Queenstown, Glenorchy and Skippers Canyon

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Days 5, 6 and 7 – Today we were heading to Queenstown – New Zealand’s adventure capital!  The drive from Mount Cook to the heart of Queenstown was 265kms or about 3.5 hrs.

Our first stop today was at Lake Pukaki, just before entering the town of Twizel.DSC_0648

We also made a quick stop at Lindis Pass to admire its unique landscape and tussock-covered hills.DSC_0655 (2)

 Though not in our itinerary, we also made a stop in the town of Cromwell for coffee, brownie and fresh juice. And while the boys were chasing bunnies, Mummy and Daddy were enjoying the cool breeze and relaxing views of Lake Dunstan. It’s the unplanned stops like this that made free & easy holidays appealing to our family.IMG_6747 (2)

The weather was perfect when we arrived at Queenstown.  We joined the 2pm Walter Peak High Country Farm Tour by Real Journeys.   From Steamer Wharf, the 100-yr old TSS Earnslaw cruised 25 minutes on Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak StationDSC_0695

At Walter Peak, Farmer Peter showed us how to shear a sheep, and with his right-hand sheepdog, Ken, they demonstrated sheep herding too.   We also got to see reindeer, mountain cows and alpacas, and Benjamin got to cuddle a puppy too! DSC_0795

While waiting for Mummy and Daddy to finish Walter Peak’s famous cheese scones, the boys were enjoying (more like disturbing) the stillness of the lake in front of the farm.   DSC_0788 (2)

  We stayed 3 nights at Heritage Hotel in Fernhill area, a five-minute drive from Queenstown’s city centre.  Our balcony had a great view of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range especially at sunset…IMG_6953 (2)

And sunrise…DSC_0170 (2)

 And it came with a free rainbow…

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Joaquin waited for the rainbow to disappear.

On our 2nd day in Queenstown, we drove to Glenorchy, about an hour of winding but scenic drive.  Our time at Glenorchy was simply amazing.

 Our day started with a Reese River Horse Ride courtesy of High Country Horses.IMG_2250 (2)

With lupins around us, it felt like horse trekking in paradise.  Priceless…IMG_2257

 It was a proud moment for Mummy and Daddy seeing Joaquin on his own horse, Quest, crossing the not-so-shallow river, and enjoying every minute of his adventure.  Joaquin said his favourite guide was Wendy and horse trekking was the highlight of his holiday.IMG_2247

 Benjamin took our breath away. He did not hesitate a bit and he rode his horse like a pro.IMG_2237

 For one and a half hours, we trekked, indulged in the stunning views and crossed the Reese River, twice, which Legolas probably also did, once.IMG_2273 (3)

After lunch at Glenorchy Lodge Kitchen and desert at Glenorchy Café, we joined 9 other people for our Wilderness Tour by Dart River Safari.   The tour first took us, by minibus, to some of the scenes and backdrop of “The Lord of the Rings”.   After that we walked in a beech forest… DSC_0980 (2)

…and then jet-boated for 1.5hrs along Dart River.  There were moments of calm when the boat slowed down or stopped to allow us to see this kind of view…DSC_0098 (3)

 And then there were moments when the boat would speed up to 80kph and do a 360-degree turn.  Wahhhhhh!!!!Boat1Oh this was an experience one should do when in Glenorchy.

 Our 3rd day in Queenstown was most fun!  In the morning we took the Queenstown Gondola to reach the Skyluge. IMG_2348 (3)We enjoyed the luge so much that we did it 3x, and each time, we had to take this chairlift which had the most wonderful view of Queenstown.LUSQ8F9B19M268011.lusq5496cd660f8958.07933524 (2)

In the afternoon was the most amazing adventure – a private white-water rafting tour with Family Adventures!   We love Family Adventures, they were professional, accommodating of Joaquin’s peanut-allergy and they werere super fun.  Our adventure started with a drive at Skippers Canyon.  Private cars cannot be insured on this road so don’t drive here by yourself!  Really!

*pic from dangerous roads.com
*pic from dangerous roads.com

Imagine going through this for 45mins! Don’t get us wrong, the drive was great, the scenery was spectacular!

Our guides Simon and Jordan were the funniest and coolest, they made our family feel comfortable during the entire drive and even took this funny photo.  That’s us trying to figure out the rock structure behind! Haha! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter a few stops to check the views and our pulses, we finally arrived at the Shotover River.  We had the most wonderful one and a half hours at the river!  Simon, our captain, successfully turned our family into a cohesive team of rafters! It was full of laughing and paddling and screaming whenever we were about to hit the rapids.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That’s Simon doing a selfie! He was such a great and convincing guide that he managed to make us all want to do a rock jump!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first one to jump was Daddy! The water was probably 12 degrees Celsius! For people from Singapore, that was already freeeeeeezing!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Benjamin soon followed…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

… and without a moment of hesitation, our youngest rafter jumped right into the cold water!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another proud moment for Mummy and Daddy! Brrr…

Simon realized that our boys were so game and brave that he did another stop on the river! This time, the boys climbed on the rocks to reach this waterfall.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And this was us waving to a passing jet boat, before they…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…sprayed water all over our already wet faces!  Woohoo!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That was a perfect ending to a perfect adventure!  We will always remember Shotover River and we will come back again for the grade 3 rapids.

That was Part 3, friends!  Helicopter, cave, cruising and tramping are in store in Part 4 at Te Anau and Milford Sound…

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