Thursday, January 01, 2009

Deer Park Heights

20090101 Deer Park Heights

Shared a breakfast table with a family from Acton, not far from my West London stamping grounds. Rejoined Team America downtown and found that Bryan and Pug had booked in for a bungy jump, June and Glenn had disappeared into wine-country, and I was left with the mad combination of Charles, Matthew and Marni for lunch and an otherwise empty afternoon.

The manager of a local camera store suggested nearby Deer Park Heights was worth a visit, and so with last night's rain out of the way we didn't delay.   You could think of it as Queenstown's version of Taronga Park Zoo with fine views back down over the town and lake.

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Paying $20 for our car to proceed up the steeply winding road to the twin summit, we stopped a number of times to check out the donkeys, llamas, alpacas, fallow deer, pigs and thar, while on the way back down a diversion took us through the bison, highland cattle and elk. We picked up a tin of feed pellets, and quickly learnt that the slightest noise of shifting pellets in the car would bring alpacas, ponies , donkeys or elk over to the window for a hand out.

For some reason large hairy creatures like looming over me in the hope of treats and a scratch….


I christened this fellow Chopper, as in Deer-Park Chopper.


Towards the end of our circuit I realised that I was allergic to some of the animals or vegetation. Charles suggested that I get some medication from "pillbilly" June, but I was already kitted out with potions of my own.  Over the coming days it did seem that I was allergic to the local vegetation - grasses I guess - as my eyes began to feel the effects by early evening and I usually had to have an early night.

Apparently Deer Park Heights was the setting for a number of scenes in The Lord of the Rings and also for the upcoming Wolverine.

Bryan, Charles, Michael

We met up with the other two parties for dinner, while I tried to find a term for the bungy jumpers. Bryan liked bungistadors while I favoured the fallen.

A few of us took an after dinner walk around Queenstown Park, a small peninsula into the lake, whose perimeter path reminded me a little of Seward Park in Seattle.

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