Our overall plan for our trip was to fly from Auckland (cheapest city to fly into) down to the lower South Island (Queenstown) and work our way back up to eventually fly out of Auckland at the end of our trip.
A 7:00am bus ride to the airport had us admiring the massive mountains of Queenstown – NZ’s ‘adventure capital’, from the tarmac by 9:30am. The flight down was a sightseeing event in itself with great views of the coast and active volcano Mount Taranaki. Queenstown’s downtown and sailboat-strewn suburbs are scattered along the bright blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, shaped like a giant in repose. There’s a great Maori Legend as to why this is so.
In high spirits, we decided to walk the couple of kilometers around the bright blue shallows of the lake to the gorgeous 3 br home on the hill that our friends Verity and Latham had so generously offered for us to stay in. When we discovered bikes in the garage, we decided another physical exertion was well within our power and took off to find a quiet lunch on the far side of the lake. We were going to drive to town but discovered the car left for our use was a manual… which combined with driving on the left side of the road seemed a bit too tricky. So what was another 7km on the bike? So we cycled through forest and along the lakefront to the souvenir shops and extreme-sport peddlers of downtown.
At this point we were mildly winded (not being bike riders) but since all our organized activities were scheduled for tomorrow we decided the obvious choice was to take advantage of the good weather and do the 3 hour Queenstown Hill Walk. We soon realized this 500 meter climb should actually be called, the “Queenstown Hill Strenuous Slog” — but we were rewarded with great panoramic views from the top of Mount Te Tapu-nui, fungi a-la Super Mario Brothers, and a fairy village.
Sweaty, exhausted and victorious, we descended the mountain to find that none of the buses back home allowed bicycles. As the sun set, we hoisted our now raw bottoms onto our bikes, happy with the knowledge we could scarf down as many meat pies and glasses of Otago Pino Noir as we wanted upon our return home. THE MOST TIRING HONEYMOON EVER HAD BEGUN!