Stop number four was quite a big change from the prior destination (Bali – read HERE). Not only was there a considerable distance, but a time change of four hours and cool, rainy weather.
For this return visit to New Zealand, the focus was the south island – specifically Queenstown. This was a deliberate choice as a quick visit to the area in 2010 was the catalyst to return for a longer stay. The main goal above all was seeing iconic Milford Sound (the whole story in the next post). Below, Lake Wakatipu waterfront near the town center.
Upon arrival, we got our rental car. It’s right-hand driving in NZ, which I have done before. It requires a lot more attention! The biggest adjustment by far is the turn indicator, which I would go to use and the windshield wipers would come on (opposite side again). And for someone who takes great pride in her parallel parking skills, the photo below was an epic fail! For the record, I did re-park.
One is immediately reminded of the stunning beauty in the area upon arrival. The fact that it is late fall with lots of leaves turning is a big part of it. The air is clean and crisp, and every direction is prettier than the next. Our accommodations at the Sofitel in town proved the right choice as we could walk for meals and shopping.
Where did we go from our base in Queenstown? First was Glenorchy, a truly small town along the banks of the Dart River made famous by Lord of the Rings. As we continued to drive, the scenery with low clouds, leaves changing, and animals made for a visually stunning day.
The next day we headed in the opposite direction to their wine country. A wine shop proprietor in the quaint village of Arrowtown recommended four places. Luck of the draw, we picked Mt. Rosa and loved it. The winery is a small producer of 5,000 cases. We sat and chatted with the general manager for quite some time as well as other staff. With reasonable shipping costs, a number of bottles are en route as we speak.
Above, outside the winery. Below, is there a better combination (with wine)? I think not.
Above, Arrowtown’s main “drag”; below, our car after the prior day’s muddy drive!
Below, the magnificent property of Millbrook offering “Luxury Golf & Lifestyle Resort.” If this isn’t the down-under version of Napa Valley’s Silverado, there simply isn’t one! Golf course, private properties, rental properties, restaurants, etc., in the wine area. And the scenery is spectacular.
I suppose one could go to Queenstown and not eat something from Ferg’s, but I’m not sure one would want to. There’s Fergburger with lines out the door pretty much all day; Ferg Baker, Mrs. Ferg Gelato and then Ferg’s Bar. Each one of the Ferg shops were busy as well depending upon the time of the day. Everything is baked/made on the premises, with ovens (hamburger buns and baked goods) going nearly around the clock. The verdict: LOVED the gelato (pretty much daily); I liked the burger better than the hubby did. Bottom line, well worth a stop. I never did find out who exactly Ferg is or was. Someone took over the business roughly 10 years ago with social media savvy and boom! Crazy busy.
Below, Ferg owns the block: (right to left) Bar, Burgers, Bakery, Gelato.
Stay tuned for the dramatic story regarding Millford Sound. Until then, I’ll close with this: There’s a reason every person I’ve spoken to who has been to New Zealand agrees: it is a gorgeous and exceptional place to visit again and again.