New Zealand Travel Log Day 2: Rainy Day
(Click on any picture to open
it up in a larger second window)
up on day 2 (or 3?) to another cold, rainy day here on the lake, and SNOW in
mountains starting about 2000 feet up the hills!
The TV announced
that this is the last day of Spring, and tomorrow officially starts summer
in NZ. It is unseasonably cold up here in the mountains, with the
temperature now only 3 Celsius and the high today to be only 9 Centigrade.
(And we brought clothes more suitable for Tahiti!)
In reply to Glen's questions about newspapers: there are several here in
NZ. Here I am reading the Southland Times, presumably a South Island paper
(remember that the entire south island has only 1 million people), and also
the Otago Daily Times newspaper. Then there are the national papers (NZ
Herald and The Press), so that makes at least four full-size dailies to
choose from, plus a myriad of tiny local papers, some weekly.
We took this hotel with breakfast included, so we were in the restaurant
this morning when it opened at 6 AM for a very large, multi-course
breakfast. We shared the dining room with a Japanese tour group, so much to
our surprise there were 50 others having breakfast at the same early hour.
Because of the rain/cold, we spent the day on a boat trip across the Lake
Wakatipu to a remote "country farm" where they raise sheep, the
Walter Peak High Country Farm.
The boat, named TSS Earnslaw, was built in 1912. It is
a coal-fired steam engine with two propellers, called a "twin screw
steamer." It was an historical experience to watch the engineers shovel coal
into the furnaces, and watch the steam engines drive the huge pistons that
turned the 2 crankshafts which in turn drove the propellers. Very complex
original mechanical system, but it worked. The ship cruised at 13 knots
across the lake (that's fast). And it belched a lot of black coal-soot
Upon arrival at the sheep "station," we had demonstrations of what
essentially was a huge sheep farming operation. What a fun experience. We
saw the sheep dogs herding the sheep in for us. The dogs are well-trained.
We watched a demonstration of the sheep being sheared; we saw wool being
spun into yarn; we had tea in the farmhouse; we had a tour of the farm with
native NZ animals they raise for food (such as NZ red deer).
Incidentally, there are 1.75 million red deer in NZ, so it is a big
business. Not as big a business as sheep, however... (New Zealand has 40
Tomorrow will be a long day for us. Due to the weather, we have cancelled
our airplane travel to Milford Sound, and instead booked an all-day bus trip
there and back. The weather has been so bad that they haven't flown to
Milford Sound in more than a week, and it doesn't look like it will be clear
enough tomorrow. It is a very short flight, but a 5 hour drive each way from
here. Even though we have a rental car, I didn't want to drive (especially
on the left side along curvy mountainous roads) for 10 hours, so we are
going by bus. Leave the car here at the hotel.
This is Nancy driving in New Zealand. I think it's the first time she
ever drove a car with "right-hand steering" and driving on the left side of
the road. It's an accomplishment. Very exciting driving on the left, because
it takes your full concentration at all times.
In today's local
newspaper (the Otago Daily Times) was an article about the New York Post
announcing the five best wineries in the world to visit. One is in
California, two in Spain, one in Chile, and one here in Queenstown. So,
naturally we had to quickly drive to Peregrine Winery, about 20 minutes east
Yes, that structure is the entry to Peregrine's cellars. This winery
building is only 4 years old, designed by a well-known nouveau architect
from Wellington. The wines they make here are good, but not particularly
special. Nonetheless, we had a great time visiting the winery building that
is one of the "five best in the world" as published in the New York Post!
So with our 13-hour excursion planned for tomorrow, I won't have time to
put together a travel letter tomorrow, but maybe over the weekend...