We left Te Anua this morning for the final destination on our trip…Queenstown. The countryside near Te Anua is very barren and dry looking compared to the green rolling hills we’ve seen during most of the trip. The hills are covered with short tufting grasses and smaller bush-like trees, but still you see sheep hugging the hillside with their heads buried in the grass. The wind was very strong in the valleys between the hills. Eventually, we emerged into greenery again and traveled along a beautiful lake.

Devil’s Staircase Lookout

Outside Queenstown, we stopped in Gibbston Valley for lunch and wine tasting. The area is known for Pinot Noir. Gibbston Valley Winery had a great outdoor restaurant and a cheesery (we could all use more cheeseries) along with their tasting room. We were lucky to finish our lunch before the rain came again.

Shawn had fresh blue cod and potatoes with chorizo, and I had mushroom soup, bread, brie, hummus, chutney, pickled veg and bread

The Cheesery!

We also visited Peregrine Winery. Their design is all about birds and their building is meant to take on the shape of a bird’s wing. The wines were good with the exception of one. The server handed me a glass of Riesling and I swirled it taking a good sniff. I usually enjoy the smell of Reisling, but this stuff smelled like asphalt to me. The server said the wine had aromas of kerosene which is wonderful and even comes through a bit in the flavor. Who the hell wants their wine to smell and taste like kerosene? It was hideous and went straight into the spittoon.

Queenstown is famous for bungy jumping, so we stopped and watched people fling themselves off a perfectly good bridge into a beautiful river.

This girl paid $199 NZD to be dunked in the river, the whole experience lasted less than 45 seconds

In the late afternoon, we arrived at Villa Del Lago on Lake Wakatipu. We have a great suite that looks out on the lake and mountains. We sat on the covered patio watching the rain on the lake before heading into the city center for dinner.

View from the patio

Dinner at Public – grilled filet, duck fat roasted potatoes, spinach, carrot and blue cheese salad, and corned beef with mustard sauce

A few more of my observations about New Zealand:

  • They don’t have seat covers in their public restrooms.
  • They have very nice public restrooms and they can be found everywhere.
  • Sinks are often tiny and the faucets are really close to the back of the basin making it hard to get your hand under the water.
  • Light switches are pressed down for on and up for off.
  • Electrical sockets must be switched on.
  • Crosswalks are few and far between and pedestrians are open game for cars.
  • They have cafes everywhere and they typically make great espresso drinks and have a fantastic selection of baked goods.

Daily ratings:
Gibbston Valley Winery & Restaurant – 5 Kiwis
The Cheesery – 5 Kiwis (just because it exists)
Peregrine Winery – 3.5 Kiwis
Public Bar & Grill – 4 Kiwis

Steps taken = 4,638
Times considered bungy jumping = zero