The plan for the day was simple–gondola, Sat AM craft fair, and maybe the T.S.S. Earnslaw/Farm Tour with Real Journeys. Also, Marc wanted to go paragliding. Other than that, I wasn’t interested in any “extreme” or “adventure” type activities… They seemed overpriced and a waste of money, and besides, I am afraid of heights. Our alarm went off at 8:30 and I rushed to the sliding glass doors to see what the weather was doing. It was beautiful! One long white cloud in the sky and a few small scattered clouds, but that was it. I was so glad the rain was gone!
We decided to eat breakfast at the gondola, thinking it would have great views. We got up there at 10:00 ($50 for the ride up) and I had smoked salmon quiche ($7) and a cappu ($4) and Marc had a cinnamon roll ($4) and a Chai ($4). I asked for the quiche to be heated up and even though there was no one ahead of us, it took 15 min to get the warmed quiche and our coffees. As we ate, I noticed some clouds streaming across the viewing area from the cafe (which didn’t really have much of a view from inside). I went out on the deck and was horrified to discover that it had clouded over! I legged it to the proper viewing area, but it was too late. The views were gone. I couldn’t believe it, it had been so clear and sunny just a mere 30 minutes earlier! I didn’t get a single picture of the views 🙁
We waited around for a good 45 minutes, hoping the clouds would go away but they of course did not. I was very disappointed about not getting to see the panoramic views of QT. We went back down on the gondola–Marc didn’t want to paraglide through clouds. Next we checked out the Bird Sanctuary, which we hadn’t known about but which sounded interesting. It was 11:05, and a conservation talk had just started at 11:00, and the next Kiwi feeding wasn’t until 2:30, so we decided to skip it. Next we went to the craft fair on the waterfront. There were lots of pretty things for sale. Marc brought my attention to some silver rings with a modern design… We had bought our wedding bands at a craft fair in Seattle, and he had lost his a few years earlier during a freak hail storm at a music festival. We decided to buy new bands ($75 each).
By then it was only 11:30 and we were wondering if Fergburger might have a short line… It did! We both ordered the regular burger, which comes with a tomato jam, lettuce, tomato and red onion. We also ordered onion rings and a Coke. Lunch was under $30. All the tables were full, so we took our burgers to a park across the street and ate there. It was a very good burger, but not as good as the one we’d had at the Niagra Falls cafe.
Next we booked our T.S.S. Earnslaw tour with RealJourneys, who have a booth on the waterfront. We had some time to kill before it left, so we sat near the harbor. While we were there, a boat came tearing into the harbour and did a 360 degree spin. Everyone was screaming and looked like they were having a fun time. We decided to inquire about how much at ride would be. The company was called ThunderJet. Normally, it’s supposedly $100 per person, but we were told we could go on the next trip for $80 pp. I was on the fence about it, but we decided to go anyway. I regretted it. The spins at the beginning were exciting, but then it was just a fast ride down the river with the boat driver occasionally stopping to give us some history on QT. It wasn’t really worth the money.
However, the trip to Walter Peak farm was worth the money. We took the T.S.S. Earnslaw, a steam-powered ship that runs on coal, to the farm. The boat ride was pleasant, they had a bar and a piano player.
Then we got to the farm. There was a sheep herding demonstration and then a sheep shearing. We also had two opportunities to feed sheep!! We also had “high tea” lakeside. It was a lot of fun and I loved petting and feeding the sheep. There were a lot of Japanese tourists who talked during the entire time the tour leader was talking and at times it was hard to hear him.
Here’s a video of me feeding the sheep. One of the highlights of this trip for me!
And here’s a video of the sheep herding demonstration:
After the tour, we walked around the lakefront and did a loop that had some really beautiful scenery. Some guys were playing frisbee golf. The day was overcast and I was a bit disappointed that the weather hadn’t been better, but at least we’d had one day of sun when we’d passed through earlier in the week.
We ended up downtown after our walk. The thing I liked about QT is that it is fairly compact and very pedestrian friendly. There were some street performers performing, a juggler and a tightrope walker. They had a large crowd and we watched the end of their show.
Here’s a video of the tightrope act:
For dinner we decided on a Thai place recommended in the guidebook called @Thai. We ordered Phad Thai and a curry and everything was very good. It was very dark in the restaurant and hard to get good pictures! We went back to the hotel and packed for our flight home the next day. I had thought by the end of this trip that I would be ready to go home after being gone for so long, but I would have been happy if we had more time to explore NZ. Turns out my wish would be granted……………..