I will preface this post by saying, it will be long, but I promise it is worth it! Queenstown was the last city that I was going to on the South Island and I had big plans per usual. However, I guess the weather in New Zealand is about as unpredictable as Colorado so my plans got all messed up (again).
After the 5 hour drive to Queenstown, we finally arrived just in time for me to pick up my ticket for my first great walk of the trip. Now, I mentioned earlier that I was supposed to do one of the great walks in Abel Tasman National Park, but that ended up not working out. I should also mention that there are 9 great walks in New Zealand and I was supposed to do 2 out of the 9. So, I was very excited to do the Routeburn track which was a walk from just outside of Queenstown to “The Divide” which was located just outside of Milford sound. The master plan was to do the track starting on Christmas Day and end on the 26th, spend the night in Milford sound and do the Milford sound cruise on the 27th.
Christmas Eve was spent meeting up with someone I had met in Nelson. I met him at his hostel’s bar and eventually had a large group of people from a whole range of countries sitting with us (I love traveling for this reason). We ended up getting a bunch of beer and heading to the beach on Lake Wakatipu, the lake Queenstown is on (so pretty).
We ended up playing beer pong (teaching everyone this wonderful American drinking game).
In Queenstown, you are allowed to drink on the beach until 10 pm, which is awesomeeeee. We took full advatage of that and played beer pong until 10. Since it is the middle of summer here, the sun wasn’t fully down until about 10:30 pm.
After leaving the beach, everyone wanted to go to this place called world bar, but me and someone else hadn’t eaten, so went to get pizza and fries (or as they say in New Zealand, chips). Now this is where I tried French fries and Aiolo sauce for the first time… OMG it was amazing. I would highly suggest dipping your fries in it. You thought ranch was good, this is better. Anyways, after that I decided I needed to get some sleep since I was hiking the Routeburn Track the next day, so I went back to my hostel and went to bed.
Morning came way too fast. I packed a few last minute items and went to go catch my bus to the start of the track. By the time we got to the start, it was absolutely pouring rain (picture I posted when writing my last post). Well, in case you were on the edge of your seat wondering if I did the hike, I didn’t. I sat there for about 3 hours waiting for the bus to come back around and waiting for the weather to clear up. The rain finally cleared right when the bus was coming back around, but at that point, I had an 8 hour hike to do and I wasn’t about to start that at 2pm. So back to Queenstown went Kali.
It wasn’t raining in Queenstown luckily and I was able to get a last minute hostel. I ended up messaging one of the people I had met the night before and we had a wonderful Christmas dinner of Chinese food since that was the only thing open on Christmas Day. A restaurant was also the only place that you could actually buy alcohol on Christmas Day.
We walked around Queenstown after that. Long story short, we met up with some people my new friend had met previously and we wound up just restaurant hopping to have a few beers. The night ended fairly early as Christmas Day was the first day where I realized I had really injured my back skydiving. By the end of the night, I could barely breath, could barely move… It was not good.
Since my plans got messed up with the Routeburn track, I still needed to make it to Milford Sound the day of the 26th for my hosel booking and for the cruise on the 27th. One of the people I had met offered me a ride in that direction. He was like “Oh! You can just hitchhike the rest of the way.” I hesitantly said okay, but didn’t have a good feeling. We made it all the way to where he was catching his boat. And after about 2 hours of attempting to hitchhike the rest of the way in the hot sun, I gave up, switched sides and was able to get a ride back to the nearest town (Te Anau) in about 5 minutes. The hitchhiking here is usually pretty easy, but Milford sound is one of those places that is a bit out of the way. I spent the remainder of the afternoon in Te Anau, which was actually really amazing and absolutely gorgeous.
I booked a cheap bus and back to Queenstown went Kali (again). Booked the same last minute hostel, which did have a bar. When I got back, I checked in and went straight to the bar because after 2 mishap days, I needed a few beers.
This is where the fact that New Zealand is a small country comes into play. After those beers I was walking back up the hostel stairs when 2 guys walked right by me. I did a double take and just blurted out “did I go skydiving with you all in Fox Glacier?!?” Turns out it was the same guys. Seriously small world. We hung out the rest of the night and went out to some bars, got Kebabs at the end of the night (which is the best drunk food in the entire world).
The next day was a lazy day. I woke up, checked into the new hostel, and napped and napped and napped. I had planned to meet this girl I had met in Nelson, but slept right through the time I was supposed to meet her (Ooops). I did end up meeting her, just a bit later. We laid on the beach a while, got some delicious ice cream, jumped into the freezing cold water, looked at some cute baby ducks…
… and hit the hay very early after making some dinner. Made some dope grilled cheese and tomato soup with my new friend that I met in Nelson, who’s name is Hannah by the way.
The following day, I finally got the chance to go to Milford sound, which is said to be the 8th wonder of the wold. Needless to say, I was so excited especially after all my bad luck the last few days. Luckily I was able to get a full refund on the other cruise and book an even cheaper one for the 28th (worked out in my favor in the end). It was a longggggggggggggg day though. The bus out to Milford was 5 hours, the cruise was only 2 and then a 5 hour bus ride back to Queenstown. However, it was so worth it. The beauty of this place was unreal. I thought to myself many times, that this actually cannot be real. Here are some pics of Milford Sound. It was hard to choose just a few honestly and you will see why.
The pictures don’t even do the place justice. If you ever find yourself here, you absolutely must go. I was so tired when I got back that I just made dinner and went to bed. besides I had to be up early the next day for another bucket list item… BUNGY JUMPING!!!!!
The bungy was scheduled for 8am, but had to be there to check in at 7:30am. They bussed us out to the jump site, and got us all harnessed up. I should mention that this is the highest bungy in New Zealand at 134 meters (or 440 feet), so really high. We had to get in a cable car to get out to the bungy platform.
Before I knew it, it was my turn to jump. The key is to not hesitate…
1, 2, 3… JUMP!
I keep doing this where I do an epic adrenaline thing at the beginning of the day, then nothing else will live up to it the rest of the day.
I ended up meeting up with the girl I had met hiking in Abel Tasman National Park. She had just gotten to Queenstown. We had some food and drank some beer and just took it easy that afternoon (the night was a different story).
I did seriously have plans to do nothing my last night and just pack and get to bed early for my 7am flight to Auckland the following day.
However, that did not happen. I will save everyone the details of the drunken mess of the night. The important thing is, I made my flight. I also came across a sign that I thought is very fitting for New Zealand.
If I didn’t mention it before, I will mention it now. New Zealand is obsessed with 2 things… Subway and KFC and this sign was just so perfectly fitting with that.
I did leave my phone in the taxi that morning after getting dropped off at the airport. Again, the important thing is, I got it back. So in summary, I made my flight and I got my phone back. That is all that needs to be said about that night. That and Scottish people can seriously drink.
Next adventure…. Raglan, where I get to see 2 of my favorite people from Colorado. After being so sick for the beginning of my trip and all the mishaps, seeing familiar faces will be awesome.
Bye South Island, you will be missed.