Day 15 – Franz Josef to Wanaka
I woke up to my 6.30am alarm absolutely freezing as somebody opened up the sliding door to the outside during the night (after I shut it at 1am). Waking up with the hump, I slammed the door shut and practically ran to the shower, which was underwhelming and didn’t heat up fully. After making sandwiches for lunch, we loaded our stuff onto the bus and left Franz at 7.30am. We had a long bus journey ahead of us, but this was broken up by a number of breathtaking stops. The first stop was at 8.30am at Lake Matheson. Firstly, we stopped at the memorial for the kiwi experience passengers who lost their lives in a plane accident during a skydive. We then took the 20 min walk to the first viewpoint. The lake mirrors the scenery and is so beautiful (you can see from the pics). After leaving so early (and not eating), we took in the views by eating breakfast in the cafe. You pay for the views, but the cream cheese bagel was such a luxury – so much so that we bought bagels for breakfast the next day. After the walk, we stopped at Haast beach for a couple of pics. It was pretty and made even better by the beautiful weather, however the sand flies make the stop very quick. We were all bitten all over so ran back to the bus. The bus was also full of them, so the poor bugs were swatted by cardigans, bottles and knuckles. We stopped for lunch in Hasst (a town of about 10 people) and then carried on to Mount Apiring National Park to visit a very pretty waterfall. Carrying on our long journey (I slept through a lot of it after a rubbish nights sleep) to the Lake Hawea view point. The lake was huge and so blue. Luckily we were almost at Lake Wanaka and checked into our hostel for the night, Base. The weather was still beaut so we went to visit the lake. We actually managed a swim and a dive off the pontoon. It was cold, but well worth it, especially as it was a freshwater lake (so I didn’t mind getting my hair wet). After a quick food shop, we showered and headed out to Red Star burgers for dinner. Another challenge on my vegetarian mission was not eating a massive beef burger. I chose the virgin veggie burger (a falafel and salad mix) and absolutely loved it. We were all so stuffed, but managed a drink in the pub after as it was a Saturday night and they had free wifi – winning. A long driving day, but the scenery more than made up for it.
Day 16 – Wanaka to Queenstown
We were sad to leave Wanaka as it was such a nice little town with loads of bars/ restaurants, but as the weather wasn’t brilliant, we wouldn’t have been able to do much with an extra day. After a fancy breakfast of bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon, we got on the coach and headed towards queenstown. Just outside Wanaka, we stopped at puzzling world. This place is full of illusions and things to make you question life in general. We also attempted the maze. Sadly it was raining, so after reaching each of the 4 towers, we decided to call it a day and use the emergency exit – don’t judge, we were already soaked! Our next stop was at Jones’ fruit stall for fresh fruit and ice cream. The ice cream was amazing. They mixed fresh fruit with icecream right in front of you to create your own flavour. I had mixed berries and frozen yoghurt- it was a dream. Jack opted for cookies and cream (minus the fruit obvs). We had good weather when we arrived in Queenstown, so were able to stop at the Kawarau bridge. This was the first commercial bunny bridge in the world. We had previously booked onto the Nevis swing, so paid for that whilst we were there. Jack was debating whether or not to do a bungy, but soon decided he wanted to after seeing other people being fully dunked in the water! More on our jumps later. The afternoon in Queenstown was pretty chilled as we were preparing for a big night out with the rest of the people on our bus. $10 paid for our BBQ and bar crawl (with cheap drinks) with kiwi experience and also got us a snazzy wristband. I opted out of the chicken wings and ribs and opted for halloumi and pepper skewers with couscous. It was so nice and made a lot of the meat eaters jealous. The veggie option obviously came out a while after the meat though 🙄. We started the bar crawl in Red Rock where we had our BBQ and then headed to Loco Cantina followed by The World Bar – that was my fave bar mainly due to the fact that they sold cocktails in tea pots, so cute. We made our way home around midnight to make sure we got some sleep before the big swing tomorrow. Our hostel (YHA Lakefront) was so nice and very comfortable. The kitchen was such a contrast to those that I have bitched about in previous posts so we can actually cook a decent meal.
Day 17 – Queenstown
We both slept well and felt refreshed (luckily). After lunch/late breakfast, we headed over to the bungy shop for check in. After some admin and a short drive, we arrived at the Nevis swing. At 120m high, the suspended pod looked pretty scary but we powered through and walked over the metal walk way to the platform. We were both pretty chilled in comparison to our mates and managed to go first out of our group. We chose to swing together facing forwards (the standard way). This way we got to see everything too. After being strapped up, we were wrenched out and left hanging in our harnesses. When the countdown began, my heart started to thud. The 70m free fall at the beginning was the scariest bit as it felt like we weren’t strapped into anything. Once we started to swing through the 300m, I relaxed and enjoyed the scenery. I screamed the whole time but absolutely loved it. The photos and video footage is hilarious. We had a celebratory beer in the sun after and then did a food shop (fun right). After a home cooked pesto pasta, we headed into town for an icecream. Mrs Ferg’s gelato was something else (and we have eaten our weight in gelato since coming away). Definitely worth a try.
