Queenstown is the rave tourist resort deep in the mountains of the South Island. Skiing, rafting, climbing, trekking – every kind of energetic outdoor activity is available here, as well as quite a few indoor ones. The streets are full of lean, fit, lycra-clad people desperately booking tough demanding activities for the next few days. (Though the fact everything is organised to death might make you doubt just how tough some of this is.) I’ve even done a few of these myself – a Jet Boat Ride, a Bungee Jump, and the Gondola.
These days there’s a view that its all got a bit touristy and the tasteful thing to do is to get out of town as quickly as you can. (Think ‘Keswick’ if you want an English equivalent.) My plan had been to explore anything that was historic, and perhaps to take a few photographs of other people doing the dangerous sports; but the rainy weather kyboshed that, and there are barely any historic buildings anyway. The Courthouse is hidden behind trees, and the bridge was festooned with tourist junk, so the only one I bothered with was the rather pleasant St Peter’s Anglican Church, where the sun shone for 10 minutes:
Since I mentioned it, here are photographs of my bungy jump at Queenstown 20 years ago:
And here are two from my Shotover Jet boat ride:
Of the two events, the Bungy Jump was far the more scary. Jet Boat rides look a bit dangerous, but once you figure out what’s going on (the boat driver basically races up to a cliff-face and then turns round at the last minute, making lots of froth and waves) it all becomes a bit predictable. A Bungy Jump, however, is genuinely scary – which is why I’m stopping at two. (The second was at Mokau (Gravity) Canyon. More of that to come…)
Lastly, two scenic pictures: the first from the top of the Gondola, taken in 2000; the second of Lake Wakatipu in what was left of the sunshine on this trip.