Welcome to paradise and imagine what the word means to one’s soul. I have a confession that paradise inside me often conjures up tropical ocean thoughts, with waterfalls and beautiful flowers blossoming under the hot sun. Queenstown is not that normal kind of paradise and with a journey too many latitude degrees south, you will see paradise built by mountains, forests, lakes and cute snow covered little towns.
Queenstown is a settlement of 30-40,000 people, having a very international feel due to its touristic splendour. Many nations’ patriots come here in search of working visa approval or New Zealand’s colder climate attraction of the Southern Alps. Europeans, Latin Americans, Indians and Australians are all prominent features of this small town’s human fabric, sewn together by the Southern Alps themselves.
It is set on a beautiful lake that is surrounded by more mountains. Picturesque is the simple description of your initial arrival. The lake is possibly too cold to enjoy a swim in, yet I certainly never went as far as touching it to find out.
The place is filled with tourist sites and more unofficial ‘information centres’ than places like Hollywood or Las Vegas. Be sure if you visit to find the one called SITE as this is the government funded information centre, the location where dollars are less important and sell sell sell in our capitalist world is not the main aim of the game. The right information wins, rather than selling as is typical of New Zealand being capitalist by nature.
I ventured around the city and saw many interesting places to eat and drink. There isn’t too much to disturb your tranquil lifestyle here.
Other than the beauty of my surroundings, I decided I would catch a tour one day out to the nearby luxury tourism spot known as Milford Sound. The place and the journey offers some of the most magnificent landscape you could fathom. I saw why such topography guided our vision in Lord of the Rings that was filmed here or other mountainous adventures such as my own personal one on that day.
We drove along and stopped at various spots along the mountain’s edge. Taking photos to last a lifetime of the moments we would leave behind us. It was an inspiring vision of what Earth can achieve, being an animal of this Earth was where my inspiration took hold. I guess it was the luxury of being in such places that makes you feel as an inspired natural animal.
When we arrived at the wharf on Milford Sound, we would descend from the bus and hopped onto a tourist ferry. The huge scale of things around me took me back. One thing that challenges your senses in an area of such high mountains is how you cannot exactly contemplate their true altitude. The place was essentially beyond human conception when you first arrive and look out over this place.
The ferry left and we went for a 1 hour 45 minute boat ride along the middle of the water. It is stunning and we were told of how at the water’s coastal edge, there is a small shallow and long rock formation. This meant that the old famous explorer James Cook actually passed this place many centuries ago. I had never known that fact (sorry for ruining the story for you) but it was interesting how travel brings knowledge of a place to a new level of interest. Historical and physical in the living of a moment.
It is safe to say that I paid the utmost attention for the rest of the ride. After about 40 minutes I fell asleep. We had to wake up so early and I guess I had taken enough in of the place. In that respect I was not a good traveller. The sleep was nice actually and I awoke only moments before we had to descend from the ferry.
Milford Sound is wondrous and so too is Queenstown. They have a great feel for snow and ice in a way that other places lack. My only anger is the cost of the place, surpassing many major cities and I will certainly say that coffee is exuberantly loco to say the least (expensive loco).
Other than that fact it was a great location to see the wonders in this cold climate. New Zealand continues to be a calmly loved destination for me.