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Reisverslag Wine, gold and fools
21 januari 2014
Wine, gold and fools
The day starts completely overcast but shortly after having finished a delicious breakfast with amongst others homemade yoghurt and homemade quint ”paste”, the sun keeps us company again.
We are invited to visit John and Arna’s winery: the Mt Difficulty (named after the mountain which you can see from the vineyard and named like this because once a shepherd, who travelled with his sheep from Dunedin to Queenstown couldn’t get the sheep to cross the river to go over this mountain).
A very interesting excursion; John tells us everything about making wine and the difference between the making of red and white and we visit also their “Cellar door” (wine tasting, restaurant and shop), situated a little bit higher up the mountain with view over the lake, vineyards and the surrounding fruit trees. In spring the view must be even more spectacular with all the blossom (we know so well in the Provence)!
We then go on towards Queenstown but not before having visited two places which John and Arna advised us to go to.
First, only 15 minutes away, at the entrance to the spectacular Kawarau Gorge en route to Queenstown, we visit the “Gold Mining Centre”.
It’s one of the few easily accessible original mining sites from the gold rush era. During a one and a half hour walk, which is a big challenge for Willem’s knee, we see the old workings and operating equipment which used the power of water to literally move mountains. Here again there is a Chinese miner’s village but this time very very sober.
Just about 15 kilometers before Queenstown a sign on the right hand side of the road says: “Historic site” and “Bungy, 43 meters”. We stop and see that there is an old bridge and a small building next to a parking place with “Bungy” on it.
Just imagine: we are in the middle of nowhere, only quite a few cars on the parking (which is unusual) and then we open the door of the small building….very loud modern music plunges on us from a huge building which is mainly built down the stairs.
It’s crowded with young people who are waiting to take THE jump from the old historic bridge over the Kawarau river, are jumping or just have done so or are shopping. Others are being catapulted in a seat down the river and just before they get to a wall they are stopped.
We really can’t see the pleasure in that but well, we’re old…
Apparently we visited the world's first permanent commercial bungee site, opened in the late 80’s….
Our second planned stop is Arrowtown, half an hour before Queenstown. There are many well preserved buildings used by European and Chinese immigrants dating from the gold mining days of the town.
It used to be an important centre with 7000 inhabitants surrounded by other gold mining towns but nowadays it’s the only town “alive” left, the others are ghost towns (as so many others).
The weather is beautiful now and warm and we even look for the shade when we take lunch on the terrace of the “Fork and Tap” (!) restaurant ….
The arrival in Queenstown is beautiful. An other magnificent blue lake. But the third time that we see a lot of traffic in New Zealand is now, and not only traffic, the place is crowded!!! The mean age of all the people we see must be in the twenties and we feel like dinosaurs in there.
We had planned to take the camping site in the city and enjoy a drink on a terrace and go to a restaurant but we decide to look for the quiet place 10 km out of town on the lakeside with the magnificent Remarkables (mountains) looking over our shoulder.
A fantastic decision, there is just one spot left directly at the lake. As the weather is so nice we decide to finally use our barbecue attached to the car.
Foto's bij verslag (42)
25 januari 2014 12:31 | Door: micky
Wat een reisverslag, je hoort Michele praten...enig!! En die dolfijnen, te gek om dat mee te maken. Ga overmorgen naar S. Fr
, dus talk to you na de 7e Febr. Heb het super tot aan het eind van de reis. Loriol gaat super! bises moi de carpentras
27 januari 2014 12:33 | Door: Carolyn
Wat leuk om al jullie avonturen te lezen! Het is wel een prachtig land, als ik de foto's zo zie.
Jammer, dat het zo ver weg is. Maar heerlijk, dat jullie zoveel tijd hebben om alles uitgebreid te bekijken.
Wij vertrekken over 2 weken weer naar afrika, waarschijnlijk nu voor de laatste keer.
Veel plezier nog daar, liefs, carolyn en robert