Wednesday February 8th | Queenstown 🚠 – Alexandra 🍷 | 139 km 🚙 + 8 km 🏎 + 1.5 km ⛰
You have two options when you are rudely awoken by the cold: stay in your sleeping bag and hope that your body heat is contained and you warm up or get out of bed and venture into the five degree Celsius morning and have a hot shower. I chose the latter. I thought summer in New Zealand would be warmer than this!
We ate breakfast then struck camp and headed to the Skyline Gondola. The view of Queenstown and The Remarkables mountain range was great! There is a restaurant, a bar, a Jelly Belly art gallery & store, walking paths, bungee jumping and paragliding at the top as well as the luge. We decided it was too early for booze or any extreme sports so did the luge: a 1.6km downhill track to a chairlift that takes you back to the start so you can do it all over again. It was invented in New Zealand in 1985. The luge was a lot of fun and I’m pretty sure I beat Val down three out of five times. After taking the gondola back down the mountain we had a quick look around the shops. The Remarkable Sweet Shop was my favourite for a few reasons: it’s name is a fun play on words, it is a “sweet shop” and not a “candy store”, it sold fudge and jaffas – my new favourite treat.
It had warmed up substantially since our brisk start so we drove down to Lake Wakatipu to eat our picnic lunch and I changed into shorts before my afternoon hike up Queenstown Hill. Actually that’s not totally true – we typed Queenstown Hill in to our map app and it took us out here … so if you plan to do the Queenstown Hill Walk I suggest you type that full sentence in to your GPS.
The hill is not an easy climb as there’s lots of steep sections. It took me about half an hour to walk to the Basket of Dreams which was erected to signify the millennium. The view from this point is beautiful so if you don’t feel like going any further you can still say you climbed the hill. Since I wasn’t raised a quitter I decided to hike the extra 15 minutes to the peak where I was rewarded with the most spectacular panorama of Queenstown and surrounding area. It was absolutely stunning. I stood in awe admiring the view for a few minutes (or was I catching my breath?) and then trekked back down to the car. If you’re ever in Queenstown and are physically able (moderate to high level of fitness) you should really plan to hike the hill. I did it in 90 minutes but I was really pushing myself.
On the way down, some guys offered me a beer. In hindsight I should’ve accepted it but I was really looking forward to going for an infamous Ferg Burger. The lineup was surprisingly short so we each ordered a Tropical Swine Burger … whomever came up with the idea of putting pineapple on a burger is a friggen genius. The picture doesn’t do it justice – bacon, pineapple, cheese, tomato relish and aioli on a mouthwatering beef burger: perfection.
The drive to Clyde was beautiful. Clare’s sister Sarah and her partner Marc own and operate a boutique vineyard and winery here. Check out Dunstan Road Wines or find them on a Facebook. Not only were they nice enough to let us pitch our tent in their yard, they shared three delicious bottles of wine with us that night so I can tell you firsthand that it is delicious. I bought a bottle of rosé to take home with me (if it makes it that far!)
Apparently an old gold miner looked upon Queenstown and stated that it would be fit for Queen Victoria but if you ask me, a day filled with hiking, burgers and wine is fit for this queen