Well what a long noisy night that was. Until I realised I had earplugs in my toilet bag that was. My room is at the front of the building on the ground floor. Its right next to a communal shower/toilet and also a little lounge area. At 2am two people were having a deep and meaningful discussion about their lives and whether they should go home or not. There was a british and an american accent involved. They were being quiet, its just that I could actually hear them and it went on for hours eventually after dozing off and waking up again, I hoped i’d left the ear plugs in the toiletry bag and I had! I didn’t even hear the workers doing work at whatever time they started as I didn’t wake up til 9:30am.
I went for a wander around Queenstown. The place is spread with townhouses along the shoreline and up the hills to cope with the winter peak season, but the town itself is compact with a lot of restaurants on the waterfront. The lake water is crystal clear so probably pleasant in summer with a wetsuit on! I kind of wondered why I thought 3 nights here would be good. I think 2 would have been fine in hindsight. One could easily blow $500 a day here without blinking doing all the activities on offer.
I decided to skip breakfast and have an early lunch and found a little vietnamese place fro some soul warming pho and a beer. Afterwards I walked up towards the gondola station, not convinced I should go up, but in the end found the Kiwi birdlife park. I went inside to check out the kiwi’s and as they were nocturnal they were housed in a pitch black room with some red light to help me see them. They are as funny as they look and don’t really have any wings, they still have a couple of little stumpy bits but they don’t have any wings they even move or spread out, like other flightless birds. Sorry no photographs of kiwis as it was banned and too dark.
I did manage to snap a few photos of some of the other birds in the park including the mischevious Keas, I saw one the other day and their are notorious for stealing things from cars and bags and chewing on rubbing and even deflating car tyres. They are apparently very intelligent and have worked out logic problems to get food. They are a type of parrot and as the photo shows have a very large and sharp beak.
They also had Tuataras here as a native New Zealand animal. Although lizard like, they are in fact not related that closely to lizards and they are a seperate type of reptile from the three main groups lizards/snakes, crocodiles/alligators and turtles/tortoises. Its believed that they have the same ancestors as birds. I only saw a baby one with its head sticking out in the enclosure, but got to pay one at a show they ran.
It was almost a private shoe, but two tourists from china joined in and we got to see quite a few of the birds fly about. They also had one of the two native birds of prey. They are the New Zealand Falcon and the Morepork, which is called the Tasmanian spotted owl in Tasmania. The Morepork seemed happy to fly about and fly past my head.
The show had a bit of a conservation message about it and one of those was to kill all possums and buy their fur and eat possum pie. Apparently possums have become a pest in NZ and there is a distinct lack of predators for it, meanwhile NZ had no real land predators and thus introduced species are the real issue. The possums go after Kiwi nests in particular, thus places like this one try to raise the chick to be about a kilo before releasing them into the wild as the bigger kiwi will fight back against the possums. I contemplated the gondola again and headed back into town.
Now dinner was an absolute delight. I went to a place called Coalfire and ordered the Wild Venison leg on gingerbread with baby carrots and a coconut porter jus with duck fat roasted potatoes. I felt like I was in food heaven. Everything was amazing, even the gingerbread which had me concerned but it worked quite well as it was soft and soaked up the juices of the venison and the jus. I’m feeling rather bloated but happily fed and the $NZ60 bill didn’t seem to bother me that much, after all I could have spent a lot more on other adventure activities instead.
It is bloody cold though and I ventured out to town with thermals, gloves and a beanie. I saw some crazy people in shorts and a beanie. Not sure how that is meant to work, but keeping his head warm wasn’t making him smarter.