The journey to Queenstown is remarkable. I can’t believe how much better this place keeps getting.
The Intercity Bus driver is knowledgeable on everything, so I’m glad I sat at the front of the bus and can see all the things he’s talking about. It’s funny, ‘cause he reminds me of a teacher.
But the trip is amazing. Once again – snow-capped mountains, hairpin turns, deep valleys, waterfalls, untouched forests, but this time there are also mountain lakes dug out during the ice age. The driver tells us about all the trees, Rata, Rimu, Matai, Maiare, Totara and Beech, and all the birds, rivers, floods, mountains and their history. He tells us about the beginning of deer farming, the nearby salmon farm and the cattle runs through the passes.
We stop numerous times and again I’m certain that Kiwis aren’t used to travelling long distances. Of course, there aren’t any toilets on the bus, so that could be part of that reason. As we pass through the Southern Alps I begin to get worried about all the snow. Didn’t I leave winter behind? I have to suppose that it’s still far too early in the spring for all the snow to be gone.
Queenstown kind of creeps up on you. First, there’s all these vineyards and expensive houses perched up the side of mountains. Then there’s this kind of suburb type of development and then you’re in it. It’s unreal. It’s on the waterfront and between mountains. There’s a gondola going up one of the hills and at the top you can bungee jump or do some downhill luging. Paragliders take off from the top and land in the park across from my hostel. They call it the adventure capital of New Zealand and it’s easy to see why. Everywhere there is some adrenaline-packed adventure you can pay a few hundred dollars to do.
I was on my way to the NZone Skydive store (yes, a store) and I ran into a guy wearing a PD shirt. We exchanged our local DZs and Scott Borghese knowledge and the next thing I knew I was getting drunk with the Nzone staff at an Irish pub. Irish pubs just keep finding me. The unfortunate side is it was pretty clear that I would not be able to get a job. I have yet to make it out to NZone as the weather has been kind of shit and they don’t really have room for me on the shuttle unless I take the 7:30 a.m. one with the staff. And seeing as I’ve been having some good nights out, 7 a.m. is a little unrealistic. Plus, there’s so many other things to do, so it’s not too high on my priority list.
The first thing I decided to do was river boarding. But before I get to that, coolest thing was people from the Stray Bus I was on were in Queenstown for the first two days that I got there, so I got to see a few of them again and we all went out and got drunk!
So, river boarding. Basically, $140, you put on a wet suit (because the river is damn cold,) helmet, life jacket, booties and flippers. Then they drive you down to some class 3 rapids, give you a quick little lesson and then you and a flutter board go sailing through some rapids. Yah. That was wicked awesome. At the end of the rapids, me and this dude, Bobby from England is all I know, laid on a platform behind a jet ski and got dragged down the river to the exit point for about 3 minutes! Wicked! Then we did a couple of cliff jumps. Just a 7-meter and a 12-meter, and then we went down a wicked steep slide and skipped across the river to the other side. I highly recommend this.
Today I have signed up to do the Nevis Arc Swing and the Nevis Bungee for a combined $370. I save $50. I can’t believe I’m about to bungee jump. What’s wrong with me?