Reporting from Queenstown
It’s day 5 of my tour of the Southern Island of New Zealand, and I’m feeling a little fatigue from too much walking and driving It is also my second day in Queenstown.
Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. It’s where all the thrill seeking rides you ever wanted, can be found in this place. You can get on a plane to view glaziers and Mt Cooks, drop from a parachute, get helicopter ride and land on a mountain slope to ski, paraglide above a lake, dart on jet boat in rapids with name like Shotover river, driven on 4WD in rugged terrains, kayak in the white waters, ride horse to cross river and mountain, or simply drive a to view and enjoy spectacular sceneries..
I love the mountain scenes, especially that of blue water lakes against backdrop of snow capped mountains. But here in Queenstown, I somehow feel disconcerted. It may be due to the crass commercialism, where every attempt is made to squeeze the last dollar from a tourist. This together with lack of public parks, squares, walks etc has taken away the charm from this place.
It’s an expensive affair to indulge in thrills being offered here. A jet boat ride ( with 11 other fellow passengers) of about an hour, will cost $100 or more. A bungee jump cost $178!. A half day ride in 4WD with jet boat will cost around $250. A 3 hours jet boat ride along Dart river will cost about $190. Parasailing, helicopter and plane rides will cost more than $300.
As for food, the choice is rather limited for us. There is none of the RSL priced Western food that one could get here. Dining here will probably cost $60 per person. For cheaper food, one could always turn to McDonald or KFC. We had lunch at Thai restaurant and dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The dinner cost us $30 per person, and seems most reasonable to me when compared to other eateries. Why I am complaining so much about the cost? Maybe, I am still unaccustomed to all these because I keep on comparing with those in Asia, especially Malaysia, China and Laos, where I travelled recently.
Yesterday, we were in Arrowtown, while on the way to Queenstown. An interesting place, there was previously a Chinese settlement there.
Before Queenstown, we spend a night a Frank Josef glacier. We enjoyed the walks and the view of the Frank Josef and Fox glaciers.
Will be going to a town called Oamaru tomorrow. Hope to see penguins walks in the evening.
Photo uploaded on 20/1/2010.