Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
One cannot tire of the beauty in New Zealand. Especially down in the South Island, which I miss very much.
I spent last weekend down in Invercargill (one of the southernmost cities in the world, for non-NZ readers) for my friend Brooke’s wedding.
It worked out to travel to Invercargill via Queenstown (see photos above). Which, incidentally, was wrapped in a glaze of delicious sunshine when I got there. A beautiful day to go tandem hang-gliding! This is my very cool pilot and me:
I swallowed buckets of nervousness on the way up to the point at which we leaped into the air, and my shoes, similarly, dived to their death in nervousness and landed somewhere down below. Once I was barefoot on this large human kite and staring at the marvelous spread of beauty before me, though, there wasn’t anything to fear. Also met a paraglider who sang an ode of love to flying afterwards, and now I begin to understand why these mad people love being up in the air out of an airplane :-)
Shoes. It is hard to pretend to be a lady without them. I was pleased to find inexpensive replacements in a women’s shop shortly before they closed for the day:
Down on the ground – the obvious place to hang out in town is Lake Wakatipu… not only because the water there is mesmerising, but also because there is Patagonia Chocolates, where you can get a MARVELLOUS hot chocolate with fresh grated ginger (or lavender, or chilli) in it. I didn’t even look properly at the luscious cabinet in case I collapsed in a chocolatey stupor and missed my hang glide.
Another plus point: Patagonia has these great tables outside with tame birds, beautiful views and lovely buskers nearby…
Went to Vudu the first weekday morning after daylight savings, and I can tell you… no one here had Monday blues. A comfortable place to be, well-lit and thoughtfully decked out – though it’s all done in such a casual way that it’s attractive without being at all pretentious. The overall feeling I got was that of being in a friendly place (think woody, birds, lights, espresso, good food, energy, freedom) which bids you a very, very good day without needing to say it with words.
The food looked so yummy, too. I had no tummy space for it that day, sadly, but I will have to come back one day.
If you’ve ever read any touristy material about Queenstown you’ll probably have seen something about The Remarkable Sweet Shop. And you wouldn’t be disappointed by a visit to them, even if you don’t actually like sweets (I don’t as much). This place draws out the child in all of us. I kid you not, I saw a grown woman literally skipping around inside – and it wasn’t even me this time.
My teeth considered falling out as I stared at the spread before me, but I managed to walk out with my teeth intact and a few fudgey gifts. Wonderful staff here, who were full of smiles and friendly service.
I’ve heard a lot about Fergburger, but since I didn’t get time to pop in, I did the next best thing and went to Fergbaker for a mini garlic and parmesan focaccia bread. Next time I’ll try the burgers.
The wedding was beautiful in every way. The skies behaved exceedingly well (no trivial matter in Southland), the bride and groom were most radiantly happy, and the guests were fun to hang out with. The food was also very delicious!
Favourite of the night: the scrumptious dessert akin to tarte tatin!
A lot of beauty in one weekend
Patagonia Chocolates – Lakefront of 50 Beach street, Queenstown – Phone: 03 442 9066
The Remarkable Sweet Shop – 39 Beach Street, Queenstown – Phone: 03 409 8656
Vudu Cafe – 23 Beach Street, Queenstown – Phone: 03 442 5357