Queenstown, New Zealand
14.11.2009 - 14.11.2009 66 °F
It’s been some time since our last bicycle fix and we sought out a bike rental shop in Queenstown. We knew better than renting a tandem again and got two mountain bikes instead. There is a nice trail that follows along the lake from Queenstown to Frankton and we stopped several times to photograph the mountains, water, and flowers. The only real rough thing about the trail was the wind off the lake…our mountain bikes were being whipped around so we had to fight to keep them upright. All in all it was a great workout!
After riding we stopped at the Queenstown Gardens to check it out. This being Saturday there were lots of people at the Queenstown Lawn Bowling Club. It was fun to see the guys decked out in all white rolling the balls on the pristine lawn, but for some reason women could wear whatever they wished. Lawn bowling is a game we’ve seen throughout New Zealand, unlike rugby, this is a gentle person’s game. People were in teams taking turns rolling a small ball down the lawn towards a smaller white ball. The object is to get your ball closer to the white ball than you opponent’s ball. It looks rather relaxing and not nearly as complicated as croquet or cricket.
This is the amazing view of Queenstown from our hotel window…
After a quick stop to freshen up at the hotel we headed out some 25 minutes away to Arrowtown. It is a charming place that's known as the best preserved gold-mining town in the area. The main street of the town is full of little shops with original buildings from the 1860s. As we arrived, we headed for the area known as the Chinese Settlement. When the area was being mined for gold, Chinese miners filled a gap when European miners pulled up stakes and left for a west coast gold rush. The Chinese miners were segregated on the outskirts of town. They lived in small one-room stone shacks where you could barely stand in. Despite contributing 40% of the workforce, they were isolated, lonely, and discriminated against. In 2002 the New Zealand government issued an apology to Chinese descendants and declared the Chinese settlement an historical site investing funds to restore several homes and create a heritage trail to let people know about Chinese contributions in New Zealand’s history.
A cultural aside
This will come as good news to some, but NZ (and Australia) are stuck in a musical time warp somewhere between the late 80s and early 90s. Everywhere we go we hear Billy Idol and even the GoGos on the radio or in stores. I thought I had heard my last Phil Collins ballad ages ago but I’m suffering through them once again.