The Blue Pools near Haast Pass - trout use this stream to travel between the lakes and apparently you can often see loads of them swimming by.
Had quite a long drive between Franz Josef Glacier
, its about 415km but would take about 6 hours to drive if you don't stop. Having said that the roads are really good and it certainly didn't feel as difficult to drive as similar sort of roads up in the Bay of Islands. We stopped briefly at Haast
for a cuppa and then drove on to the Blue Pools near Haast Pass. These are about a 10 minute walk off the highway over a swingbridge (they love those here!) and are beautiful. They are incredibly clear (and blue, funnily enough!) and it is said you can often see brown trout cruising the waters - we didn't see any, but reckon Melissa's dad would like it here!).
The famous Cardrona Hotel on the Crown Pass between Wanaka and Queenstown. This pub is used in a lot of ads in NZ and is their version of the Birdsville Hotel.
We had lunch overlooking Lake Hawea - this little town at the southern end of the lake is a good place to stop for a break, but didn't seem to have any public scenic stops where you could stop because all the best places have houses built on them! We found a little spot though where we got a nice view. Drove through Wanaka
(looked nice) down to Queenstown along SH84 which is incredibly scenic. You can stop at the very top and get a great view of Queenstown nestled below you at the base of the mountains. The road is excellent but windy and the last section into Queenstown is very steep - it is not recommended for towing vehicles or large campers. We stopped off at Arrowtown
on the way into Queenstown - an old mining village with quite a large Chinese history.
Queenstown from Crown Pass.
You can walk around an excavated Chinese village as well as all the old restored buildings and shops in the main street - very well presented and peaceful (and free!).
The next day in Queenstown was our adventure day! We did a jetboat ride on the Shotover River and got a bit wet! The ride itself was quite exhilarating ($99pp) and worrying at times - you seem to go very close to the cliffs of the canyon! Got a bit wet but had a great time - reckon it would be freezing in winter though, because our faces were pretty cold at the end of it all! We then went up the Skyline Cableway in little gondolas for a fabulous view over the top of Queenstown ($31pp including 2 luge rides). This place also has luges like in Rotorua
so of course we had to have a go - we even graduated to the advanced track! It was great fun, but not as good as Rotorua because the tracks were much shorter. Had lunch in the cafe which was pretty ordinary, reckon Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares could have something to do here!