The drive from Wanaka to Queenstown is not very long, but, because Queenstown is crazy busy the Hostel couldn’t check us in before 2pm, subsequently the drive was dragged on by the usual stops. Everyone was feeling impatient, after weeks of hearing people rave about Queenstown, we were all rearing to get there and see for ourselves!
Queenstown is the adrenaline capital of New Zealand and the home of the first ever commercial Bunjee Jump as well as Canyon Swings, NZ’s highest Bunjee Jump and other crazy activities which get your heartbeat racing. If it sounds crazy, scary and fun you can most likely do it in Queenstown.
The first stop we made was at some kind of Puzzle World place, which I really wasn’t keen on. You had the option to pay $20 dollars to go in an go through mazes, visual illusion rooms and the like but most of us opted out and sat in the cafe playing with the free mini puzzles. Turns out that no one on the Kiwi Bus is a genius because we all managed to fail miserably at solving the puzzles and believe me, we tried!
The second stop was a lot more enjoyable than the first, random, but enjoyable. We stopped off at a place called Mrs Jone's Fruit Stall, the Fruit ‘Stall’ is quite a large shop filled with gorgeous fresh fruit and produce. There is a lovely rose garden outside and a huge orchard at the back. They also sell ice cream/frozen yogurt mixed with fresh fruit - I had the Frozen Yogurt with Mango and it was AMAZING!!! I also bought some fruit because it looked delicious and after weeks of eating 2 minute noodles my body was in desperate need of actual nourishment.
We eventually got to Queenstown which to my surprise is a very small town by a very beautiful lake. Considering Queenstown has a reputation for having a good nightlife and lots of things to do, I was expecting it to be more like a large town/city than a picturesque little village.
My initial plan was to stay here for a week but I somehow ended up only having enough time to stay for 3 days. It was a real shame but in hindsight probably best, Queenstown can really put a dent in your bank account and I was already over budget!
I did a lot over the three days so rather than blabbing on for hours I have summarized my 5 favorite things in Queenstown:
Before I left the UK I made a bucket list for my trip, one of the items on the list was a Bungy Jump. When it came down to booking my jump I had to have a serious talk with the part of me that is a complete and utter wimp and instead channel my inner Lara Croft once more…I was jumping off a bridge and no one was going to stop me, not even myself!
I booked and paid for my jump at A J Hackett as soon as I could, which is a great way to ensure you will go through with it. There are three different Bungy Jumps available, 'The Bridge' - The first commercial Bungy Jump in the world, 'The Ledge' - A freestyle Bungy where you are strapped at the waste instead of the feet and can jump however you want and finally 'The Nevis' - The Highest Bungy in in New Zealand. I wasn't brave enough to do the big one (134m high) so I opted for The Bridge.
The day of the jump arrived, and I was surprisingly calm. I put on my headphones, had a coffee and I was ready to go. Here is an insight into my thoughts - 'Queuing up…still calm, getting into my harness...still calm, having my legs strapped together...still calm, doing the penguin walk to the edge of the jumping platform...still calm, waving to the cameras...still kind of calm. Ok ready to go, don't look down, don't look down...*I LOOK DOWN*...AAAAA WTF AM I DOING! I AM GOING TO DIE! TURN AROUND! I WANT MY MOMMY! The guy behind me has started the countdown 3...Oh God! 2....Why am I doing this!? 1...Sh****t, JUMP!....Aaaaaaaaaaaaa.......I am falling.....Oh, I am going back up......nope falling again!....oh god Bella & Betty are trying to make an escape ....damn it I chose the wrong Bra.....Crap I am flashing......Double crap this is being filmed......Triple Crap this is being shown live on the big screen inside......I hope no one saw....Ok I am on the boat...Its over....THAT WAS AMAZING!'
The water front was really picturesque, almost looked like a painting. Also to everyone's joy you are allowed to drink there until 10pm.
This place has been voted 'Best Burger in the world' so don't be surprised or deterred by the 45 minute wait to get served. The advise I am going to give you is the same that was given to me, get there an hour before you think you are going to be hungry. Is the burger worth the wait? I think so. Is it the best in the world? As I haven't tried all the burgers in the world I have no idea, however, I am not sure they can taste much better than that!
Drinking Cocktails from Teapots
Queenstown has a reputation for being a party town and it is true, there are a lot of cool bars and if you are after a good night you will have one here. One bar I liked in particular was the Worlds End, it was really close to our hostel, had good music and served cocktails in teapots. Teapots + Alcohol = The english dream.
The quaint little streets
As I mentioned Queenstown is quite small, the town 'centre' is made up of a few cute streets lined with shops, coffee shops and restaurants. It makes for a nice afternoon of window shopping, or torture, whatever you want to call it.
Queenstown was pretty awesome, I could have stayed there a few more days but I don't think I could have stayed longer than a week a) because you would end up spending all your money and b) because as mentioned it is quite small so once you have done the crazy activities and are over the partying there isn't that much to do.
Next section of the tour is the 'Deep South'