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Friday, April 26, 2013

The Land of the Hobbits

Arrived in Queenstown, New Zealand. Tired, cranky and hungry and was met with this haunting image. The TSS Earnslaw. 100 years old in 2012. Coal Fired. 

Eventually found my Hostel and was pleasantly surprised by the space and comfort of the beds.

I took some photos while waiting for Rose and her mother Liane to arrive a few hours later. We had our own private shower and

it was separate from the toilet. Smart.

Our awesome balcony with a fantastic view of the mountains that ring Queenstown.

Found the laundry room and loved this...

The hostel even had a lounge with big, red leather sofas, a fireplace, a foosball table and a sauna!

The waterfront had street vendors that I stopped and chatted with.

Wandered into this very cute and very dangerous store...thank God they didn't have anything with Hello Kitty on it.

The ladies arrived and we headed to The Boiler Room. And when I say it was boiling in there, that's no joke. 

I remembered Queenstown being incredibly expensive so I asked the hostel check in girl where to go for good drinks that wouldn't break the bank. This proved ideal. $10 drinks where everywhere else was $17+.

Window to the other bar next door, the Ice Bar. No thanks. It was already pretty chilly outside and of course, some rain.

We were told to get the espresso martini (center) and I tried some other cocktail. When Rose let me take a sip, she warned me that I would get 'drink envy'. 
(which I did) 

Then we went to a burger joint called Fergberger
(click on my link, super cute, interactive website)
Burgers the size of my head. 

I could barely get my mouth around it. The paper wrapping warned that if you were stupid enough to remove the paper from the burger that you'd most likely end up a Darwin Award winner.

Then it was time for a cookie at Cookietime!
Lemon and white chocolate. 

Cute little critters.

About 2 years ago, I began planning a ride to New Zealand on motorcycle at the suggestion of my friend Paul. I posted on my favorite adventure motorcycle side ADV and found Trevor. He lives in Dunedin and drove a good 3 hours to come meet me in person. Super nice guy, a fierce rider (recently broke his collar bone) and has one blue and one brown eye. 

We headed to Vudu cafe in the morning for an excellent breakfast.

Now you all know how much I love food. Well the food in New Zealand is unreal. The egg yolks are orange, the milk, thick and musky, and the bacon, oh LORD, the bacon.

I had this work of art.

We had some time to kill before leaving for our adventure of the day and took a walk in this park with the beautiful fall colors. 

Nice view back on Queenstown.

Trevor loaded us up in his car and took us to Arrowtown and it just happened to be the Autumn Festival that weekend.

Cute, cute, cute!

 I know you are thinking it. I just ate, right? How could I possibly resist. Especially with a sign like this. 
Well. I did. I will never know if they are actually obscenely good but they sure did smell amazing.

A real telephone booth. Yup. Fully functioning too.

We aren't quite sure what the scarecrows are all about but they looked like they were made my freaky young kids. 

Some looked like they needed a nap.

Now Hokey Pokey ice cream is a nearly indescribable pleasure. Its basically a vanilla based ice cream with crunchy, caramelized bits of honey. When I saw this place, I nearly got run over dashing across the street. I introduced Rose to it.

Rose found this sign pretty funny. After looking at it some, I thought, she was right. Wow. Free parking ALL DAY LONG! 

I found these in a cafe we stopped off and had to share them.

So true.....

Next was a cute town called Cardrona with a famous old hotel...unfortunately closed for a private event. (wedding)

Then Wanaka where I had an excellent meat pie and sat in this tree which reminded me of the couches in the hostel lobby.

Back to Queenstown for a heated ping pong game where the table was optional.

Went to the LOTR specialty store...

Then finished off the night with a massive steak and all night long loud, thumping club music from the place below our fabulous balcony.

I came back to New Zealand a second time to see Milford Sound. I missed it on my last trip to visit my friends Leslie and Holming because it rained so hard the road literally washed out. 

So after a long drive at night to Te Anu, we woke to spectacular views and we still had 2 more hours of road to get there.

I just couldn't decide which photos to cut....everything was just majestic.


Dead forest Trevor spotted.  


I could almost see Frodo pushing off from that shore across the river and Sam running after him... 

These trees looked primeval.

And more waterfalls.

Apparently there are people this dumb.

Stopped for another waterfall.....

....found this incredibly spooky tree that made me think of shelob.

Then I met this very "cheeky" bird. At first he was huddled under a car and I was disappointed that I couldn't get a better photo but then he walked out and took one good long look at me.

This is a Kea. They like shiny things and sheep when their food supply is threatened. At one time they got so hungry that they started to attack sheep, forcing them off of cliffs.
Then the farmers started shooting them.
But it's all good now. They feed at tourist parking lots.

And when I say cheeky, that's an expression here but I'll bet you can guess what that means exactly. This bird first jumped on the car side mirror.

Glad my diamond was not out of my shirt.
Next stop, Milford Sound. 

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