Queenstown is the Extreme Sports capital of New Zealand, probably of the world. Name an extreme sport and chances are if it’s not readily available, they can arrange it for you. So what do two, non-sports (much less extreme sports) oriented older people do in Queenstown? We’ve taken the bus into “The Remarkables” shopping area, wandered the town’s back streets and lakeside neighborhoods. We’ve walked along the lake and stopped for tea and scones at a wonderful little coffee shop or two. Been revitalized at the Hilton’s wonderful spa. For our final day of wanderings, we set back across Lake Wakatipu to the Queenstown docks and the Queenstown Gardens.
We’ve wandered many residential and business neighborhoods in various cities and towns across South Island and be assured, Kiwis take their gardens seriously. A part of their British heritage, New Zealanders garden with a passion around their homes, their cities and, of course, in their botanical parks. Every town we’ve visited has boasted at least one fabulous public green space, marvelous parks, botanical gardens, beaches, play grounds all abound.
As we begin our walking tour of the Queenstown Garden botanical park, we are immediately welcomed by the scents of green earth and water. Gently cascading waters make their music throughout the gardens. Varied and fascinating sculptures from modern to traditional highlight the paths. a
Although it is too early in the season for the rose garden to be in bloom, there are plenty of vines, shrubs, and flowers to charm the eye and soothe the spirit. b From alcoves of vining wisteria and rhododendron every color of the rainbow, to the heady scent of lilac blooms, color pervades the landscape.
Like the bright courtiers of Spring, the tulips rise in stately elegance above the sculpted patterns of spring flower beds. While the playful frilled white tulips add just a note of mischievousness to the mix. c
The majestic California Sycamore reigns above it all. d It’s mammoth trunk a humbling reminder of the power of nature. It somehow looks out of place amongst the smaller trees, flowering shrubs and gardens. The sycamores tower above it all like the great California giants they are, barely sparing a glance to us lesser creatures below as they reach for the sky.
We sit in the shade of the english oaks, planted some 150 years ago when the park was founded. Watching the ducks glide lazily up the canal, the iconic stone arched bridge a stunning reminder of the loving care and effort that has gone into creating and maintaining this wonderful park. We sit for a time and ponder the beauty of it all. Soon we will take the water taxi back across Lake Wakatipu to pack up and prepare for the next leg of our adventure.
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Til next time ~Peace ~JPP
aPhotos Queenstown Garden 2 and 3
bPhotos Queenstown Garden 4, 5 and 6
cPhotos Queenstown Garden 7 and 8
dPhotos Queenstown Garden 9