckle at these symbols on the public loos. Yep, they were unisex.
No, Mick isn’t in a little English village with a babbling brook. This quaint bridge is at the entrance to the Queenstown Police Station.
Everyone told us that we had to take a ride on the gondola which overlooks Queenstown. However, right next door we saw this….The Birdlife Park. They have a Kiwi House and as to see a Kiwi was high on Mick’s wish list we decided to visit there instead. We don’t regret our decision.
We arrived just in time to see their presentation. This is a tuatara, which hasn’t changed since dinousaur times.
The presentation was really informative. It is rather embarrassing how little about New Zealand we knew, considering they are our nearest neighbour.
I was unaware that prior to man arriving, New Zealand only had three mammals, which were all varieties of bats. As a result their birds had very little in the way of predators, which made them easy prey for the introduced species. There are now loads of rabbits, hares, possums, cats and stoats. Stoats are particularly nasty. New Zealand is, however, still fox free. The Maoris would have had a very healthy diet of fish and birds.
The presenter told us about the kiwi and had a rather scruffy example to show. Look at the size of the egg. It is about a third of the bird’s size – the largest proportioned egg of any bird.
“Pestilence” the possum came out. Possums are a huge problem. They were initially introduced for the fur trade – by a New Zealander – but they went a tad feral. They are darker and larger than the Aussie ones. They will also eat eggs out of bird nests. Numbers have been greatly reduced by a big trapping and culling program, but there are still more possums in NZ than sheep. I saw a t-shirt which said “Possums – New Zealand’s little speed humps”. There certainly were lots of dead ones on the road.
Another Aussie import that has become a problem in NZ is our pretty rainbow lorikeets. Apparently they are often released after people tire of them as pets and they take over the nests of other birds, kicking out the native bird’s eggs.
The park is really strong on conservation, so most of the birds on display were ones that had been injured and wouldn’t survive in the wild. They were rather hard to photograph. This is a kea with a broken wing. Apparently they have the intelligence of a four year old.
Yes, we did see two kiwis being fed in their kiwi house. No photos allowed. Kiwis are nocturnal so their house has day and night reversed. Mick was happy to have seen them.
We finished off our day with a special dinner, seated on a balcony overlooking the lake and the mountains behind.
Another day in paradise.