Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cows, Sheep and Winnie Bagoes

After several lovely days in Queenstown (and even a second visit to Fergburger for a Little Lamby and Southern Swine), it was time for us to head to Christchurch for a bit of sightseeing before flying to Tasmania. As we prepared for our last night in the Enterprise, Tyler and I were both feeling a bit melancholy. I've gotten this way close to our flights every time so far. I don't know if it's just that I'm used to a flight meaning my trip is over, or if the fall weather in New Zealand was tricking my mind into thinking about the end of our trip altogether, but I decided to fight our doldrums by taking the Skyline Gondola up for a peek at the town. It was a little pricey, and we'd seen much the same view on our hike up Queenstown Hill, but it seemed like a fun thing to do and a chance to see the town lit up at night. It also gave us a close up peek at more bungy jumpers. The same company that started bungy on the Kawaroa Bridge also have a site at the top of the hill. Brave souls can even jump at night, when I can only imagine that it must feel like jumping into a giant abyss of darkness.

A bit of interpretation (and clicking to enlarge) might be necessary: the skydiving platform is the bright light in the center, the lit up item under it is a gondola, and the row of lights you see "above" the bungy site is actually our campground

The next morning was time for the drive. We expected it to take between six and seven hours to get to Christchurch, so we tried to start early. But we had a few impediments along the way:

First cows being herded by a guy on a dirtbike

Then sheep....

But only a few:

One way bridges and

Windy roads--enlarge to fully appreciate the road sign....

And midway through the drive, we got some lovely views of Mount Cook:

After about six hours, no lunch except candy bars, and a sad farewell to the Enterprise, we found our way to a hostel where we quickly cooked up some food and then settled in for some lazing about and TV watching (the only doubles they had were more expensive rooms with a TV included). But after a bit of regrouping, we headed out to a local favorite, Winnie Bagoe's, supposedly the first gourmet pizza bar in New Zealand. Like Fergburger, Winnie Bagoe's doesn't hold any stops when it comes to fun names and innovative toppings. We decided to have a Florentina (smoked chicken, cashews, cream cheese, apricot preserves), but we're trying to decided if we can make a second trip before we leave for some of the others...The Roast, the Kiwi Craving, Thai Honey Chicken..... They give Stellar's a run for the money!

Quick side note: tomorrow we're off to Tasmania for 10 days of more fantastic scenery, outdoors-y fun and cool autumn weather. While trying to get a photo of the bungy jumpers and lights from up off the gondola, a nice man offered to let me use his tripod. Turns out, he and his wife used to live in Tasmania and just raved about it--Cradle Mountain, Wineglass Bay, good wines, Christmas Hill Raspberry Farm that makes chocolate-covered fresh raspberries.... Their enthusaism was definitely infectious as well as a good reminder of the random encounters you can have with nice people while on the road.

More from "Tassy"!


Tim said...

I was a little amused to see the choice of "flag icons" for selecting alternate language versions on the Skyline Gondola website (Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese). I am used to seeing European language choices on websites, but not so much Asian ones. Did tourist spots and such in NZ cater very much towards Asian tourists in general?

The General said...

Hey Tim,

As far as I've noticed, it seems like (in gneral) they cater to Asian tourists about as much as they do on the West Coast. There do seem to be a lot of Japanese tourist (both the stereotypical older ones with their cameras and younger backpackers), as well as some Koreans. But, I'm not sure that its particularly more than we'd see in San Fran or Seattle.

Ali said...

Have fun in 'Tassy'! If you get a chance, you have to try the meat pies and pasties or sausage rolls. They were my favorite growing up. Perhaps you've already tried these in New Zealand?

Sarah said...

We have had a few meat pies and pasties! We hope to have more while we're here (and maybe back home with you in Seatac!)