gold panning Queenstown
19.03.2008 - 19.03.2008 26 °C
Last day in Queenstown before our trek to Christchurch tomorrow and we thought we ought to see a bit of history about the place so we went to a Goldmine just outside Arrowtown. When asked if we wanted the guided talk we thought we were about to get even more cash to turn invisible by the Queentown magicians but it turned out it was only $5 each so for once we got some value for money.
Bret our guide was 3rd generation gold miner and he had some great stories. He was really interesting and made the place, which to be honest was looking a bit tired. We got a go on the jet thing that washed away the whole bank, very environmental friendly, and he cranked up the rock press which was simple in design but fascinating to watch working. Then came the gold panning which was briefly interrupted by a Chinese bus party who had not realised we were on a tour and pushed the guide out of the way to do some panning of their own, which was quite amusing. Once he told them all to be quiet he showed us the technique then Julian was off panning like his life depended on it in the “vein”, little joke there, attempt to fine a little spec to take back home. He had to make do with some fools gold he found under the hire car tyres.
On the way back we stopped off at the Kawarau Bridge, home of the original bungy. Historians will look back to this place in a hundred years and say “this is the home of the second gold rush in Queenstown, where for a 100 years prospectors have mined for the rich pickings of 24 carat tourist dollars “. You can not see from the road but you walk into this space age building with its obligatory gift shop and café and history of bungy tour. They even squeeze cash out of the normal people who are scared of falling to their death, by strapping them into bungy simulator to have their photo taken. Still it was good to see the posh backpackers launching themselves off, I only wish I had put on my Nevis Bungy t-shirt as this is just the baby jump for the weak of heart.
On the way back to the Hotel we stopped off at Arrowtown, another gold rush town which in fact looks like what you would expect, with its wild west style buildings. We went to the museum which was done really well. Lots of facts and figures but mixed with life size models and real houses, a school, a bar etc mock ups. The best bit was the toilet with an old bloke on the dunny and a recording when you opened the door to say close the door I am busy.
So that is it for Queenstown as we drive to Christchurch tomorrow for our last leg of the holiday. The place has been nice and is certainly worth a few days but in hindsight we probably stayed too long and maybe should have done a 3 day trek or something at Glen Orchy as well. Still the things we did here were great and the Bungy and Skydive were experiences that I will never forget.
Comedy moment of the day: What a blinder today, I am still laughing about it. Young lady out on the bungy bridge with all her mates on the side watching. She shows no fear is obviously loving the attention all the crowd are giving her. Off she goes right into the water and out she pops, quite literally, as her bra and t-shirt end up around her neck, much to the joy of all the blokes on the bank. Julian had to give me a bit of a jab in the side because I was a tiny bit more enthusiastically vocal in my appreciation then everyone else, much to the disgust of a wife’ who was trying to gather her children up so they would not see the spectacle.