To all who dare read this. This is the longest blog I think I have ever written. But trust me, as always, it's worth it. :)
Finishing up the west coast at the Glaciers we continued our journey south once more, this time heading inland. Sleeping well past check out time at the glacier we only ended up heading off at 11 with a four hour drive still ahead of us. In order to make up time we drove straight to our next destination with no stops along the way. Well, we did stop for ice cream. And climbed a giant rock. Where we flashed cars. :)
Our next stop was the amazing city of Wanaka, a town I had fallen in love with last time I was here. Built on a spectacular lake with amazing activities on offer, it is a town I could live in. Finally arriving after our arduous drive we could think of nothing more than lunch. We found a spot amongst all the tourists on the lake and busted out the rolls and cold meat for a well earned meal.
Our plans of staying at the lake for one hour quickly turned to three. Enjoying the lovely grass, the spectacular scenery and of course the gorgeous girls on the beach seemed to delay us for quite the while. However as the temperature began to drop and our stomach began to rumble once more we headed off to hunt down a new spot to camp. Knowing we couldn't freedom camp near the town we headed off into the farmlands to find the perfect spot. 30kms and one angry lady later we had found what I would call our best wilderness spot so far.
Now ill be honest when we first got to the spot we didn't jump at it. It was down a windy rock road, with no signs in the middle of nowhere. Actually it had one sign, one that said no camping. Nevertheless we made our way down the road, feeling every single bump, finally arriving in an open paddock. This place was deserted. There was no one here and it looked like no one had been here in quite a while. However, we still set up camp and began to cook dinner. That's when the magic happened.
As we got comfortable, the sun began to set making for a spectacular show. The place became picture perfect as the mountains came out from behind the clouds, the wind dropped to nothing and sun bathed it all in an amazing light. It was incredible. Once dinner had finished, the sun was still out and the lack of wind made for some excellent Frisbee weather. We played until we could see the Frisbee no more and eventually called it a night.
The next morning we headed back into Wanaka heading straight to our first activity, Puzzling World. Coming here on my trip all those years ago, one thing I remember is how much this place bothered me. Not because I didn't enjoy myself here, I had a blast. The issue was that at Puzzling World they have a giant maze, a maze I was never able to solve. We must of spent 4-5 hours at this place. After crushing the maze in 30 minutes, proving how much my maze solving ability has improved, we went through every room in building. From illusion rooms, to a wall of faces that followed you as you move, we saw everything there was to see.
By the time we finished up there, we had very little time left of the day. So to wrap it off we headed straight back to our favourite spot at the lake for a late lunch and even a swim. Knowing we had to still had another hour drive ahead of us and had to find a place to sleep that night, we farewelled Wanaka, a place we loved but knew we would never compare to our next destination. That night was a fairly easy one as well, after we found a spot to sleep. Pulling up by yet another lake, we kicked back, absolutely psyched for what the next day would bring.
Queenstown. Just Wow. This place could very well be my favourite city of all time. Offering absolutely everything I could ever need, I know ill be back here again. Between the incredible food, gorgeous people, amazing vibe, pumping party scene and huge range of things to do, I could have spent a year there and still be having fun. Nevertheless our time was limited to just 5 days, five of the best days of this trip so far. So now where do I begin?
I should probably start with one of the most crucial parts of Queenstown, the fact that our group size grew to four. Yes, after weeks of waiting, Joni finally joined us over here ready for a packed two weeks of action. Whilst things in Mike Wazowski had gotten a whole lot cozier, we were really stoked he has arrived, bringing our group up to the perfect number of four.
I know I haven't talked about it that much this trip, but in Queenstown it is impossible to neglect the amazing food. The food in Queenstown was something else. Whilst we did cook a lot ourselves, the times we made it out for a meal were 100% worth it. Whilst we checked out heaps of places ill limit it down to just a few so this blog is still a readable length. A place we must of visited 3 or 4 times was the world famous Fergburger.
