Queenstown is a place that knows how to capitalize on capitalization. Today is Sunday, yet by 9am all of the restaurants were open followed by the stores by 10am. Without any supplies for breakfast we went looking for an eatery. Vudu Café had received good reviews in both Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor prompting us to seek it out. There are two locations here. OH MY HEAVENS! For pancakes they charged NZ$26, while an omelet with bacon had the sticker shocking price of $32. The place was half full too. Go figure. I should have done a quick visual to see how many were eating and who only had drinks; that is the real key. Wandering around, most of the eateries had similar prices. Location, location, location.
We finally found a lovely restaurant on the second floor of the mini-mall. Windows on two sides provided a lovely view of the downtown while we were eating our “breaky croissant”. Yes, breakfast is ‘breaky’. Our croissant was halved with the bottom topped with hash browns, scrambled eggs, and then hollandaise sauce. The top was plain waiting for butter and jam. Each of us had one of these with a café latte and a long American coffee for the grand total of NZ$32. It was a sumptuous breaky with a lovely view, in calm surroundings, making it the perfect choice.
On the other side of the waterfront, there is a peninsula jutting out into the lake. We were told there is a garden there, so that was on the agenda for exploration. With the entire waterfront being exquisitely beautiful, it stood to reason that the gardens would be as well. Named the Queenstown Garden, clever name I thought, the initial area is a huge pond filled with water lilies bordered on either side by gardens of earthbound flowers. Further into the gardens are bowling greens, similar to the Italian game bocce and beyond are tennis courts, On the other side is an ice skating rink overlooking the other side of the waterfront. Ron and I decided to explore different areas and arranged to meet at a particular bench.
When I arrived early, I was taking in the view of the boats on the lake, people parasailing, and the others who were strolling on different paths. To my left, I saw this chain link basket type thing on a pole. I had no idea what it was, but it certainly would not hold trash. Just as I turned my head to the right, something yellow and pancake flat whizzed past my face; shortly it was followed by a similar item, only blue in color. I had not realized it, but I was in spectator seating for Frisbee Golf. I had heard of it, but never witnessed it.
We have probably explored the town up one side and down the other by now, but being Sunday, it has a different mystique about it. Up one street and down another, we looked in all of the windows, but never dared step foot into a store for fear there would be something screaming our name. We are especially prone to this tactic when merchandise begs us to pay the fees to help them escape indentured servant status and adopt it as our own. One store grabbed me and dragged me inside. It was a bookstore with a “BIG NEW YEARS SALE”. That always throws me off my guard allowing for the seduction to take place like the Sirens who lured the sailors in Greek mythology. Once in the store, I found a half a dozen new books I would like by authors I have read in the past, Sue Gruen, Janet Evanovitch, Jed Redfield, Patricia Cornwell, and others. Each book is giving me its own pitch on why I should cart it out of there. “You know you have always loved everything Patricia has written so far, and I am even better than the others. I would love for you to flip my pages and run your fingers over my text. Shove that bookmark deep into me when you need to put me down and I will keep it tightly in place for when you return and pull it out again.” Then another book is pulling at me “Janet’s other books all made you laugh out loud or at least chuckle, but with me she went into an entirely different direction. Would you like to explore the places I can take you? You will never think of Janet the same again.” They almost had me convinced. Each of them had a lovely front cover, but we all know about judging books by their cover. What you need to make a final judgment is to turn them over to check out the other side. Whoa Momma! Flip these babies over and what shock do you discover? A price tag of NZ$40 that is what you find there. Sorry Pat, Jan and all of the rest. I am afraid you will just have to sit here awhile longer. Someday we will all be together, but the time is not right for now.
As we walked, we came across this tiny Episcopalian church and wanted to peak in, but the service was going to start in only a few minutes. The woman priest ran into us as we were trying to catch a peek; she invited us in to services. I went once this trip filling my annual quota. She suggested we look anyway, but we said we would return later.
I did not need a crystal ball to tell me there is another bus trip in my immediate future. I am feeling too well rested for it to last. We found a bakery open, so we bought breakfast items, came back to the hostel and packed our things. For 2 nights, we will be in Millford Sound and then returning here for one night. Rather than schlep our things, we are storing them in their storage container, taking only backpacks for our 2 nights away. Electronics and toiletries are all we need. After that was taken care of, we shot up to the room for a quick nap, but upstairs or next door, someone was practicing break dancing by breaking someone’s’ bones tossing them against the wall.
Barry and Jim, the couple we met in Christchurch strongly recommended taking the cable car to the top on the mountain and have a cheese platter once there. What they forgot to share was that it was a mile high climb to get to the ticket office. There is never a taxi around when you need it. I thought I was being smart diverting our route away from the one hundred stairs leading to the next street by using an alternative street with a slow incline. However, one we zigged in one direction, we had to zag back again and up and up and up some more on inclined streets that are not fat people friendly who have O2 ratings in the same range as Sarah Palin’s popularity amongst Democrats. This almost made me decide to either bungee jump or parachute down the mountain. If the glacier hike and this trek to the admission office don’t kill me I must be leading a charmed life after all.
The cable car ascends 732 meters up. Once there, the view is phenomenal. We went to the place Jim and Barry suggested, but the place was filled. All along a glass wall, they have couches with coffee tables between them for eating, drinking, and viewing the panoramic sights. Fantastic, but we really wanted the cheese platter too. Besides the cable car ride, there are a couple of places to do bungee jumping, so we watched those brave souls or damn fool depending. There is what they call a luge with 2 tracks, but unlike the Olympic luge, these are like little go-carts that you drive down steep tracks. There are two observation decks so we spent a goodly amount of time watching people do things that we would never consider.
Giving it one last shot, we returned to the bar area where we were hoping to have a cheese platter. It was emptied out. We were able to have a beer, salute Jim and Barry for the suggestion and ordered the cheese platter that they suggested. Expecting to be paying a premium for food and drink the cheese platter was only NZ$15 and the beers were 7.00 each. Another shock came when the platter was delivered. There was 5 really good sized chunks of different cheeses, more than 6 different crackers and 5 of each type, two large pieces of dried apricots, dates, cashews, raisins and fresh grapes. This turned into our dinner. Jim if you should read this, thanks for the idea. It was a perfect afternoon.