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Queenstown to Wanaka
We were definitely having a great holiday so far! Starting from the minute we touched down until Day 7, we have been enjoying our limited stay in NZ. With all the activities that we had so far, we did not realize that our trip is coming to an end soon. We just wanted to enjoy the moment as much as we could!
Our Day 8 started at Queenstown, and we drove leisurely towards Arrowtown, located about 20 minutes drive away.
Arrowtown is a historic gold mining town in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. During the high point of the gold rush the population of Arrowtown rose to over 7,000 and became the center of a larger municipality, which covered the new settlements of Macetown, Skippers and Bullendale (today only ghost towns).
The relatively small town was pretty crowded when we got there. The main street houses two rows of vintage shop houses which look like a cowboy town minus the hats and the horses. 😛
With such lovely crisp and cool weather with plenty of sunshine, it was a refreshing stroll as we check out each shop, and particularly the museum. Like and as always with other museum or visitor centers in NZ, I couldn’t help but to heap praises upon praises on the wonderful work done by the NZ tourism to ensure that we would leave the place with lovingly sweet memories.
As with the strolling, we continued way past the shops, and immediately came upon the former site of Chinese settlers, where they came all the way from Guangdong, China to seek for opportunities at this southern hemisphere.
There are still remains of the past where the settlers once lived, I mean the tiny little huts from yesteryears that had no running water and electricity. To make life even more worse, these people had nothing to keep them warm during winter months.
To be frank, the site looks scary, and good thing we did not stay any longer.
We left Arrowtown heading for the next planned activity but while on our way, we came to Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump site. What a great unexpected discovery which I did not research before. Immediately we made a stop and gathered at the viewing point while witnessing participants overcome their fear and making the leap of faith.
It wasn’t far from we’re we stopped and we finally came to another refreshing activity of the trip, vineyard. Not very far away from Arrowtown lies Gibbston Valley, Otago’s finest place for wines! Our first vineyard, probably the hidden gem of all is Chard Farm. Coming from Arrowtown, and right before Gibbston Valley, the road to the farm is an adventure on its own and once passing that, lies a beautiful farm in front of your eyes.
A quick tasting was ensued and we were introduced by the proprietor of different produces for that year. I am absolutely clueless on wines, so I left that to my friend who had anticipated it long before we came here.
We left after a couple of tastings, not without getting few bottles to bring home and most importantly, photos that paint thousands of words.
Treading along Gibbston Valley, there are quite a number of vineyards looking to tempt us into visiting them but we have set our eyes on Gibbston Valley Winery, which offers something out of ordinary, a wine cave.
We paid for a tour of wine cave, where a section of the hill is blasted to make a cave and with proper ventilation and natural, constant temperature, this wine cave turns out to be an ideal place to store wines. A quick tour of the cave was accompanied with wine tastings and we gladly downed few glasses.
We also took a quick look at cheesery, which is a first for most of us and we could sample their varieties of cheese.
We left the place feeling a bit drowsy, not for me though so I took the responsibility of driving. We did stop at Jones Family Fruit Stall located right before Cromwell. We took a short break indulging in the NZ$5 fruit ice cream and it was well worth the money. 🙂
We should have make a turn into Cromwell but I guess tiredness started to kick in, so we continued towards Wanaka, our final stop.
Wanaka itself is a beautiful town on its own and dubbed as resort town for its laid back atmosphere. After dropping our stuffs at our hostel, we quickly drove in search of Rippon Valley Winery. Without proper signage, we however able to find it without problem. Unfortunately, it was already closed by the time we arrived, so we just took some fantastic photos from the vineyard overlooking the farm and Lake Wanaka.
We headed back to the town shortly, but not before stopping at the local grocer to get some supply for dinner.