For those of you who don't know about it, the first thing you do when you come to Queenstown (that's 'when' not 'if') is go to this burger joint. Sure its quite expensive and you have to wait about 40 minutes for your food but these burgers are just something else. With something to make everyone happy, this place was packed at all times of the day. To make it even better its almost open all of the time anyway, only closing between 6am and 10am, a time you will be sleeping anyway.
Other food highlights included our $10 breakfast just down the road that stuffed you to the brim as well as the $10 lunch on the beach that scored you anything between a steak sandwich and a seafood risotto. Such good value for money and such great food. One final place I cannot neglect to mention was actually a place I visited last time and is one of the reasons I never wanted to leave. Whilst it may seem like just an ordinary sweet shop from the outside, the Remarkable Sweet Shop, is something else. This place sells the most amazing fudge I have ever tasted. With flavours ranging from crème brulee to watermelon, there wasn't a flavor you couldn't find. To top it all off the place gave free taste testing as well, even if you didn't buy anything. Whilst we did taste almost every flavor, it ended up being worthwhile for them. On our last day, just before we left, we went in there and bought some for the road. And when I say some, I mean a ridiculous amount.
The constant vibe throughout the city was also something that made the place so much fun. Day or night, no matter what time you were out, there were always people to talk to and have a great time with. Whether you were hanging on the beach kicking back with some drinks, getting burnt at the marina listening to live music, or just hanging under a tree in the botanical gardens there was always someone around who wanted to chat. I'm sure this was helped by there being no liquor ban in public during the day but the town was just so much fun to be in whether or not you were actually doing anything. We must of spent hours, every day just hanging out in the town watching all the people. There were artists drawing, acrobats trying out new tricks and even some guy slack-lining between two trees. No such thing as a dull day.
Even in the campsite we had a ball. Staying in the biggest campsite we have stayed at so far, we managed to entertain ourselves and I'm sure the other campers whenever we were having some downtime. We played Frisbee up and down the roads, practiced our acca-pella skills in the showers and introduced ourselves to anyone we thought we could entertain.
Now the party life in Queenstown was just as good as anything else. Whilst there were no clubs as such, there were bars tucked away everywhere that had great DJs and live bands. Now when I say tucked away, some of them were actually really hard to find. As such, we decided that on our first night out we should go on the city pub crawl just to scout the places out. This ended up being probably one of our best nights out. Going to five completely different bars with an amazing group of people that included a hens party, we seemed to be the life of the party in every bar making for some great fun. The bars included World Bar (just like ours at home), a glow in the dark paint bar (may or may not have ruined some clothes) as well as bar with an amazing live band. To make the crawl even more fun, games were played throughout the night just to get people mingling with each other. These were hilarious, putting all of us into some interesting 'positions' both on the pole and off. The night was wrapped up beautifully with a big 'family' photo. Everyone was all over each other as we climbed up a statue and posed. It was fantastic way to end a hilarious night.
Now Activities. So very many activities. Queenstown literally has it all. Whether you want to swim, hike, throw, jump or just look at things you can do it in Queenstown. Whilst we couldn't do everything on offer (believe me, we tried) we managed to find things to fill every day we were there.
Our one and only hike of the five days was no walk in the park. We conquered the famous Queenstown hill rather than taking the easy way out on the Gondola. In all honesty we really didn't want to pay for it and thought the hike would be much easier than it was. An hour and half of gasping for air and dodging speeding mountain bikers was well worth it when we saw the view from the top. Arriving as the sun was setting, the city looked spectacular and we celebrated our ascent with a drink from the bar. But as if that wasn't enough we even treated ourselves to some rides on the luge on top of the mountain. The four of us flying down the mountain, crashing into each other was a site to be seen. Whilst there were some worrying moments on the way down, I can let you all know we did manage to get to the bottom safely. Hilarious photos were taken on both the way up and down however due to us being way to shnorer to pay for photos at $10 each, we will have to describe them to you when we get back.
