Queenstown Day 2; TSS Earnslaw and Shotover Jet
Queenstown Travel Blog› entry 17 of 23 › view all entries
The view from the breakfast cafe at the Mercure Hotel is breathtaking. You look out over Lake Wakatipu right at the Remarkables. With the sun rising directly behind the mountains, it was truly spectacular. I drank a couple of flat whites this morning while waiting for Mom and Dad to join me. We were supposed to fly over to Milford Sound this morning, but the weather was "unsettled" so our reservation was moved to the next day. On to Plan B!
Plan B started with us getting back into town and getting tickets on the TSS Earnslaw steamship that takes passengers across Lake Wakatipu. We boarded a little before 10 and had a nice two hour cruise back and forth across the Lake.
It was a clear day for the cruise and fairly warm, so it was pleasant to be outside as we cruised to the other end of the Lake. I learned that Lake Wakatipu is the third largest lake in New Zealand and is over 1000 feet deep! I cannot imagine how cold it must be at the bottom of the lake and what must be down that deep! You can fish for Rainbow trout, German Brown trout and Chinook salmon in the Lake. The turn around point on the cruise is at Walter Peak Station, a large sheep ranch. You can get off here for horseback riding, barbeques and picnics, but we elected to return to Queenstown on the next run.
On the way back, we sat inside near the piano player.
We got back to Queenstown a little after noon, so we stopped at a place called Fat Gingers for lunch. We all opted for bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with avocado -- very tasty. We also went back to Pog Mahone's to check out the Super Bowl which was being played back in the States on this day. After a bit of American football and a beer, we headed out to another jet boat trip -- the Shotover Jet. This ride is operated by the same company that does the Huka Jet on the North Island.
We only had about a half a boat load of passengers this time, so the boat was much faster -- 85kph, so quite speedy. We had a great Kiwi driver named Todd that had a very dry sense of humor. Mom and Dad remembered how wet they got on the Huka, so both opted to sit near the middle of the boat this time and they put me on the edge. It was a great, wild ride. We did over ten 360 degree spins! Todd really gave us our money's worth on this one. About midway through the ride, it started to rain and going along as fast as we did, the rain drops were really pelting us hard! I think I prefer this version over the Huka ride, as there are huge canyons that you run through here and the driver delights in getting you very close to the canyon walls.
We bussed back to town and found a parking ticket on our car! We had parked in a ten minute zone that day and none of us saw the sign. That cost me $30 Kiwis! Ugh.
Our next stop was the Kiwi Bird Park below the Gondola. We got to see a Kiwi (hard to do because you have to be in almost complete darkness to see them -- they are nocturnal birds), tuataras (New Zealand's only native reptile), wood pigeons, rainbow trout, Kea parrots, and pukekos (another native bird). Mom enjoyed it, but Dad was not real impressed. I think we made him walk too much.
Mom wanted to see a Kiwi supermarket, so we checked one out.
We headed back to our hotel then and got cleaned up for dinner. We had a great dinner at Wai (reviewed below) and got to sit outside on their patio right on the waterfront by the Lake. It was a gorgeous night and a great meal.