The drive to Queenstown was long - but scenic so the time flew. There is also an etiquette here where whenever you pass another campervan, the drivers wave to each other. A friendly exchange between strangers, its more like a silent "Hey, man, we are living on 4 wheels as well. Enjoy your holiday."
We passed hundreds of campervans heading in the other direction towards Christchurch (thus many waves), many with British flags flying and slogans stuck on the hood in red tape like, "3 Lions and a Kiwi NZ Tour 2005."
Too many photo opportunities along the way. And a winery that beckoned for us to come in out of the cold. Of course we ended up buying a bottle to save for a special occasion. We also went next door to the cheesery and picked up a bit of NZ cheese, apparently the best in the country.
We stopped again at AJ Hacketts Bungy. I had always said it was something I wanted to do -- until I saw it up close and personal. This particular jump was a mere 40m off a bridge (the tallest one is 140m somewhere else in NZ) -- it looked like a lot higher than that. We watched a few people jump. They fell, sprang back up to the bridge and back down to touch the river. They managed to escape unharmed. Watched one man chicken out. It's still a possibility but I don't want to have a heart attack at such a young age. L won't even consider it but would love to watch me do it. Watch this space (Kachoo), I may change my mind...
Arrived in Queenstown and settled into the closest campsite to town. Did I mention it was FREEZING! Literally, -3 to 2 degrees with no signs of warming up. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
We got one of the last available spaces and figured most of the vans were on thier way down to Christchurch for the match. We thought right as there was hardly a woman to be found anywhere. Not bad odds for me!
Not sure what possessed us but we decided to do laundry that night - along with the rest of the campsite. Do you remember how it went in college? If you weren't there to take your clothes from the wash when the cycle finished, someone else would dump your stuff wherever they could find a spot. It was just like that only worse. There was a queue for the machines and when I finally found a dryer, it quit working on me mid-cycle! Think the whole process took 2 hours. Did I mention I turned everything pink as well? Yes, as if things weren't bad enough, I washed the laundry bag with one load and it leaked. Oh well, L is thrilled to wear pink socks!
Next day we decided to take advantage of exploring this gorgeous town. We took a gondola up to the top of the mountain. We spent a good hour or so walking around and watched the paragliders take off and float effortlessly through space. Also had perfect views of the mountains, the lake and of our campsite!
We wanted to take the luge down, but it was out of order bc the track was frozen. Oh well. We took the gondola back down and ended up playing mini-golf indoors. Kept us warm, passed the time and L enjoyed kicking my butt. 201 to 81. Guess Ineed to practice my swing.
We then went into town to explore. Queenstown is a charming, beautiful ski resort town hich reminded me of Boulder. Except the slopes are about 20K from the town. So you have all the charm with none of the mess.
So why didn't we snowboard then? Well, our insurance doesn't cover winter sports and we both agreed that if we attempted to ski after 6 months rest that the results may be disfiguring. Plus, we couldn't be bothered hiring all of the equipment, clothes, etc. just for a day.
We shopped a bit, bought hats and gloves - amazing how that warmed us up. And called it an early evening.
Next day most of the vans had vacated the campsite as we suspected. If only I had waited to do the laundry...
We slept in (a rare occurrence as usually we have to checkout by 10), cooked a big breakfast and went into town and bought tickets to see Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Another relatively cheap and ideal way to spend a freezing winter day. Good film. Spent a few hours at an Internet cafe and then headed to the pub so we could watch the first Lions Tour game. We got there early enough to get seats and the mulled wine tasted oh so good...
The game got off to a bad start with the Lions captain out in the first minute of play due to injury. Ended in an upset - the Lions lost 21-3. Oh well.
We tried to go to another bar afterwards but it was way overcrowded and there was a queue at the bar, so we went back to the van, had some leftovers and had a much earlier night than expected. But that made it a lot easier to leave early the next morning.