Look out, Queenstown NZ! Nov 28-29, 2016

We hopped back on our coach after cruising beautiful Milford Sound, for a relaxing drive to Queenstown, a few hours away.  Picturesque to the nth degree, it was easy to sit back, leave the driving to a pro, and gaze out the window, maybe even close the eyes for a few seconds!  New Zealand is a spectator's paradise.

Queenstown is situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in the Southern Alps.  This town is known for all sorts of recreational delights, a favorite holiday center, crystal clear days and bright autumn colors. Lake Wakatipu itself is 1020' deep at its deepest, and 52 miles long, with a mean temp of 53 degrees, definitely not my idea of a swimming hole!

We checked into the Copthorne hotel before moving on to the next venue!

The next morning (Tuesday), our guide led the group on paths through outstanding Queenstown Gardens.   More than a few of us could have spent two hours traipsing around there, but we enjoyed what we did see. We were on our way to an outing at Walter Peak Station.  A brisk wind was blowing in off the lake. 

Stellar flower gardens!  The peony's were as big as dinner plates.  Most of the roses were just coming into bloom (still late spring here), but they would be a sight to see when fully open.

Green and lovely, with a huge Chestnut tree behind me.

We paused here near the water's edge to view this special commemorative rock and plaque to Captain Scott and his team of Antarctic exploration fame.  Plaque is below.

 Another one of those fantastic silver fern fronds!

A special outing on the coal-fired vintage steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station was the highlight for today.  This old boat, built in 1912, was launched on Lake Wakatipu where the pure cold fresh lake water kept her in great condition.  She was the only coal-fired passenger-carrying vessel in the Southern Hemisphere.  It was such a pretty day to be on the water.

New Zealand's Black-billed Gulls.  Bright eyes!

Windy ... hold onto your hats!

Look at those Lenticular clouds!

Doesn't this look like a place you could hunker down for a while?  Situated on enchanting Lake Wakatipu’s south-western shores, this is Walter Peak Station, where lots of neat things are planned for us ... and then we'll partake lunch on the lakeside terrace.  Here, again, are gardens you wish you had in your own yard.  Simply gorgeous.

The best part of what we'd see was watching the young man shear a sheep.  He single-handedly pulled it out of the pen behind him, made it docile and tractable by holding its front feet (paws?) off the floor and proceeded to shear it in a matter of a minute of two.  He made it look like a piece of cake, but I'm sure it took muscles and lots o' practice to make it appear so easy.

A few alpacas dotted the green hillsides.

Next came a demonstration of working farm dogs to round up sheep from the hill paddocks and herd them into that pen.  The young fella whistled different tones or sounds and the dog responded to those commands, and it could run!

I was remiss in taking photos of the delicious buffet gourmet BBQ lunch served at Walter Peak Station.  Ohmygosh, what a feast.  I'm not a big BBQ aficionado, but this food was really good.  They had entire sections set aside for salads, veggies, breads, taters, and succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill.  All yummy, every morsel. Desserts, too, of course!  We piled it on, licked our fingers.  I found the lamb tasted best (very delish).

The TSS Earnslaw departed for Queenstown after lunch.  We had a free afternoon to wander at will, and so we did.  How could I resist a picture of Jimmy at Wilkinson's Pharmacy? 

Jimmy liked this one.

We enjoy going into churches, any denomination, and this is St. Peter's Anglican Church. It's been a part of Queenstown and wider Wakatipu since 1863.  It was quiet and serene inside, not ornate or fancy and seemed to beckon in the weary or curious.  Jimmy lit two candles in memory of his son and my brother, who both passed away this year.

And this perfect vase of peony's in the church foyer is my way of saying gidday to you, for now, but our day wasn't over yet, nope -- there's more, always more!  Till next time!


  1. Mo keeps asking if you got to see the sheep shearing. I showed her the blog photos and she recognized the place. She was there on her trip to New Zealand and Australia in 1999. Such a gorgeous place....oh so gorgeous. I do so love clean skies and good water...something we find less and less of in our world.

  2. Another wonderful day!!

  3. Isn't the scenery in Queenstown spectacular? I was mesmerized by the eyes of those gulls ... have so many pics of them ;-) Glad you got to see the Scott Memorial. After having visited the Ross Sea hut from where he left to go on the fateful expedition to the pole, we made sure to pay our respects at the memorial. I so wanted to do the steam ship, but alas ... had to cut it from our itinerary when we had to shift schedules to make time for North Island.

  4. By the way, sheep paws are called hooves! Had to hire someone to come out and do my shearing and trim their hooves every spring, but I docked my own lamb tails which involves a tool that pops on a tight rubber band that eventually cuts through and it falls off some time later.


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