I had packed so much action into my first few days in Queenstown, so I wanted my last few days to be laid back. I went out one night with two of my roommates, John and David from the US. We went to the pizza joint called Winnie’s that apparently turns into a club at night. It did not disappoint! Music was great and everyone was dancing on the floor and tables. They had a contest for “couples” so John and I pretended we were together so we could enter. It was the most hilarious game ever! You had to either hold the guy on your back, he holds you like a baby or you had to sit on his back. We were beating everyone but in the last round John didn’t listen to the cue and suddenly we were out He takes full blame. lol. There was a “pub crawl” at Winnie’s and they were about to leave so we just followed them, figured they knew the fun spots. We made it into the next bar with them before we got caught. They said we could still join them, but just couldn’t participate in the free drinks. Fair enough.
The next day I hung out by the beach and then walked around some of the art galleries. I also had a day where I hiked the Ben Lommand trail, eight hours round trip. I ended up turning around early because it was way too hot and my knees were killing me, so it only took me four. After that, I took a nap and had some fish & chips. I don’t usually order fish because sometimes I don’t like it, but I ate the whole thing! I was planning on doing another hike the next day but was way too sore. In order to avoid using my legs I rented a scooter and went to an old gold mining town called Arrowtown. They converted all of the old mining homes to little shops and hotels. I walked down the stream where they used to pan for gold but didn’t have any luck. There was one false alarm, but it was just the gold polish on my fingernails.
Highlight: Bungy Jump in Queenstown and Piha Beach in Auckland.
Lowlight: No actual lowlight.
Things I learned: Queenstown is very expensive, looking forward to exchange rates in Bali. I also think I may like mountains better than oceans. Or maybe I just like both equally. I learned that adrenaline is addicting. I learned that renting a car is a great way to get around but not knowing the rules makes you 16 again.
Things I wish I had: A couch. Sitting in my bed gets old! Another pair of shorts. And a second pillow. I could list a lot of things here, but none of them I actually am missing that bad. Its funny how you can get by with so much less.
Missed opportunity: Probably not seeing one more city, like Wellington or planning a overnight hike.
Would I come back: 100%. I’d love to come back here on a trip that was just to go hiking here and then end the trip with the Nevis bungy. I’d also love to come back with family and friends as I think they need to visit here.
Up Next: Bali
Milford Sound, really a fjord in geographical terms, but they have never renamed it. I had gone back and forth on whether or not I wanted to visit the Sound. It was supposedly a must see, but it also required a 5 hour bus ride there and back! Then, I met a gal who had flown there. A 40 minute flight AND scenic views? It sounded like a plan. I was picked up from my hostel and driven to the airport. There, our pilot Ben, me and five others walked over to a small single engine plane. Ben happens to be an Eagles fan despite being from New Zealand He enjoyed giving me some BS about the last game.
Ben asked if anyone wanted to ride co-pilot. My hand shot up a little too quickly. In my defense, there were no kids and I was told he would ask this question. So, we boarded the plane, me in the co-pilot seat. He told us to get our cameras ready and take as many pictures as we want. Therefore making it sociably acceptable to ask the guy behind me to take my picture practicing as my new role, co-pilot.
We set off, it was a very smooth ride, the weather was ideal. Well, for flying. I took clothing suggestions from some friends who had done the bus tour. The group who arrives 5 hours after me when the sun is hot. This is a time where I actually would have bought a sweatshirt from a gift shop that said Milford Sound on it. Oh well!
The views from above…amazing! You fly SO close to all of the mountain peaks and can observe all the different changes in landscape. Slowly creeping from dry, to cold to green. I looked all around and took in the views and occasionally snapped a photo.
We arrived at a small airport and I successfully landed the plane. Kidding, just seeing if anyone read this far. Our group boarded a ferry and promptly ate a large breakfast before heading to the open top deck. It was an hour cruise down the sound and an hour back. On the way we saw large rock formations covered in greenery on either side of us. They were covered in small and sometimes large waterfalls with rainbows reflecting off the water. There were deep cracks in the mountains made from fault lines. Occasionally, we saw seals sun bathing on the rocks’ edge. We reached the end of the sound, where the water path opens up to the sea. Normally its very uneven water but it was perfectly still. If you turn a back around you almost don’t notice that it opens up to a connecting path. It was actually missed twice by discoverers who thought it was just a bay that didn’t connect to anything.
The trip was beautiful, but I must admit I’m glad I took the flight option. It would have been a long day for a short cruise down the sound. However, if you’ve never seen a fjord before, than it absolutely would have been worth it.
Great question (and great song btw: Last Time by Darius Rucker).
Well, for me, it was today! I did my first ever bungy jump at the world’s first bungy jump experience, Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand.
Their motto is, you’re crazy if you do and you’re crazy if you don’t. It couldn’t be more spot on. It was one of the more scary things I’ve done, but I would recommend that everyone at least try it once.
When asking which is scarier, skydiving or bungy, so far has said bungy. I disagree, but only because I’ve done static line sky diving (where you jump alone). That was about equally the same level of fear (fear less, live more. is their other motto). Despite the fear, you just have to jump because the longer you wait the more you psych yourself out and the worse it will become. The classic close your eyes, stop thinking about it and just jump sort of mentality. Or, maybe the waterfall jumps yesterday truly did help prepare me.
If you watch the video below, albeit not flattering, you’ll hear me gut laugh and you can’t make that stuff up. I was genuinely high afterwards. I felt like I could take on the world. I ran up the stairs to the top of the bridge and could have kept running. I had an amazing amount of energy, I imagine it’s like being a kid again.
I went and found two guys who I had made friends with before and we all high-fived and talked about how great it was! Of course we also shared a drink to celebrate the achievement. We then could relax and watch others make the leap as well.
While this certainly wasn’t my only “first” on this trip, and it won’t be the last, it was definitely a big one that I had been looking forward to and I do feel a sense of relief that the day has come.
Will I do it again? To be determined but most likely yes if the time and place is right.
I don’t consider myself an adrenaline junkie, but maybe I’m becoming one? I went canyoning today and it gave me energy. After gearing up and hiking 30 minutes (in full gear, woof.) to the entrance we gladly jumped in the ice cold water to cool off. The guides wasted no time and had the first person sit at the end of a cliff that leads into a waterfall pool. “Ok”, they tell her, “Cross your arms over you chest and keep your knees up and just slide down”. The next thing I know she was gone from sight and I hear a splash below. It was my turn next. I ask him if he’s sure I won’t hit the rocks on the way down. He said I wouldn’t and asked if I was ready. I guess so? The next thing you know it’s me thats gone and I end up in the pool below, perfectly safe and sound…and with a lot of water up my nose. Noted, for the next one.
It became a mix of hiking up rocks and waterfalls using ropes, repelling down other areas still using the ropes, sliding down the canyons where the water and slime rocks made a shoot, jumping off the top of the falls onto our feet or backs, and occasionally zip-lining if the water was too low. I could describe it in detail, but they let us bring a Go-Pro so I’ll let the videos do the talking 🙂
**Uploading from a Starbucks because of their high-speed wifi, something I appreciate more now (and their cold brew with sweet cream).