I can’t believe how fast a week in Queenstown has gone! We showed up a little bit underwhelmed by the hostel – Bungi Backapckers. It’s kind of run down and our room was pretty small. It’s ok now that we’ve been here for the week. It’s quiet at night and we’re a short walk into the center of the city. The kitchen isn’t the best since it doesn’t have an oven or any real hobs only electric ones, and we have had some food stolen from us throughout the week which has really not been nice. We aren’t going to miss you Bungi!
As for the rest of Queenstown there have been ups and downs! The first night we were here on Monday we met up with one of Luke’s friends from home which was really nice. One good thing about our hostel was that it gave us two for one drinks at this bar called the Buffalo club! So that made for a few good nights this week! The next morning we went to the much acclaimed Fergberger, the (I think Self-proclaimed) “best burger in New Zealand“. I was really excited about it, it was basically all I could talk about since we started this trip. It in itself was something to be done in Queenstown. After all that excitement, the $15 burger and another $4.00 just for a side of fries was about as average as a burger from McDonald’s, except the burgers at McDonald’s are juicier than this. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed. The day was saved by the afternoon when we went up to the top of the gondola looking directly over the city and Lake Wakatipu. The weather was beautiful with blue skies and not much wind up there. At the top was also a really fun luge track – kind of like little carts that you ride. The track didn’t look very impressive, but once we got on it and Luke was able to whiz past me at top speed while i took the corners a bit slower we realized how much fun this was. So we did a walking track around the top of the hill that was about a half hour, then went back and did one more luge before heading back down the hill to Queenstown. While we were up there we saw some people bungi jumping. It just confirmed that it was definitely not for us!
The next morning we were up bright and early for our hang-gliding experience. We were picked up in the town center and driven up to Coronet Peak which is about 20 minutes outside of town and up! It’s a popular ski field in the winter. It seemed to all happen so fast. We got up to the top of the mountain, they put together the hang gliders, they showed us once what to do, then we were off! One, two, three steps, a little jog, and suddenly I was horizontal and flying like a bird! It was an incredible feeling of weightlessness. We flew through the air for a while in silence just soaking in the view, the the instructor asked me if I wanted a “rollercoaster landing or a quiet landing”, so being the adrenaline junkie that I now am I said rollercoaster! So he did this thing he called an emergency stop where he pushed forward the hang glider and we dropped for a second before he moved it back into position to fly normally. We did that a few times and it was an incredible feeling, so exciting! Then we did some tight turns dropping quickly and swooping back up again all before coming in for a speedy landing on our stomachs. It was definitely an incredible experience I would recommend! That afternoon we met back up with Luke’s friend and went to the Queenstown Gardens to play Frisbee Golf. It’s a really fun game (probably more fun if you could throw a Frisbee). But the basic idea is like golf – you tee off in one place and there is a hole at the end where the Frisbee has to land in, only the whole is actually a metal pole with a chain net around it. We played that twice before it got a bit too cold to be in the park anymore.
The next day we had a lazy morning and booked a jet boat ride with Skippers Jet boats in the afternoon. Then we headed into town and booked a few more things for Te Anau and Milford Sound where we are headed tomorrow! Then we were picked up in town again by Skipper’s and headed for Skipper’s Canyon via an off-road adventure. It was about an hour ride to the canyon along unpaved roads, narrow passages and steep drops into the valley below it was an exciting and informative ride. The driver told us all about the history of the canyon during the gold rush and told a few funny jokes along the way. Then we got to the start of our boat trip, strapped on our lifejackets and away we went! We sped off doing a 360 degree turn right away turned back to take a photo of the whole lot of us, then whipped back around to head down the canyon. He drove us through tiny gaps between rocks and drifted passed cliff edges that looked impassable. Once we got back there was one more boat to wait for before we got back on the bus, so we watched them speed in and do a spin to make it into the loading area, except he missed! So the boat drifted of some rocks and then got stuck! It was a sight to see. The bus driver took off his socks and shoes and proceeded to pull the boat into shore. If that wasn’t enough comedy, he then realized it wasn’t close enough to keep people from getting their feet wet, so he gave a piggy-back ride to every passenger from the boat to the shore. If that’s not service I don’t know what is!
The next day we decided to rent kayaks for a little while. We headed out onto Lake Wakatipu to enjoy the sun and paddle away for an hour. Unfortunately, as a kayak we weren’t allowed to go to the middle of the lake because there are too many other boats, so we paddled along the edges near the gardens among some big boats that were docked to buoys just enjoying the scenery around us! I definitely felt the burn the next day in my arms!
On Saturday we were suffering slightly from too much fun on Friday night so we had a quiet morning before packing a lunch and heading out for what would be a VERY challenging hike. It was called Queenstown Hill Walkway. This was more like a mountain than a hill, but we hoofed it up to the top where I forgot to take pictures, but we did get some equally as nice photos from other areas on the hike! On the way down we took a more leisurely pace and even stopped near the bottom to read for a little bit with a beautiful view of Queenstown in front of us.
Sunday, our last full day in Queenstown, we used as a day to figure out what was ahead of us, packing our bags back up, and making lists. We did manage to get into town and do a walk around the Queenstown Gardens and out towards the other end of the bay, but the wind stopped us from going very far. It’s definitely starting to feel like fall now, although Luke is still in shorts. We headed back into town and went into a Cafe – I had a coffee and Luke had a really delicious homemade. hot chocolate. We did one last tour of the shops in Queenstown for the day and headed back up to our hostel for our last night (which we’re not that sad about)!
Te Anau here we come!