Friday, June 3, 2011

WC 2011 Mt. Cook to Queenstown

Staying at the historic Hermitage Hotel in Mt. Cook was exceptional. Dinner was lovely and the view incomparable.

The view from our room.

The hotel entrance.

After visiting the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Center, we headed toward Queenstown. The day started out a bit grey, but gave way to sunshine by day's end.

We stopped during our drive to sample the divine (and I mean DIVINE) local produce--especially the cherries.

We stopped for lunch at the Waitiri Creek Wines .

The tasting room is housed in an old Presbyterian chapel. This charming location suited us perfectly as did the lovely luncheon of salmon and lamb with some beautiful wines, especially the Pinot Gris.

More vineyards. I never got tired of seeing them.


We arrived in Queenstown, amid a bit of mist, around 4:30pm. I had about an hour to have a look around before my cousins and I took off for a jetboat ride. CruiseGran had gone the last time she visited, so she sent us off to be soaked.

You know, alot of times, I just go along with the crowd. This time, for some reason, I almost didn't go. I mean, a BOAT ride? We were already on a GIGANTIC boat ride for three weeks--we really need another one? But our brilliant travel advisor, Teri Crane, told us we absolutely should not miss this ride, so, like a lemming, I went along.

I am so glad I did.

Looks innocent enough...a bit shallow.

We had to pack away our cameras just after we picked up our life preservers.

Shotover Jet is one of those boatrides that you think should be available at places like DisneyWorld. That it occurs in a totally natural setting is almost surreal. We got in this boat that draws only four inches of water and head out at incredible speeds through sheer-rock canyons.

Suzanne and Bill sat in front next to the driver. You can see what happened to them.

Although we couldn't take photos (potential water damage, not to mention you hang on for dear life half the time) they took photos for us.


As we leave....

And after about 20 minutes....

Definitely worth it!!!!

To give you an idea of what we did, here's a video of the NEXT boat up and down the river.

We returned to the Sofitel Hotel, and, after a bath in the HUGE bathtub,

complete with wall mounted TV, we gathered together for a short walk through charming Queenstown to the Botswana Butchery for dinner.

Good beef. Excellent crème brulee. Very long day.

But worth every minute.

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