Part 2: Queenstown - Day 1
April 19th: Tuesday afternoon Ruth drove me back to Chch airport, and I got on a small plane to take me to Queenstown. It's only a 1-hr flight and except from being a bit bumpy when going over the Southern Alps, completely uneventful. I arrived safely to Queenstown, and managed to get my rented car without problems - even driving on the wrong side of the road was a smaller deal than I had feared, even if I did wash the windows a couple of times when I tried to find the indicator ;) My hotel was about half-way between the airport and the center of town, and right on the side of the main road, so very easy to find. The parking cellar was a bit of a challange though - the driveway down was very steep and winding. Not a problem going down, but a huge problem coming back up again, as you could only manage it in first gear... a fact I discovered when the car stalled half way up, and I had to reverse back down and try again! After that I'd floor it, cross my fingers and grind my teeth whenever I had to go up it ;) I tried to take a photo, but unfortunately steepness doesn't translate well to 2D.
Aaaanyway, I digress. When I checked in I was told that I had gotten "one of the nicer hotel rooms", and I would have to agree. It was nice and roomy and had the most amazing view, so it was almost a shame that I would only be using it to sleep in ;-) Below is a photo of my room and of the view I had from the table. Not a bad thing to see as you sit eating your breakfast, eh?
I got myself sorted in the room, and then drove down to Queenstown center to get some dinner and buy bread for my breakfasts (no restaurant connected to the hotel, but fortunately they had a toaster in the room). Everybody had been telling me that Queenstown is a really touristy place, but I've got to say that touristy in New Zealand is nothing like touristy in Europe, so I really liked the place, and found myself looking forward to Thursday, where I'd have time to just wonder around and enjoy the place :) As it was I found a nice sushi place for dinner, and then walked around town a bit to find a place to get some ice cream for dessert before heading back to the hotel. Easier said than done though, so after having fruitlessly gone up and down a few streets, I decided to enter one of the (many! must admit to that) tourist bureaus and ask there, figuring that they were more likely to be locals, rather than people I met on the street.
"Hi, I hope you can help me - I'm looking for a good place to get some ice cream?"
"Oh, you are almost there! Just around the corner, at Patagonia Ice Cream. They have the best homemade ice cream! And churros to! Man, now I want some!"
Heh, love the friendliness of Kiwis ;) And the ice cream was delicious. Turned out that it's one of the few places in Queenstown with free Wifi, so now I knew where to go to update FB :D