Day 383 of Traveling the World, Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. February 19, 2019.

Queenstown! How did we not know that the drive to visit you, and you yourself, would be so breathtaking, so lovely, so beautiful?!? We are smitten.

Queenstown is built around Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, and can you believe….it has views of so many surrounding mountains and peaks: the Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Ben Lomond, and Queenstown Peak. The downtown was busy today, even though it was cloudy, and parking was difficult to find. There are water taxis to take visitors across the lake, however…then, there are no parking problems. In winter, it is a skiing hotspot, so Queenstown really has it all. Officially, the city is named after Queen Victoria, and it started being called Queenstown, instead of its previous miners’ name, The Camp, in 1863. But it is also said that a miner commented, “it is fit for a Queen,” and so the name came about.

The first six photos are from around the downtown this morning, which is quite extensive and fun to wander around in. It feels like an Alpine village, as it has lots of ski and sports shops. We did a little shopping, a little people watching, and a little photography. The middle photo of the children and gull was our gorgeous view from breakfast on the lake at the Hilton. It was dreamy, and we wanted to just sit there forever over coffee. We are staying in Queensland at the Hilton complex across the lake from downtown. We are here for five nights for free on points, and are very happy that it is free….the price per night here is from $420 to $650! And of course, if you are not a member and have to pay for breakfast, it is an additional $40 per person. But all of that is free for us. We even get free bottled water and had a welcome gift in our room of fine chocolates.

The remaining photos are along the six-hour drive to get here from Christchurch. It was one of the most memorable drives we have ever taken. As you drive through the Southern Alps, there are mountain vistas that made us think of our drives through Switzerland and Austria. We passed by two lakes, Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, that were stunning. We passed by thousands of heads of sheep and cattle. We passed fields and flowers and moving clouds while the road ran up, down, and around the mountains. It was hard to look away, as every part of it was glorious. It truly was a drive where the journey was the thing, not merely getting to the next place.