Day 6: Queenstown

7 September, 2016

Hubby took the kids to do ziplining with Ziptrek Ecotours. The company offers a few tours and hubby opted for the MOA one which is about 2 hours long. Browse the tours offered here. Ziptrek Ecotours gets my thumbs-up because it’s a company with strong environmental ethics. Hubby shared with me later that the guides would educate the guests on environmental matters whenever they had the opportunity to do so.

Hubby and kids took the gondola up to the peak. They were looking forward to getting a magnificent view of the town below but unfortunately the clouds were low (so no nice pictures to show you here).

I was watching the news before leaving the hotel and found out that a polar blast was coming our way and we could expect snow later that evening and the day after. It had already started to rain outside and the wind was blowing strongly and I wondered if the tour that hubby had booked for would be cancelled. It wasn’t. They were still able to zipline despite the trees swaying. I asked the kids later if it was scary. They said it wasn’t because each line was short (watch Sarah’s vlog on Queenstown). The only complaint they had was that it was freezing up there but luckily there’s a cafe at the upper station where they could grab a hot drink to warm themselves up.

Ziplining between the trees

The boys decided to do the Luge after ziplining while Sarah took the gondola down to the town centre to meet me.

I had planned to take a stroll around the town centre but since it was raining, I took refuge at a cafe along the marine parade. The cafe was called Patagonia’s Ice Creamery & Chocolaterie. I ordered a hot chocolate and a slice of brownie (at $1 off, because I ordered a drink) and headed to the upstairs lounge. It is a lovely area with a huge window and you’ll get an unobstructed view of the lake. I am very fussy when it comes to hot chocolate but the one I had was perfect. I made a mental note to compliment the staff later. The delicious drink coupled with a spectacular view of the lake brought a much needed warmth to my overall well-being.

Sarah met me outside Patagonia cafe before we headed down to Vudu Cafe. We both have been following this vegan Japanese dude on youtube (Peaceful Cuisines) and just a week before we arrived, he was here too and Sarah saw what he had at this cafe.  The cafe was almost full though it was already after 2 pm. We had initially planned to have lunch here but the hot chocolate I had earlier kept me full and Sarah didn’t feel like having lunch either. Besides, we had a heavy buffet breakfast at Hilton (which was complimentary, btw). The buffet spread at Hilton was a standard one but they provided something that I had not seen at any other hotels – a fruit juicer for the customers to use. I was grateful for this as I didn’t like packed fruit juices and I liked being able to concoct my own fresh fruit juice.

Sarah had this vegan snickers bar which I thought was just okay.

We walked around the town in the cold rain and came across Rehab. Rehab offers healthy salads, breakfast bowls (think acai), raw desserts and the likes of it. Sarah got a vegan cheesecake to take away. If you wonder what goes into a vegan cheesecake since it’s non-dairy, it is raw ground cashew nuts. I’ve tried making it once and it turned out surprisingly delicious though it tasted nothing like the usual tangy cheesecake.

As we carried on walking, I spotted a few cherry blossom trees from across the Four Square supermarket. Never mind that it was raining; I just had to get close to them. I wondered if I would ever tire of it.

We popped into the supermarket to seek shelter from the rain which had got heavier. I got a few bars of Whittakers’ artisinal chocolate range to bring home to share with my sisters and their families. They have interesting flavours like ‘Plum and Roasted Almonds’, ‘Oolong Tea’, ‘Pear and Manukah’ , ‘Apple and Vanilla White Chocolate’ and some others. They make good souvenirs, in my opinion, because they are not only unique (in taste) but come in attractive packaging. You can get them at most supermarkets in NZ.

In the evening, as forecasted, it snowed. It wasn’t the first time we had seen snow but still it got us all excited. We braved the cold and stepped out onto the balcony to enjoy a phenomena we don’t get back home.