|Postcard photo from Skyline Chalet Restaurant|
As a retirement gift to myself back in February of 2000, I took a motorcycle tour of New Zealand. Judy went along, but rented a car to give me a worry-free, passenger-free ride. This trip offered us new sights and thrills each day as we criss-crossed the South Island. One of our stops was Queenstown, a well-known resort town in the Otago Region.
We arrived early one afternoon, and following days upon days of cold, windy, rainy weather, we were delighted to change into shorts and sandals and slather sunscreen all over. That night, our entire group took a gondola up to the Skyline Chalet Restaurant, overlooking Queenstown and Lake Wakatupi. It’s a place that features bungee jumping off the platforms outside the dining area.
Two nights in Queenstown gave me a chance to have a day off the bike. On our full day of sight-seeing, I rode with Judy in the tiny, sliver Toyota Echo (passenger seat on the left) to a nearby historic village called Arrowtown.
It was famous for gold prospecting back about 150 years ago. Judy had mastered shifting left-handed and did great driving on the “wrong side of the road.” I was content to be a passenger and let someone else handle the vehicle.
While many of our other motorcycle buds were chasing adventure in the "adrenaline-rush, thrill-seeking capital of the world," that night, we booked a cruise to on an old Steamer Ship, the T.S.S. Earnslaw.
Also known as Lady of the Lake, she'd been steaming around Lake Wakatipu since 1912, when she carried stock and supplies to the stations on its shores. Touring the vessel, we got to see the furnace downstairs and the hands shoveling coal.
At our destination, the Homestead, we survived another lovely buffet dinner, where we came away stuffed -- really stuffed. One woman on the return cruise who was from England said, “I am calling Weight Watchers to let them know I’ll be coming!” The evening concluded with a sing-along of old, familiar tunes before returning us to the dock.
Though Queenstown is noted for excitement and adventure, by most measures, our time there was pretty tame. With plenty of thrills as natural and random occurrences on the New Zealand roads, I was just fine with how we spent our days in Queenstown.
~ xoA ~