Queenstown Photo Gallery

Queenstown has quite a scenic setting. The snowstorm from a few days earlier made the mountains look quite white despite the arrival of spring.

Queenstown's main street is very touristy with lots of shops selling the standard tours and adventure experiences. Glad I didn't stay here.

No trip would be complete without visiting Bob's Peak for a view of the town and its surrounding mountains. The gondola station was just a few blocks from the main shopping district through quiet roads and flowering cherry blossom trees. Things looked upbeat until I saw the price tag. 33 bucks for a roundtrip. Yikes.

There was a sign for hiking next to the gondola station. I looked at the map, which in its 2D dimensions, didn't portray the climb being too crazy. I could see almost to the end of the gondola from the bottom, so how bad could it be? The estimated arrival time by taking the free Tiki trail was 1 hour only, which was plenty as I had nothing else to do that day.

To save 33 bucks, I headed into the forest to start my way up. What a big mistake. The route was muddy and quite steep. In fact, it wasn't really a trail at all, but just a mud track. Not long after I started the climb, a sign popped up advertising the 21 buck return journey down. It read my mind. Regret started settling in.

I was a good sport and continued the climb slowly and steadily. It was a hard hike with running shoes - much worse than Diamond Lake in Wanaka. I thought of giving up but going down would be far more dangerous in muddy conditions. I had to tough it out and end my South Island tour with a bang, or a hospital visit.

Almost an hour later, this exhausted tourist reached Bob's Peak gondola station. Lots of people were enjoying the luge ride, but I was a zombie by now. I slowly made my way into the beautiful gondola station, and revived myself exiting on the other side - welcome to the aerial view.

There were scantly few hikers on the Tiki trail, so I presumed everyone took the gondola up. It was crowded but still possible to sneak up front for a full view by the railing. After resting by taking photos and barely moving, I decided to do the right thing and pay 21 bucks to gondola back down. The view is definitely worth seeing, but I would recommend the gondola all the way up AND down.

Arrowtown has a quaint historic "market" street that has now been turned into a tourist attraction selling the typical tourist fare. There was ample street parking, although I later found a proper parking lot at the other end of the retail strip.

At the other end of the street is the Chinese settlement, which had a lot of display panels outlining the history of mining in the area, why the Chinese were here, and the discrimination they faced. There weren't too many intact structures along this stretch anymore, but it was well explained and quite impressive.

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