Travel Notes: Queenstown

Queenstown is awesome, as described in a previous post. I think I’d like to have a vacation home there some day.

After a long bus ride from Christchurch I arrived and checked into Base, a chain hostel for a young, raucous, action-sports oriented type of crowd. Eight-bunk dorms in tight quarters with minimal personal space. This was going to be fun. 

Here is the classic scenario in Queenstown:

“Are you going out tonight?”

“Eh, I don’t think so.”

“Alright let’s just go for one.”

“Ok.”

Ten beers, $80 and six hours later, 4:00 AM rolls around and the last of the bars make last call.

One girl in my dorm did not come back before 4:00 in any of the four nights I stayed there.

Despite the party atmosphere, there is a lot going on during the day. Skydiving, bungee jumping, kayaking, paragliding…you name it, someone is using gravity creatively.

The Drive to Queenstown Photo Gallery

Queenstown Photo Gallery

Riverboarding

This was the most extreme thing I’ve done so far, which in fact was not all that extreme. It was fun and got the blood pumping a little bit, but the short sections of class 1-3 rapids weren’t enough to really get the big thrill.

Jumping off a 12-meter cliff on the other hand…yes. That was (I think) the highest I’ve ever jumped and was pretty BA. The water slide, rope swing and jet-ski tow were also more fun than expected which made the whole experience worth it. Good times.

Photo Gallery

Milford Sound

Milford Sound was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. To be honest, I really had no idea what this was going to be like. I knew it was a beautiful coastal, perhaps mountainous region where it rains a lot and I like the name for some reason. Let’s check it out. Wow.

The trip included roundtrip bus transportation from Queenstown, four hours each way, and a 1.5 hour cruise through the sound, out to the Tasman sea and back.

Despite being a little prickly early on, I have to say our bus driver really made the trip a great experience. Sorry but I can’t remember his name at the moment. He was quite knowledgable about the history of the geography, as well as the local flora and fauna, of New Zealand and provided excellent commentary throughout the inbound trip.

What I found most interesting was the driver’s explanation of how the world is formed over the millennia: through the action of the glaciers and through the movement of tectonic plates.

While to us the shape of the world does not seem to change much or often, in fact the earth is an extraordinarily turbulent world that is ever moving and changing.

He encouraged us to try to think in terms of geological time – how the action of the glaciers and the movement of tectonic plates shape the earth over millions of years – and provided an excellent quote to reflect on: “our lifespans are so short, we only see the occasional glimpse of its turbulence.”

It would take some time and effort to truly describe Milford Sound, so I’ll just let the photos do the work.

Photo Gallery

Queenstown was a blast but it was time to move..

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