No nay never... No nay never no more
Wanhaka /Queenstown/ Milford sound
Wanhaka an adorable little town (yes allowing town status) lodged between the rain sodden glacier of Franz Joseph and the all action Queenstown.
The notable improvement of the weather sent the appreciation of the scenery soaring....possibly the most diverse (excluding Darnall) place I have ever been....snow topped mountains, lakes with reflective surfaces and fir trees lined the entire route... Still no sheep though??
Adorable Mr coachman managed to stretch a 5 hour drive into 12 but hey it's not like I've got work on the morning ;) the driver was awarded the adorable accolade as it was some Bosnian birds birthday on the bus (say that drunk...with a Bosnian accent) And he put the full birthday shebang/ streamers/ cake/balloons/ for her....sweet....Though the bird is 37....travelling on a bus....with kids....mmmm.
One of the (many) stops enroute were the blue pools (named so because of their green colour?) the braver (younger) end of the coach crew jumped from 'another' bridge into raging waters and razor rocks below... For once sensibility (and potentially old age) won competitiveness (sorry to disappoint cockblock)
However the journey was exceedingly pleasant and thoroughly enjoyable, further increased by my new bus buddy... Lady samba (Brazilian, 31, creature of grace)
Arriving in Wanhaka at 8pm whistle stop tour... It was pretty... It had shops... And bars (plural)...promising! Unfortunately we were leaving at 8am.....
Being sat on your ass (bus w***ers) leaves you pretty exhausted (much harder than it sounds) so the family headed out for a warranted flashpacker Thai (albeit terrible service) and then bed
So Wanakha: short... But sweet... and deserves to be given at least two days of exploration.... especially when it offers the opportunity to fly a plane!!!!
Yeah I did. Top gun what? Step aside John travolta. my plane is in the sky and w***hakan pilot status has begun!!
Stealing Lady Samba as my passenger/ victim (aviator wearer) Vaughan our taxi and co pilot for the day (brown teeth cementing his single status) left us running the airport empire whilst he took off with other amateur stunt pilots. Very trusting these kiwis....Maybe too trusting...I was half way through dressing full jumpsuit and forging very own pilot licence when he returned.
Naturally my superhero power of flying won't be achieved for another few years so skydiving/ plane flying and possibly paragliding (North Island) eases this flying perversion for now.And.it.was.AMAZING. AMAZING.AMAZING.
A million and one questions later (only possibly exceeded if big D Turdly got in the plane) and we were off...
Pilot facts (because I am one now):
1: the steering wheel is defunct on the ground- purely footwork my friends
2: brakes are/ should be pretty unneeded..: until you get to Boeing status anyways
3: it's much easier than driving.... Unless you drive automatic then I'm unable to compare
4: 150mph feels like 10 so encourages speed demon-ness
5:Apparently I'm a natural, so screw you driving critiques (I bet vaughn says that to all the ladies. )
Soaring past the snowy mountains, over the turquoise lakes and the island inside an island on the South Island (vaughn a little to excited over this concept ) a few twists, turns and loops were also incorporated to make this a very thrilling (and not cheap thrills) experience! And yes I got a log book... Only 49.5hours away from full pilot status ;)
Reunited with the bus w***ers everyone was pretty ecstatic (whoop team skydive) so the next destination looked promising for some debauchery....
Queenstown, Queenstown, Queenstown city (town) of action, adrenaline and burgers.
Following the piloting of a plane (did I mention this) a few hyper hours on the coach it was exciting to be in a proper place, bigger than a street, actual shops and more than one (token Irish) bar....
Queenstown embraces the feeling of ski villages (cos I've been to so many) with the majority of stores catering to outdorry sorts and the promotion of adventure (expensive) activities.
Bunking down with 'stray family' it was pretty awesome to know this was home for 4 whole nights and man did I spread my s*** around the room... Because I could.
