We spent the morning in Wanaka – Janetta went for a walk along the water and I relaxed on the beach with a good book.

Then it was time to move on to Queenstown.  One of our shorter drives (only about an hour), the views were spectacular.

As soon as we got to Queenstown we checked in, got lunch, and met up with a Lord of the Rings tour (I know, I know, another LOTR tour). This one took us to Glenorchy and Paradise, which includes locations such as Lothlorien, Mordor, Edoras and more.

And of course there were hobbit cloaks and swords available.

After the tour we got some ice cream and walked around the lake before heading back to the hostel.

We’re going to Milford Sound tomorrow, so that’s going to be an early start and a late end.


We left Franz Josef early this morning, and embarked on a 8 hour bus ride to Queenstown.  Luckily the driver stopped along the way at cafes and some picturesque stops, so it didn’t feel quite so long.

First stop was the Salmon Farm, which is a cafe that also has some salmon ponds.  You could pay a dollar to feed the fish, and clearly many people do because they were massive.

Next up was Knight’s Point Lookout. The monument marks the completion of the highway on the west coast.

We stopped in Makoura for lunch, and had a great view of the mountains.

And had an unplanned stop at Lake Hawea which was beautiful.

We dropped people off in Wanaka, and I jumped off the bus to get a few pictures at the lake.

And then we finally made it to Queenstown! While walking through the city we noticed the gondola up the mountain.  It’s 450 meters high, and I knew the views would be amazing.  Mom is scared of heights, but I told her this would equal the helicopter ride that was cancelled, and she eventually agreed to give it a chance. It was very nerve-wracking, with lots of swaying, but totally worth it!  You can also hike up the mountain, and participate in other adventure activities, but the gondola was enough for us.

Once we got down (we had to join another couple so the gondola would sway less on the way down) we headed to the beach and waterfront for a short walk.

It doesn’t look like it, but it was actually freezing cold, so we headed back to our hotel in order to prepare for our long day trip to Milford Sound tomorrow.