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Thursday, January 05, 2017

Queenstown

I Continue From Here 

Backpacking NZ : Day 02 (04-Dec-2016) Contd...


The Remarkables

After that brief but satisfactory stop at Lake Tekapo, we continued our journey towards Queenstown. We had a change in driver and the new driver was very kind and polite. He had interesting information to share about the Lupins, Lake Tekapo, the first Bungy jumping place by an old bridge and a old gold mine that we passed on our way. He also informed us that the water in the lakes here are so blue and pure because they are directly collected from the glaciers. I enjoyed the spectacular views as we approached Queenstown.



The driver updated us with the latest news that the New Zealand Prime minister had resigned the previous day, which came as a surprise.  

Queenstown is a beautiful resort town built around Lake Wakatipu which is surrounded by hills and mountains. The Remarkables, a mountain range beside the lake uplifts the beauty of the entire landscape with its snowcapped peaks.








I reached QT at around 4:45 PM and directly headed to my hostel - Base. I checked into a 12 bed dorm. Base has a bad reputation of being the noisiest hostel due to a pub attached to it. Anyways, I had no other option but to stay here as it was the only hostel in the town centre that was vacant. 

Route - Lake Tekapo To Queenstown


I decided to walk upto Gondola and take a cable car up the hill. QT is World’s adventure capital. People pour in here to do bungy jumping, Sky diving, para gliding, rafting and much more such scary stuff to experience adrenaline. I am sure that it can be interesting but not for me!




On my ride up in the Gondola, I met another American traveler from South Carolina. He has lived in NZ for around an year now. He was carrying his bicycle up on the cable car to ride back the slope. A pass once bought, he says, would allow you to do multiple rides on the cable car. He also briefed me about some of the treks around QT. 

The view from the top is amazing. The Remarkables steal the show. 




At the foothills of this hill where the cable car runs, is an old cemetery. I am always interested in reading the epitaphs, specially the ones with a brief biography of the deceased. This place reminded me of the cemetery I had visited in  Gooty in Anantapura district.






On my way back, I came across a neat little Italian café called Bella Cucina and decided to eat there. As I sat there waiting for my food, sipping some flat white coffee, I decided to sketch the lupins that had filled my thoughts since this afternoon. An amicable ambience at this tiny café created a perfect moment for some creativity. 



The server appreciated my sketch and she told me that she has not yet visited Lake Tekapo and my sketch inspires her to do so. I asked her if she knew the name of the wild flowers, as by then I had forgotten. She did not either and that made me wonder if she was a native at all. Lot of travellers and students work in NZ and that makes it hard to know if they are locals or visitors like me, trying to gather some money for future travels. 

A vegetarian Rigatoni made with pink sauce and garnished with almond flakes was one of the best pastas I have had. Almond flakes truly enriched the taste. 



I have a sweet tooth, so, I ordered Cannoli for dessert. They are extremely delicious Italian pastries made of creamy ricotta filled into pastry dough tubes. I think mine had vanilla ice cream as well. They were yummy. 



With a half complete sketch but a full and satisfied stomach, I headed back to my hostel.  The pub was noisy but thankfully the door that connects it to the hostel was shut. I sat in the common area and completed my sketch until it was almost midnight. I am not sure if it was jet lag or just excitement that kept me awake till late night. 

I took a small walk late in the night and QT appeared to be very active. Bars and pubs were flooded with people, mostly youngsters. 



After a short walk around town, I headed back to my room to catch some sleep. After all next day I had a very important task- go to Department of conservation to enquire and book the route burn trek. 

Continued Here 

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