In current times, Queenstown is the hub for tourism on the southern portion of the south island. It is the gateway to Fiordlands national park and those mountains that surround the town and lake support skiing and other sports. The town itself is mostly lodging, restaurants and shops.
We stayed in Queenstown for two nights. Our first full day, we took an all day bus excursion to a boat tour of Milford Sound. It was a four hour bus ride each way coupled with a two hour boat tour. The scenery there and along the way was some of the most fantastic of the whole trip and, unlike our day on the TransAlpine Express, the weather cooperated 100%.
|First stop for the bus, Te Anau, on Lake Te Anau|
|Fiordland National Park|
|Tourists! ...and a tour bus.|
|A Kea. If a parrot had to be a hawk, it would be a Kea.|
|Milford Sound cruise. Our boat.|
|Looking back toward Milford|
|Kinda like Maid of the Mist.|
|At the edge of the Tasman Sea|
|One of the larger water falls|
That evening, we strolled in the cold out to the town park, where they had a winter light show. I guess it doesn't get dark enough, soon enough to enjoy lights at Christmas, so they do them in the winter. It had a little bit of everything, from talking faces projected on trees, to geometric shapes with shifting colors.
The next morning, we had some time before having to pack and head for the airport, so we went to breakfast at Fergburger - a well known, open air, burger restaurant. We had their breakfast sandwiches, which had to rival their famous burgers. They were delicious.
|Waiting for our breakfast sandwhich|
|Queenstown. All of it. The Remarkables (mountains in the background)|
|The harbor at Queenstown|
|Making snow on the slopes.|
|Up on the mountain, you never know what will fly by. |
|...sometimes much bigger.|
That does it for the south island. On to the north island (and some warmer weather)
|A last look at Lake Wakatipu|
|New Zealand Alps|
|On to Wellington|