Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Our first day in Queenstown turned out to be St. Patrick's Day. We celebrated by having a nice dinner at a restaurant called Flame, known for their steaks. We enjoyed eating our wonderful meal and watching all the crazy people out on the lawn near the waterfront. And we also enjoyed the beautiful views. Queenstown is on a lake that is surrounded by mountains, and it is just gorgeous. Our next day in we went in search of Deer Park Heights. Before our trip we watched some of the special features on the extended versions of our Lord of the Rings movies, and Peter Jackson mentioned they did some filming in Queenstown at Deer Park Heights. We figured since we were there we would like to go and see it. However, it turned out to be quite a search (we found out it closed a few years ago because the owner was tired of having people tramp through his property). With our GPS and some divine help we were able to stumble upon it, and ended up hiking half way up the big hill. A couple of the scenes that were filmed there were the Warg battle with the Riders of Rohan and the perfectly clear lake the Rohirrim Refugee were led past in the Two Towers. We didn't make it all the way since we had to turn our rental car in at a certain time. After doing the car return we headed back to town for lunch at Dux de Lux, a restaurant that brews their own beer. Then it was off to the gondola to check out the views from the top of a hill. However, it started raining so the views weren't as great as they could have been. Then for dinner we went to a fabulous pizza place and had a pizza that had lamb and veggies on one side and chicken, brie cheese and cranberries on the other half. Oh yum! Then it was time to leave Queenstown and fly to the North Island. But we ended up having to wait an entire day at the airport since we were flying standby. Thankfully we made it out on the last flight of the day, and it was an amazing view once we were in the sky. The Southern Alps went on and on and on as far as we could see for at least the first 15 minuets of the flight.