You can read Part 2 here.
The next day, we arose early at 6:00 am to get to Queenstown by 8 for a 4×4 off-roading Lord of the Rings Adventure.
Our driver’s name was Jenny, and she was such an informative guide. Not only did she show us the different filming locations for LOTR, but also added little film facts, as well as regional history. She told us that Chinese and Saudi Arabian tourists make up the majority of people visiting in the Summer, so we were a bit of a novelty. She gets to meet some fascinating people, and just adores her job. Although Frankton is an hour away from us, the entire Glenorchy, Queenstown, Frankton area has this small town feel where everyone knows everyone else. There is a sense of accountability, which is refreshing to me. If a celebrity wants to make a good impression with the Kiwis, they need to really show the people they care about them and the land. They will be respected and revered for what they do, not who they are. I really love that.
The car went over rough winding mountain roads that were a little too much for my taste, and by that I mean half the time I spent clutching the seat with my eyes shut tight. Although she was an excellent driver and completely competent, I don’t think I would choose to endure the bumps and jumps that those vehicles are famous for, voluntarily, again. However, the girls both thought it was fantastic and enjoyed the entire thing. We splashed through rivers, and drove over rocks, all the while learning about this beautiful country and it’s past. At one of the stops on the river, we got to pan for gold (didn’t find any), as we found out New Zealand’s mountains were teaming with it, and is what attracted many settlers here, originally.
Scotch Broom is invasive here too.
There are different rock formations that people have decided look like other things. This one is “Upside Down Elephant” or “Castle”.
I am not usually the adventerous type, and my stomach may still be up on a ledge somewhere, but I think this trip was definitely worth it.