Traveler's Log Monday, November 21, 2016
Free Day in Queenstown
Kiwi Birdlife Park
TSS Earnslaw Lake Cruise, Walter Peak High Country Farm
Today we have an open day in Queenstown! Last night after getting back to the hotel around 8 p.m., we have a carpet picnic rather than going out for a bite to eat. We're in bed by 10 p.m. and wake up at 5:30 a.m., so much for sleeping in. I catch up on emails and when Jay rolls out of bed we have a late breakfast and plot our day. Our only restriction is to be on the wharf at 5:40 p.m. for our lake cruise and BBQ dinner.
I internet surf a bit and find out the Kiwi Feeding Times and Conservation Talk times at the Kiwi Birdlife Park. Martin, our hotel-well everything guy, drives us into town on the shuttle. We wonder around the park waiting for the Conservation Talk.
We learn that the park used to be an old dump that a family bought up the land to and restored with landscaping and habitats for the 20 or so species of birds, fish and "living dinosaurs" that reside there.
The Conservation Talk is fun, we're all sitting in a large caged enclosure so the birds can fly freely.
We even get to meet a Tuatara a medium sized reptile, from an order of reptiles that lived during the reign of the dinosaurs 200 million years ago. Tuatara is found only in New Zealand.
Following the meet and greet animals we move to the Kiwi House. Kiwis are nocturnal so we enter a world of darkness-no photos allowed!
If we could see in the dark, we'd see a bird like this one above digging in the leaves looking for food in the enclosure. After our eyes adjusted we could see one scurrying around, poking in the leaves.
After the kiwi feeding, we hike up the road for a Skyline Gondola ride for some great views of Queenstown Harbor and Lake Wakatipu.
The views were stunning.
They also offer Mountain Biking and a Luge ride.
We make our way back down the hill and head to the Altas Beer Cafe for lunch and to warm up. I have the Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich and Jay chooses the BLT with a stout.
Back to our room to chill before our boat ride; I download pictures and Jay checks emails. We freshen up, collect all my camera gear and hit the lobby.
The 5 p.m. shuttle into town delivers us to the Clock Corner and we're early for our boat so we hit the Remarkables Sweet Shop for some homemade fudge! OMG the Rocky Road and Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt are like little bites of heaven.
Being this close to Atlas-we have to stop in for a beer...so we do. Chatting with the bar keep we learn that Altitude Brewing was started by two guys who met online and decided to start a brewery-one brews, one does marketing. They started in a garage and are now up to 6 or 7 beers; they hope to start a large brewery in Queenstown soon.
At 5:40 p.m. we queue up for the TSS Earnslaw, our steam ship cruise around the lake. Our group is booked on the dinner cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm, where they serve an amazing BBQ followed by a sheep dog demo and sheep shearing demo.
We got to cruise around the lake; had a wonderful meal; then got to meet a local farmer and his border collies.
Then it's back on the boat...
More pictures from Queenstown Monday: Click Here
Our last night in Queenstown, we'll be heading west on Tuesday. I could easily spend a week in this town, it's so beautiful.
Next we head to Fox Glacier, if the weather's good, I'll be taking a helicopter ride up to the glacier for a look around.
Day 3 Queenstown
Day 4 Milford Sound
Day 5 Queenstown
Day 6 Fox Glacier
Day 7 Hokitika
Day 8 Nelson
Day 9 Nelson, Abel Tasman Park
Day 10 Wellington
Day 11 Wellington
Day 12 Rotorua
Day 13 Rotorua
Day 14 Auckland
Day 15 Auckland and departure