Friday, March 2, 2012

Gondola Lift in Queenstown, NZ

Gondola lift in Queenstown, New Zealand
 
Recently, I had an opportunity to visit South Island in New Zealand. Since I didn't have chance to take the trains there, I will introduce a gondola lift which I took in Queenstown.
 
Queenstown is located in Otago District, the southwestern part of the South Island. The history of the town started in the 1860s, when gold was discovered in the Arrow River, a short distance from the town. Once the population of the town reached several thousands, however, the luck didn't hold long. The gold depleted and the population quickly decreased to several hundreds.
 
Currently, Queenstown has revived as a resort town. 1.3 million tourists visit there every year. The population is about 10,000. The urban area is very small, but it is bustling with throngs of tourists.
 
A highlight in Queenstown is the scenic view from Bob's Peak. To climb up this summit, the gondola lift is convenient (see the top photo). A gondola rises 450 vertical meters above the town at an average incline of 37.1 degrees to the peak. The total operation length is 730m. It's only a 5 minute ride. So, I could get a gorgeous view of the lovely town, Lake Wakatipu, a long Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes and the Southern Alpine mountains (see the bottom photo).
 
For your information, one of the features of this aerial tramway is that it is able to carry bikes. A 4 seat gondola is equipped with a special basket for bikes. There are many mountain bike tracks on the hill for all levels of riders.
 
View of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu from Bob's Peak