I had chosen to cycle a shortcut not recommended by the cycle maps. Gorge road was steep going but quite scenic. It would be a good location for shooting car adverts I think.
My shortcut got me to Arrowtown in just over 90 minutes - more than two hours ahead of schedule. I stopped in the sunny little town, how I imagine North-East Us to look, just long enough to buy a scone from the bakery (as advised by a blog I have since forgotten) and sat in a park, eating it in the sunshine. It definitely wasn't the best scone I have eaten, but that familiar feeling of fabulous well-being was back. Life is good.
I decided to cycle back the scenic route as I had time to spare. I had originally planned to get a specialist taxi back, but had two hours to spare.
The scenic route was amazing, and I understood why the gorge road wasn't recommended on the tourist maps. The dirt track wound along the river Arrow, through wooded areas and around mountains, before climbing through a deer farm, with some fun descents and hairpins down to the shotover river
You can see from my stupid grin how much I was in my element doing this
You can just about see Queenstown in the background. It was a long route back, but absolutely worth the effort!
I took the old shotover bridge before I finally ran out of time and had to call the bike taxi. I took some photos of the stunning Shotover river (which I had also taken the opportunity to drink from further upstream) while I waited.
I returned the bike about forty minutes late, but in typical kiwi style, the hire guy didn't even check my details, so I had no fine thankfully!
This was fortunate, as the taxi had been very expensive for the short journey into town.
I met Blake at the hostel, and we took a gondola ride up to get this spectacular view of the Queenstown area.
Then we rode luges (like plastic toboggans on wheels) down the tracks, racing each other, which was super fun (I won twice, and Blake once, but both times I won were because he had stopped at the beginning for me to race him - he could easily have won all three). We got a chairlift up to the top after each race, and then took the gondola back down to the bottom after, which made Blake feel ill, so he went back to bed whilst I pottered around Queenstown, gift shopping and planning tomorrow's activities. Finally, I joined the queue for Fergburger
I queued fifteen minutes to order, and waited twenty-five for the burger to be ready, but amazingly it was worth it. Despite having had nothing since my morning scone, I struggled to finish my "holier than thou" tofu burger!
I took another photo of the sunset over Queenstown, and booked myself in to go rafting at 8 the next morning.