From Wellington we got a flight down to Queenstown. We decided to do it this way because by now we only had 4 nights left before we flew out! Time goes so quickly on holidays. The view coming in to land in Queenstown was just beautiful, even though we were apparently on the wrong side of the plane for the really big mountain views.
The ski fields were already closed but we took a drive up to see some snow (which was very icy because of melting) and we just missed a freak Spring snowstorm the day after we left which left people trapped where they were and unable to get through the mountain passes. While it would have been pretty awesome to see snow falling, we were glad not to have to change our holiday plans. While up at the snow fields, I was captured by an discarded, unmelted icy pole which must have been there for a few days at least as the place had been closed for almost a week. You would never see anything like that in Western Australia! The view up there was pretty amazing as well.
We also went up the mountain/hill on the Gondola and down via flying fox, or as they call it, zip lines. I'd done a flying fox in Dwellingup (south WA) on a school camp and loved it so I was really the drive behind doing this. It was the only adrenaline style thing I was really interested in doing. It was so much fun. There were 6 zip lines in total, zigzagging down the hill front. Unfortunately, we completely forgot to go to the store to see the photos of us on the tour that we could buy and we didn't take very many while doing it. We were about an hour out of Queenstown when I remembered we were supposed to go and look at the photos. I did get a couple of us turning upside down in our harnesses but because they were taken from behind all you can see is bums.
|The gondola ride up and the view from the top|
|Ziplining and the amazing view between the trees|
Following Queenstown, we drove to Dunedin. On the way there we stopped at a cheese and winery and bought some picnic supplies. We found a beautiful little spot by the side of the river with a little waterfall to sit and picnic next to. We were so lucky with the weather, it continued to be sunny and even though it was cold, sitting in the sun was just glorious.
We were only in Dunedin for one day and spent most of it just wandering around until our flight which was in the evening. We went to the Otago Museum and (more minibeasts alert) went to the Butterfly area in the Discovery World Tropical Forest. The new butterflies were released at 10:30am and I was like a little kid rushing through the museum to make it in time (our breakfast took a bit longer to come out than we thought it would). Because the new butterflies were still a bit dozy and their wings were still drying off, they were quite happy to be placed on the hand of a person and just chill out there until they were ready for flying. So exciting! I had one butterfly land on my nose but was too slow to take a photo. There used to be a butterfly enclosure at the Zoo here in Perth but it closed down many years ago and now there are no butterfly places around. Whenever I travel I always check for butterfly places. The tropical forest had three levels, ground, mezzanine and sky. Down the bottom there were some tortoises in a pond which were pretty cute as well.
From Dunedin we flew to Auckland where we stayed the night just outside the airport and flew out the next day. MR secretly upgraded out tickets to business class on the way back as well and because it was a newer plane we got the Skybed seats. So amazing! I read an entire book and watched a movie in comfort with my feet propped on the ottoman or stretched out on my bed. Definitely the way to fly if you can!
Currently, it is seven weeks before we head over to New Zealand again for Christmas and while we won't get a chance to go to the South Island again as MR's family is in the North Island, I really cannot wait to do some more exploring. Number 1 on my list is to have a bit of a soak in a nice warm geothermal stream somewhere, one of the things we ran out of time to do this trip.
Do you have any other suggestions of places to go or things to do in the North Island? We will be around the Te Puke region and I'd welcome any ideas, particularly good shops to hunt down!