Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Into Queenstown

The drive from Dunedin to Queenstown was supposed to take around 3.5 hours, but like the previous drive, it ended up taking longer. It's hard to stay at 100km on a two-lane highway with slow-moving vehicles and very few passing lanes. We took the advice of our Dunedin hosts and waited until the Cromwell area to stop at one of the several fruit stands on the side of the road. The shop had so much fruit -- I contented myself with only buying enough apricots and nectarines to tide me over until the return home.
view from the balcony
view from the room
In Queenstown, the late afternoon was nice and warm, unlike what the forecast had predicted. We checked into the hostel (Hippo Lodge) which had great views of the city and lake just like it had promised online. Going for a walk through the city center, we indulged in some gelato and picked up some of the perishables at a grocery store that we weren't able to bring in our cooler.

You'll hear that it's hard to do Queenstown on a budget. It's a huge tourist destination and has been growing a lot in recent years. The adventure/thrill attractions are certainly not inexpensive (bungy jumping, jet-boating, paragliding, etc.) and the restaurants often cost more than the already high-priced New Zealand ones. However, if you don't do the thrill stuff and pack your own food, it is possible to have a good vacation and see lots of the area without spending a lot. We spent time hiking, walking, and driving and pre-planned all of our meals (and pre-prepped a lot of them before leaving). It saved a lot on time to have breakfast ready to just be re-heated each morning: scrambled eggs and bacon, with two special days of spelt-flour pancakes and maple syrup. Lunch was sandwiches, crackers & cheese, yogurt, fruit, and cut-up vegetables. Dinner was pasta with marinara sauce, quesadillas, tacos, and fish. We made pumpkin bread and chocolate chip muffins for dessert.

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