Mini-golf was on the agenda while we were there and it was phenomenal. Now I know what you are all thinking. They are in a town where they could be white water rafting or on a speedboat and they are playing mini-golf? To that I say you really need to see this place. This place takes mini-golf to a totally new level, making it as exciting if not more exciting than bungee jumping (maybe not that exciting). Between moving rocket ships, chairlifts for your balls and moving forklifts every shot was exciting. Whilst the courses did break down on us a couple times much to the anger of Ori and myself, the place showed me how amazing mini golf can be and how I have to find a place like that at home.
The beach was always a back up thing to do when we were either to lazy or to broke to do anything else. Whilst the water was freezing and rocks replaced the sand, there were always people to meet and drinks to be had in the boiling weather. We managed to score absolutely beautiful weather whilst we were there continuing the fantastic trend we have had so far.
Frisbee Golf or better known as 'Frolf' to the locals took up a good bunch of our time as well. For those of you who have no idea what I'm on about, Frolf is very similar to golf except instead of trying to get a ball in a hole, you are trying to get a Frisbee into a basket. This was insanely entertaining despite our crappy Frisbee that we had gotten free with Pizza in the North Island. We all played terribly which I believe is solely the Frisbees fault. Nevertheless we had a whole lot of fun and are planning to set up/find a course of our own back home.
I'm sure most of you have already seen photos on Facebook but for those who haven't Yes, we did end up going bungee jumping. Whilst Oots and Jons spent the morning on a Jetboat, Glaze and I set off bright and early (at 10am) to throw ourselves off a giant hovering platform. Now I'm going to let you know right from the start, I was crapping myself from before we even booked. It has been something I have wanted to do for a while but when the time came to actually book, It hit me. I'm actually going through with it. Now it didn't help knowing that this bungee, known as Nevis, was one of the biggest bungees in Australasia. At a huge 134 metres this thing was big.
After signing up and getting weighed we waited at the offices in Queenstown for our bus to arrive. Going up in quite a small group of seven was nice as everyone got to meet each other and see how they fared when they jumped. Getting on the bus, the driver gave us a bit of a talk telling us to just relax and we will be there soon. However any hopes of me relaxing went straight out the windows as he started the engine and the metal came blasting through the speakers.
Half an hour later we had arrived at the jump. We were harnessed up, weighed once more and taken out to the hovering pontoon by a cable car. Oh how the colour dropped from my face. Looking down was terrifying and I'm not normally that bad with heights. Here the tunes were pumping too, busting out Skrillex among others to get everyone psyched up. Going in weight order Glazer and I ended up being one of the last few to jump. We watched all the others take the plunge and the rush they got from it. Soon enough Glaze was up and without a moment's hesitation he was up, on the edge and gone.
Before he had even made his trip back up, I was called over to get ready. I was strapped up and given instructions on how to flip myself around after the jump. However I'm pretty sure everything they said went in one ear and out the other as you will soon see. Glaze was hoisted up behind me and before I knew it I was on the edge, waiting for the call. 3…2…1… Bungeeeeeee!!
Now whilst I thought I made a huge leap off the edge, from video footage it appears I simply just fell. Yelling 'To Infinity and Beyond' as I took the plunge, I went silent for quite a while as it seemed I was falling to my certain death. But nay. Thankfully everything went to plan and the bungee worked just as it should. Well almost all to plan. Attempting to flip myself the right way around after the drop, I was unable to pull the cable forcing me to remain face down the entire time. As they hoisted me up, I could do nothing but watch the ground below get further and further away.
Once on top everyone had a good laugh at me leaving me to dangle for a bit. Eventually pulling me in they told me the only way to get the right way around was to go again, throwing me towards the edge as they did. Thankfully they didn't let go as in the second I think I freaked out more than the jump itself. It was one of the most insane experiences I have had on my trip so far and recommend everyone to feel the rush. And to all those who are wondering. Yes. I got it all on the GoPro.
That is pretty much all I can think to write about for Queenstown. Everyone at some point in their life needs to make the trip here, whether or not they decide to jump off a bridge. This town has shown me how amazing NZ and indeed the world can be. Me thinks ill be back for another trip soon, once I have six months or so off from Uni. :P