“I saw an open country, not perfectly level but broken by small hills and terraces whilst a large lake or arm of a lake stretched away in the distance, almost as far as the eye could reach.”

Queenstown from the Skyline
William Rees statue in downtown Queenstown
View of Lake Wakatipu & the Remarkables from our hotel
The dining room at the hotel

Our final destination in New Zealand was Queenstown, rich in Maori and gold rush history and today the Adventure Capital of the World. The city is pretty small considering its big reputation, but the landscape in which it lives makes up for its diminutive size. Queenstown is tucked into the Remarkables Mountains (the most aptly and obviously named mountains in the world) with Lake Wakatipu on its edge. It is full of companies eager to accommodate any adventure activity you can imagine: bungee jumping, skydiving, jetboating, parasailing, and a bunch of other things I’d never heard of.

Skyline from the ground
Gondola-loading zone – they don’t actually stop. You just jump in or out as it keeps moving

We had four nights in Queenstown, the longest of any place on the tour. One night, some of us took gondolas up the Skyline for a buffet dinner.

Gondola-loading zone
Gondola-loading zone – this one is an All Blacks gondola
Gondola-loading zone
Gondola Selfie

The gondola ride was uneventful, for which I was thankful. AJ, CD, and NS were great at keeping the conversation moving so I hardly noticed we were dangling above the ground. The views out across Queenstown from the top were totally worth the effort, and the dinner was even better.

Queenstown from the Skyline
Remarkables & gondolas from Skyline
Queenstown from the Skyline
Queenstown from the Skyline
Remarkable Mountains from the Skyline
Queenstown from the Skyline
With Queenstown from the Skyline
Mini Pavlova

Have I waxed philosophical about pavlova yet? It’s a meringue dessert named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova. The Australians and New Zealanders have been fighting over its origin since the 1920s when it first appeared, each claiming to have invented the deliciousness. I don’t much care who invented it, but I will be learning to make it myself when I get home in spite of my general dislike of beating egg whites.

Title quote: William Rees, the first European to settle Queenstown

Lord of the Beans – made entirely of Jelly Bellys. This was on the wall at the Skyline.
Man-hole cover in Queenstown

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