Top 10 reasons to visit Queenstown:
1: Bungee/ Nevis swing; like your standard city there's the choice of 3 bungee jumps and two canyon swings so because everyone had a spare £200 it was decided to do all of them....I'm lying.... I'm pathetic... I wanted to do the swing but it was tandem and I had no friends :( and Lady Sambas's elegant Swan dive bungee set the standard too high.
2: to walk Queenstown hill; unfortunately this calf shatterer/ass builder of a hill is 70m to short (literally this tiny amount) to be classed as a mountain but it friggin feels like it. vertical for 90%. Spectacular views and even more spectacular 'jumping photo' shots. Again worth the exhaustion and 3 days of pain to follow.
3: To eat Burgers; at least one per day.... EVERYONE raves about Ferg burger... It's good very good however.....Devil burger (2 streets along) equally as good burger, better chips (cheesy garlic) and no 45 minute wait... Sorry Ferg your burger days are numbered!
4: to visit the haunted house: 30 mins of pure adrenaline through s***ting yourselves! these kiwis don't mess about. hair pulling. leg grabbing.creepy whispers. Whilst you walk aimlessly In a pitch black square pretending to be hard (Irish Attenborough) Cheaper than the outdoor adventures, good for the rain and excellent 'how big is my gin when screaming photos'.
5: a drinking session; a good 15 bars (7 of which covered)... Icey bars, firey bars, backpacker bars and COWBOYS (saddle seats, 2L pints, horns a plenty what's not to love) and that's only touching the surface.
6: Steak, dauphinois, espresso martini's and sunset (kind of) by the lake: our new Toff (tu, oh, ff, ff) Roomie tried to up class us.... It failed but espressos martini around the world challenge ongoing (cheers fellow espresso martiniers)
7: To shop... For outdoor gear..... Not towels... impossible to buy a towel in Queenstown... I know..: I searched... For 3 days. #should have listened to Gail force #travellingtowels***ness.
8: the Irish; Irish comrades, family members and randoms continue to make an excellent time even better! bants for a life...No nay Never the song for every occasion... "póg mo thóin
9: to luge, to ski, to gondola, to jet boat: it's raved about, it looks awesome, it's possible, I ran out of time (and potentially money) but it should be done.
10: it's the first place in NZ that could be contemplated as living in... For three months or so...especially when it's so close to:-
Possibly one of the BEST DAYS EVER.
Ok I say close, it's a good 4 hr drive 'just down the road' from Queenstown but every second is worth it!
Cheating on Stray with Jucy Lucy bus; travelling family adopted another Irish to complete the day trip in style! Offending the driver (and scenery) by requesting to watch LOTR for the journey down I was soon shut up when I looked out of the window... Speechless doesn't happen often but dang could I just gawp in awe.
Mirror lakes perfectly reflecting the looming mountains, acres and acres of pine forest,empty desert esque wilderness, and then the twisting caverns and slopes of the snowy (yes actual snow) mountains and that's just one national park!
If I've not conveyed my excitement enough at the views then it was followed by a boat! Yay!! Following in the footsteps of Aragorn (canoe/ big statues either side/ looks in awe whilst being incredibly hot?) we chugged along through the 'sound'. Yes it was bloody bloody freezing (hence the ET 'Elliot hoodie)
Yes the sun was shining
Yes we completely monopolised the boat
Yes we took every cheesy photo going (copied by every b***** on board)
Yes I look rotund because I have 15 layers on (cheers father bear for fat comment)
Yes we gawped and yes we went into a waterfall (not punjabi style)
So different to Abel Tasman yet equally if not more flabbergasting;
It's a long way... But if there is only one reason to come to NZ ....so far this is it!
The photos don't don't do it justice, we were very lucky with the weather (it rains 2/3 days) and just to finish it off I saw Sheeps (some of the 8 million which form part of the 40 million which inhabit this island).
I hope I'm making you all jealous... Because you should be.... It's amazing... Happy times