We didn't like leaving Wanaka, but we loved the journey out. We were shown some more locations from Lord Of The Rings - mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls - all within a short drive from Queenstown so that the cast and crew could be shuttled in and out with ease. We were also shown the site of the worlds first commercial bungy jump which was invented by a couple of Kiwis. A.J.Hackett is still a pioneer in the Jump-Off-Everything-With-Nothing-But-A-Chord-Around-Your-Ankles-Industry. We watched a few people take the plunge but didn't fork out to do it ourselves.
We arrived in extreme-sports-capital Queenstown and went straight to our lakefront hostel. The next day we awoke to snowy mountains and a distinct chill in the air, so we hiked uphill for a few hours through forest and rivers to warm up a little. The trail followed an old hydroelectricity pipe that has been reclaimed by nature. We saw more nice waterfalls (these things are everywhere) and occasionally crossed mountain bike trails. At one point we stopped at a clearing for a breather when a biker in a full helmet came speeding through. He skidded to a stop, looked over and shouted "hey, guys!" and removed his headgear. It was an Israeli guy who we had a curry with in Wellington in the North Island. We were in the middle of a forest, we'd only come across about three people until that point, and one of them happened to be somebody we knew. Anyway, he says the downhill biking in Queenstown was the most fun he'd ever had. We reached the top of our trek and came out by the gondolas that taxi the lazy people up and down the mountain. We did it the hard way up, but went for the easy way down. The views from the top were just as fantastic as we had come to expect from the South Island. There were numerous activities on offer up there such as downhill luging, bungy jumping and mountain biking. A pretty busy mountaintop.
After our long walk and scenic gondola ride we had worked up a big appetite. So it was time for our final instalment of:
This time it was the supposed creme de la creme of gourmet burgers. We had been told of this beast since Australia (actually a friend of mine mentioned it before we even left the UK!) and the queue at 'Fergburger' was a clear sign that this was going to be extraordinary. We made our order and sat waiting while the employees waded through and endless stream of people coming in to sample The Ferg. When our number was called Steph collected and her face said it all. The burgers weighed the same as a bag of sugar. They were almost too big. Almost. An absolute clear winner in our eyes. Perfectly cooked, great ingredients and a greaseproof wedge to hold it in. However I did moan for half the day about how my stomach was going to burst - I'm not used to eating that much anymore.
We tried something completely new on our last day in Queenstown. Frisbee Golf. Or Frolf. Or Grisbee. Whatever you call it, we were throwing frisbees at metal buckets with a cascade of dangling chains to catch the disc. Just like golf there was par for every 'hole' - of which there were eighteen. It was absolutely free as well. The only problem was that we had terrible frisbees that we borrowed from the hostel and we didn't do too well. Par was something like 50, and we both doubled that and then some. It was definitely-maybe the frisbee's fault.
We would both love to go back to Queenstown and spend more time there. It's the kind of place where you need lots of disposable cash to fully enjoy what is on offer. It is an activities based destination with picturesque surroundings.
We are taking a change of direction now and heading back up north. Technically we are on our way home from here. Although we'll be taking our time about it.