08.04.2014 - 09.04.2014 20 °C
Queenstown is basically the place you go to make all the bad decisions you can with the amount of money you have on hand- with enough bars to drink away any regrets you may be having about bungee-ing away your life savings, and getting a picture of your favourite tour guide tattooed on your back.
I got up bright and early - or slept in by Lani standards- at about 7 and took a little stroll around the area to see what Queenstown looks like in the light (we drove in at night…which is approximately 6:30pm here...see below) Between the mountains, the water, the flowers and the sun I can’t say I had any complaints and I was happy to gloat on a quick FaceTime chat with Mark (sorry friend). This was also when I got to ponder what stupidly fantastic activity I would spend some cash monies on.
Liz wasn’t keen on doing a water activity due to illness so we opted for paragliding. I will state right here our experiences and impressions of paragliding were quite different and I will only speak for me... I was highly underwhelmed… I can best describe the experience as floating in the air for a bit, with some awesome scenery, and then landing on your ass in a field.
I probably should have gone sky diving or Canyoning but luckily AusZealAsia has no shortage of tourist driven “Extreme” activity agents all claiming to be best so I opted to pocket my wallet for the day and save those activities for another great city.
We grabbed some Fish N Chips along main street then went for a walk around the waterfront. Since Mr. Whippy wasn’t serving Hokey Pokey Ice cream we got super excited to find it at the Night N Day store but were disappointed to find out that flavour wasn’t available as part of the $1 Ice cream Sundaes special. Since I knew I’d have a self inflicted stomach ache in about 25 seconds (note above: deep fried lunch) I decided spending more than a dollar was stupid. Alas, still have not tried Hokey Pokey but had a great cookies n cream sundae.
Liz went back to the hostel for some needed rest and I ventured out on my own. I headed down to the beach to have some french boy with a beautiful voice serenade me (Ok he was singing to his girlfriend…but I was eavesdropping so that counts right?). Once the sun set (5:00pm) it got quite chilly so I decided to check out the shops. I stumbled upon what I believe to be the best wine store ever (Yes I am more excited about this wine store than the Paragliding…and much less expensive) When you enter the store you’re given a card and they have bottles set up in dispensers for you to select your serving size (taste, 1/2 or full glass), the amount is then charged to your card and you pay for what you’ve tasted at the end of the night. I spent a good couple of hours here chatting with the staff and finding some new favourites.
This morning we decided to change our plans and make the quick, easy, drive over to Nelson. If you look at a map you will quickly realize that is obviously a lie as we drove essentially the entire length of the South Island. Thus what I will forever refer to as my favourite "race car arcade game” began.
Level 1: The road can best be described as the equivalent of the plastic tube structures kids make to send their marbles down. Luckily there are signs to describe the angle of the curve you will be facing (These look like stick men Yoga poses) as well as “recommended” speed. Ex: Full Wheel at 55km/h
LEVEL UP: Next they add a one lane bridge about every 500m. If you’re lucky you can see to the other side- if you aren’t then there are more signs advising to proceed with caution- since I had any sort of choice...
BONUS ROUND: Every few Km they will throw in a construction sign with a stoplight. There was big debate whether it was a game to see how long the Canadians would sit at the red light...
We passed the Bonus. The construction sounded similar to the capture of a dinosaur. On observation they were cutting trees on the highway.
LEVEL UP: Next the rain came. In heaps. Lucky for me there are also signs to say the road is slippery when wet.
LEVEL UP: And then 6:00 hit… and so did total darkness. So now it’s something like tree pose, at 25km/hr, on a slippery matt, in the dark, with potentially another vehicle coming right at me.
GO HOME NEW ZEALAND ROAD DESIGNERS- YOU’RE DRUNK
12 hours, a lot of playlists, two tanks of gas, some transport trucks and of course AMAZING scenery (of which we took no pictures, because this drive was already long enough- stopping is not an option) we made it to Nelson.