Auckland to Queenstown
We left the hotel early and boarded a plane to Queenstown on the South Island.
Our first stop was Arrow Town, built during the 1860 Gold Rush. It is a quaint town, similar to our old western town. There is a China Town as part of Arrow Town. The original gold discovery was by a Maori who took his initial find and left as everyone rushed to the area.
Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. The man who patented Bungee Jumping introduced it to the world in Queenstown. The Remarkable Mountains are great for skiing and para sailing. We took a Gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for dinner. The view was great and watching the parasailing was phenomenal.
Sunday we traveled to Milford Sound, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The morning was rainy, the clouds were low, a prefect day for a boat ride. There were several nature walks along the route to the boat. This area is a temperate rain forest. The ferns, Moss, lichens along the path are dense. The area is so dense that they occasionally find species that they thought were extinct but have just retreated within the area of the sound.
The boat ride was similar to the Three Gorges in China, mountains on either side of the deep flowing water. Because of the rain the waterfalls were abundant. When the boat turned to make the return trip, the sun appeared, giving us a different view on the trip back.
Monday, Maggie and I traveled to Skippers Canyon for an adventuresome ride of hairpin curves through another gold mining site, far above Shotover river. The roads were carved along the canyon to allow access to gold. There were two schoolhouses, a telegraph office and a booming gold business. The river through the canyon now is used by jet boats and a rafting business.
Tonight we will travel to Walter’s peak by steam boat for dinner at the farm.
The economy appears to be a liberal’s delight, health insurance, social security, pensions, college investment funds, first time homeowners investment fund with government match and accident recovery insurance. There isn’t as much poverty as we see in the States investment in the children is always first.
Several years ago there was a large influx of Asian money in the real estate market. Large chunks of real estate we bought up and banked by outside investors. This caused housing shortages and a rapid increase in prices. The current government now is tightening control over outside investments.
Immigration is tight, no chain migration, we have met several people who have migrated from the states and are now citizens of New Zealand. You must prove yourself to be an economic asset to the state to stay.
The environment is interesting, there are few indigenous plants and animals, many invasive species which they are trying to control or eliminate. Deer were among the invasive species. After a great struggle they have now contained much of the herd and raise them on farms. Venison is one of their large exports, others are timber, milk, beef and lamb