The weather didn’t look great this morning. Freezing cold and low cloud everywhere. So I thought I’d go for a drive because it was too cold to do anything outside. I headed along the road that follows the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu, to the north west. The lake is like a long sausage with two bends in it. I realise what could have been spectacular views were covered in cloud, so even the drive was probably pointless until I arrived in Glenorchy. Just as I arrived the clouds had started to part to reveal beautiful snow covered peaks across the lake.
I drove back to Queenstown and noticed the clouds were indeed clearing up and the Remarkables were visible. The internet seems to be light on information about why the mountain range was called the Remarkables, but most likely some guy a long time ago wandered here in low cloud and fog and it cleared to display the mountain range and in true 1800’s style said “Remarkable, what fine mountain range that is old chap”
After a quick lunch I then headed back to the Gondola. I summoned up all my nerves and bought a ticket with 5 luge rides as well! I faced the mountain side going up and basically had no idea how high up I was or what the view was like behind me. I really didn’t care as these kinds of things scare the crap out of me.
At the top I finally breathed a sigh of relief and managed to negotiate the souvenir shop and the restaurant to find the viewing platform. I have no issues being on the viewing platform and looking out at that height. I just have issues with gondolas etc. I could see most of Christchurch and the Remarkables.
People don’t come to Queenstown to walk around, take leisurely drives and visit bird parks. They come for thrill seeking adventures. My thrill seeking adventure was to ride the luge track. Now compared to the one I’ve ridden at places like Corin Forrest, with a steel track and banking and edges to stop you coming off the track (You can still fall off if you really push the limits), these luge tracks were concrete paths with some banking in the corners and the luge also had steering.
What the chinese tourists aka speedhumps didn’t comprehend from the quick tutorial is taking your hands off the handlebars brakes the luge. As does pulling it all the way towards you. Its finding the friction point in the middle and riding a good line that got you all the speed. After the first luge run, I couldn’t wait to go again, even if it meant riding a chairlift to the top of the luge track. The tracks were only about 800m long though. At the end of the 5 rides the adrenalin was pumping. I went and spoke to the parasailing people but decided to save the money because my adrenalin would run out and I’d be shit scared. Then again I did brace myself as the Gondola ride down started the steep descent!
Tomorrow I start my drive back to Christchurch via Mt Cook. I just hope the sky is clear enough to see Mt Cook and maybe some star gazing also. That part of NZ is designated a dark sky reserve and is ideal for stargazing. Worst case I’ve got a lovely room with a potential Mt Cook view which for the price better be good!