Falling in Love with Queenstown, NZ

From the moment our plane touched down on the South Island of New Zealand we were pretty smitten (in fact my sister-in-law got in trouble for taking photos of the scenery while we were on the runway). With rugged snow-capped mountains and blue lakes everywhere you look, it’s not hard to understand why people rave about New Zealand.

We hurried through the (tiny) airport and picked up our rental car to begin our six day Kiwi adventure. We started off checking into our hotel, The Earnslaw Lodge, a cozy little hotel on the lake front.

We were not disappointed when we opened the curtains to this view…

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It was already late afternoon so we were looking for something to do before dinner. I remembered my friend, Emily Anne, had gone to this ice bar while she was in Queenstown. I checked their version on Groupon (Grab One) and luckily they still had the deal going on for Minus 5.

Note: There are two ice bars in Queenstown, so if you just ask a stranger on the street where the “ice bar” is, they might lead you to the wrong destination.

We didn’t realize this isn’t a typical bar where people just wander in and hang out. You book an hour at a time, they get you all bundled up and you go hang out in the small bar area that is literally COMPLETELY made of ice. We lasted 22 minutes before our Texas/Queensland bodies couldn’t handle the cold anymore.

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We wandered around the lake and watched the sunset. I’m not sure how many times we commented on how gorgeous the scenery was, but if I was a betting woman I would bet at least 150.

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The next morning Travis got up early to catch the sunrise, actually it rises at 8:30 but it was 5:30 in Brisbane time so the rest of us were still quite sleepy.

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We spent the morning laying around, drinking tea and staring out across the lake from our little patio. Around 9:30 we decided to head out to Skyline Gondola for our first activity of the day. We originally just planned on taking the gondola to the top and grab breakfast/coffee, but when we saw the luge we decided to add a couple rides on to our itinerary.

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After becoming properly caffeinated and taking an obscene amount of photos of the view over Queenstown, we made our way to the second gondola that takes you to the luge track.

Sidenote: At this point we were extremely underwhelmed about the luge ride, from where we were we could see everyone finishing up the course at a snail’s pace. Also, we had only seen children. Travis literally suggested we try and give our tickets away, but we decided to give it a go anyway.

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This marks the first time I have ever purchased the photos they take of you, but how could I not? When we got to the luge track we realized that the track we had been seeing people finish up on was for kids and first timers AND the have to slow down practically to a stop right before it ends. I’m SO glad that we didn’t sketch out on the luge rides because they were SO fun (and the view wasn’t too shabby either).

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We headed back down the mountain, grabbed lunch at the famous Fergburger (pork belly was the crowd favorite) and snapped a few more pictures in lovely Queenstown before we hit the road to begin our trek around the south island.

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DSC_0511Next up is our road trip to Lake Wanaka and the quest to find the bluest lake…

Linking up with the ladies of Travel Tuesday