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The sky’s the limit March 5, 2012

Posted by paulstella in Uncategorized.
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The view from high above Queenstown, New Zealand

I find there are few adventures more exhilarating than those discovered at lofty heights. Reward comes with the opportunity to look down at the world and visually consume a perspective that stretches to the limits of what the horizon will provide. It’s one of the reasons I still enjoy air travel.

Auckland's Sky Tower

Arriving in Auckland, my gaze immediately falls upon Sky Tower. As the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s impossible for anyone to ignore. Presented with one of the gloomier days since my arrival in New Zealand, I take advantage of the chance to check out the view from above.

The experience last week is similar to the one I recall from previous visits to the CN Tower in Toronto. The impulse, of course, is to assume the highest vantage point available. And as I arrive at the observation deck, I begin the slow loop around, first identifying familiar landmarks and then beginning the search for additional treasures awaiting my notice down below. I think it’s safe to say I’ve managed to view Auckland from about every possible angle.

Taken from Sky Tower, Rangitoto Island in the distance

And now, as I enter my second week in New Zealand, I begin my discovery of this nation’s awe-inspiring South Island. My journey brings me to Queenstown—also known as New Zealand’s adventure capital. To my delight, a hillside gondola ride is within a short walk from my hotel. Any guess on where I headed first?

The gondola deposits me high above Queenstown, which is anchored along the sparkling blue waters of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by freshly snow-capped mountains in the distance. Just when I think this country can’t get any more beautiful, I’m treated to one of the most amazing spectacles I’ve ever seen. The panorama is absolutely breathtaking! Photos fail to do it justice.

Lost in my outward gaze, it’s nearly impossible to pull myself away. But eventually I come to the realization there’s no choice. I return to the gondola for the downward journey; anxious now to see what adventures will greet me below.

The contrast between the palm tree and the snow-capped mountains is striking

Here's a look at Queenstown from street level

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