About Madison S
Lives in London, United Kingdom
Since Sep 2014
Hello! I'm Maddie- a native NYer whose Wanderlust has taken her abroad again and again. Having lived in six countries, and visiting others for school, work, leisure, and sport, I've adopted many localities, and am an admirer of a great many more. An avid scholar of language and culture, I hope to keep expanding my travel repertoire, and sharing great stories with the rest of the travel community. To give you some background on my travels, I spent months each year since childhood in Old Montreal, where part of my family lives. Summers were spent visiting folks in Ft. Lauderdale and L.A. My first big trip outside of the US on my own was to Australia & New Zealand at 12- I caught the bug early! I then moved to Japan where I studied for part of high school & uni. I am very familiar with Japanese cities, Sapporo and Osaka especially. Some of my favourite travel destinations include Goreme, Dubai, Marrakech, and Queenstown. (Plans for 2015 include China & Uganda!) Nice to meet you!
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Wine Tours & Tastings , Wine Bars
4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours, Film & TV Tours, Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Photography Tours
Historic Sites, Hiking Trails
Step back in time at the Lakes District Museum and Art Gallery, where the history of the area is brought to life. Located in Arrowhead, the museum boasts a small but solid collection of costumes and memorabilia, photographs and artifacts detailing early settler life, including old printing presses and stage coaches. With a wonderful World War One collection containing contributions from local families, including mementos and personal items, the museum tells the touching tale of New Zealand's contributions and losses in the war effort. It also touches upon the local mining industry and the plight of Chinese mining immigrants, with stories and videos. As a memento of your visit, stop off at the Old Fashioned Photo Studio to dress up in 19th century costumes and have a photo taken, or try your luck at mining for gold.
View the local artists on display and get hands-on down at the Queenstown Arts Centre. Exhibiting local New Zealand artists, the volunteer-run center contains live studios as well as a gallery of art, textiles, and crafts for sale, making it a charming spot to stop and visit, as you are able to actually interact with some of the artists and watch them create. Additionally, Queenstown Arts Centre puts on a number of painting and handicraft workshops for children and adults alike, so you can jump in and participate in making something memorable.
At the Kiwi Birdlife Park, over five acres are dedicated to local flora and fauna. The stars of the show, the Kiwi birds, live in a nocturnal enclosure in the park so that visitors can see them at their most lively and active. In addition to the Kiwi, the park has a number of other aviary animals and offers a live Kiwi feeding and conservation show. With an audio tour that expertly guides you through the park's plant and animal life, and with a portion of proceeds going to conservation (the park releases its Kiwis to the wild after bringing them up), this is not to be missed for nature lovers.
Though not strictly a museum, The Winery is not your typical wine stop, functioning as an exhibition of the area's finest drinks. Queenstown and the South Island regions are known for their wonderful local wineries and area blends, and while you may not be able to visit every vineyard, here you can take your palette on an exploratory adventure, where over 80 varieties are on tap. Arranged from dry to sweet, and with a self-service system of inexpensive one-ounce glasses that allow you to sample and experience as you please, you can learn while you drink at The Winery.
The Walter Peak High Country Farm combines an informative farmhouse experience with a petting zoo, making it fascinating for visitors of all ages. You reach the farm via a ride on an old 1912 steamer ship, the TSS Earnslaw, where you can explore the workings of a classical engine and sift through traditional folk singalong songs by the onboard piano. After arriving at Walter Peak, there's an immediate opportunity to feed, touch, and interact with sheep, cattle, and deer; but the highlight of a trip here is learning all about the local sheep trade — from how to shear in a live demonstration, to training sheep dogs to herd flocks. Informative, different, and hands-on.
The Ivan Clarke Gallery exhibits paintings and sculptures by the prominent artist for which it is named. With vibrant landscapes tracing out the forests and mountains of New Zealand, his dramatic and rustic pieces sit alongside his more whimsical and adorable works — mainly featuring dogs at play. Known worldwide for his depictions of animals dealing at poker tables and jamming on the guitar in the 'Lonely Dogs' series of work, there is an undeniable charm and fun to his pieces that make this tiny gallery more than worth a stop.
Like a living museum, rather than looking at artifacts under glass, go and see the real life locations that were used in the filming of Lord of the Rings on a Pure Glenorchy Scenic Tour. Including what became the lands of Orthanc, Lothlorian, the Dead Marshes and more in the major motion pictures, Glenorchy guides use photos and detailed explanations to put you in the frames of the film and bring the landscape to life before your eyes. The stories included on the journey make it informative and enlightening, and even the hardcore Lord of the Rings fan is sure to learn something new. An interactive journey!
Though rather small, the Underwater World Aquarium is always a big hit with the kids, who enjoy feeding the ducks, fish, and eels at this venue. The four large viewing windows allow for relaxed observation of the many fish, and give a bird's eye view of the ducks as they make impressive deep dives for food.
At the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement, learn about the strenuous history of Chinese gold miners in nearby Arrowtown. Visit the small hut homes that miners lived in, each containing information on the individuals who once resided there, and the close-knit, supportive community these families created. On the whole, the huts tell the history of these brave settlers, why they came to New Zealand, what life was like for them, the many difficulties they faced, and the effects that opium had on the small community. A significant piece of the Queenstown area's history.