On our way from Te Anau to Queenstown, we indulged Brod in yet another geeky train thing. This time it was a genuine antique steam train called the Kingston Flyer. It is has a history in New Zealand railway folklore and now runs on *13Km* of track from Kingston on the shore of Lake Wakatipu to a turnround in the middle of nowhere. This is the only remaining part of the main railway from Dunedin and Invercargill to Kingston, where the train used to connect up with a steamship to Queenstown. Brod spent most of the time photographing the loco and standing grandly on the open deck of the last carriage like an American president going through the Wild West.
We spent 2 nights in The Lofts Apartments in the town of Queenstown. Queenstown is a year round resort, with busy snowfields within 20Km of town during Winter, and a busy, sporty & warm climate during the Summer. Queenstown claims it is the inventor of the Bungee Jump, it also lays claim to the worlds first commercial jet boat on it’s rivers. Our plan was to take the Shotover Jet Boat, down river, however after a morning reading the local paper, and it’s headlines about how the river was closed, due to the police and rescue services continued search for the two bodies of two jet-boaters, we decided to give it a miss.
We took a drive out to the Kawarau bridge over the icy-cold river where there was a bungee operation to watch lunatics hurl themselves off. Before you jump off, the staff at the top ask you if you want to stay dry, touch the water, or be completely immersed (upside down of course). Judging by the reactions of some who got soaked, we are not so sure they paid too much attention! One young lad of about 10 was having real last minute nerves, which meant the whole crowd watching started to cheer him on, we were standing next to the jump platform and had every sympathy with him! After about 5 minutes of coaxing by one of the staff on the platform he went over.. poor sod, he didn’t look overly happy at the bottom either. All jumpers were collected by a little rubber raft, bouncing about in the freezing cold torrent. After which they had to climb up a bloody big flight of steps back to the top, usually freezing cold and all alone! Seems a bit of a downer for NZ$165 each!
Leaving the madness of the jumpers behind, we drove up to Arrowtown, a former gold-minding town. Here in the museum I found more of the Cowan clan, this time an owner of a coal-pit nearby.
After the shiteness of the Te Anau cuisine, we were pleased to be in Queenstown, where they appear to employ chefs and waiters with some form of training. We had two very good meals here, including one, where we even ‘bought to t-shirt’.