Day 18 – Queenstown
The most miserable day so far, it rained all day! We had a chilled morning and headed into town around lunchtime to get our bearings and do some shopping. Queenstown isn’t very big, so we quickly got to know where everything was and identify the best places to shop. Jack bought a ridiculously cheap top in the Huffer shop (was on sale, with an extra 10% off) and I went on the hunt for souvenirs. We were meant to meet up with some friends for an all important Ferg Burger, but decided that the weather would ruin the experience (there’s not really an eat in option) and opted for a hot chocolate followed by my first veggie Mexican. Coyote grill was really cute and offered a $20 fajita special before 7pm. Everyone went for chicken and beef fajitas, whereas I had the veggie option – I really wasn’t disappointed. The fajita mix had the right amount of spice and was full of shredded veg, yum! We found a quirky bar called Cowboys for an after dinner drink and then headed home. As it was still raining, we got soaked on the way home, so were grateful for our nice dry bunks.
Day 19 – Queenstown
Today was blue skies and no rain in sight – it’s made what can happen overnight. It was also the day of Jack’s bungee, but as we had the morning free, we decided to go up the gondola and experience the luge. We were stuck behind two Chinese tour busses in the ticket line, but that soon moved and we paid for our tickets (kiwi experience had an offer of $49 for the gondola and 4 luge rides). The Gondola is so high and offers fantastic views, but the luge is what we really came for. If you’ve never been on a luge, it’s kind of like downhill go karting in a sledge which you can steer (and break). They have a little ski lift which takes you higher than the gondola and to the start of the track (again, amazing views). On our first go, we were shown how to use the luge and had to go on the smaller track. It was so much fun but the fun really started on our next go. The fast track was full of sharp bends and steep downhill sections. I nearly fell out a couple of times. We were probably going a little too fast as ended taking out a few children (not badly, they were going way too slow for the fast track) and overtaking everyone else. It was so much fun and so worth the money. We left the top of the mountain to head back to the bungee shop, however it was bad news for Jack. Due to the heavy rain the day before, he wasn’t able to be dunked in the water (what he really wanted to do), so we rescheduled to a few days time. This left us with a free afternoon – nothing that another icecream and a Ferg Burger couldn’t fix. Patagonia is another ice cream parlour loved by locals and tourists. The cones are giant and for an extra dollar (not two Sanne), you could have melted chocolate poured on top. Obvs I was greedy and had the chocolate. After letting the food baby disappear, we headed to Ferg. The queue is notorious, but we only ended up waiting 40 mins in total, which wasn’t bad. The burgers are mad! I stuck to my guns and picked the Bun Laden, full of falafel, yoghurt, avo and salad. Definitely one of the best burgers ever!!! All the meat eaters also demolished theirs and said the same. A day full of food and fun activity!
Day 20 – Milford Sound
An 8.30 start wasn’t too bad, until we got on the bus and had the grumpiest bus driver ever (he later apologised). The drive was about 6 hours, with numerous stops for loos and viewpoints. The viewpoints on the way to Milford were actually better than Milford Sound itself (it’s a Fjord not a Sound appaz) which was probably due to the cloudy skies. Once we arrived at Milford Sound, we jumped on an hour and half boat trip. Although the weather was cloudy, it wasn’t too cold, until we got on the top deck of the boat. It was crazy windy and sooo cold. I was feeling it through my rain jacket and hoody. Luckily the boat had free tea and coffee to warm us up. The commentary was good, although we couldn’t really hear it from the middle deck. I mean, Milford Sound was pretty, but I can imagine that it is pretty fine on a day with blue sky. The journey back was long and boring as it was back the on the same road. I managed to get a few hours sleep which was good, but we were majorly craving McDonald’s. We practically ran to get food when we got off the coach and made it to McD’s, however were slightly disappointed that they didn’t serve loaded fries, or triple cheeseburgers (for Jack). We are gonna have such a shock when we go to McDonald’s back home 😂. I’m glad we did the day trip, but would only go back if the weather was perfect.
Day 21 – Back in Queenstown
Jack’s bungee was booked in for 12pm so we arrived at the shop at 11.30am ready for check in. Luckily, the water touch was going ahead, so we boarded the bus for the Kawarau bridge. The K bridge was the first commercial bungee in the world, so definitely a memorable one to do. The weather was lovely and the river so pretty, so a great day to do it. Jack was so calm, as was I until I saw him on the platform. For some reason my heart was racing, but it looked so cool and Jack loved it. He was so soaked from being dunked into the river, but changed into the souvenir t-shirt for the way home. We ate and then relaxed before heading into town for another Ferg burger. The Cod Father was yummy (like a giant fish finger sandwich with all the trimmings). After, we picked up some drinks and headed to the campsite our friends were staying at. There’s definitely something about sleeping amongst trees. The temperature really dropped each evening so we were ready to head back to our warm (but busy) from room before midnight.
Day 22 – our last day in Queenstown
We had exhausted all the activities which we wanted to do, and so much money, so we had a day of organising and washing. It was pretty productive, as we booked the rest of our trips accommodation and sorted out our road trip route for USA. There were a couple of tops that I hadn’t been able to wear for a week or so, so it was also nice to have clean clothes. It was a really nice day, so we went into town at late afternoon to chill in a beer garden and for an early dinner – we had both been craving a curry, so that’s what we ate. Pub on the wharf did what it said on the tin. We spent an hour or so here people watching and enjoying the views (plus great weather). I had my very first veggie curry and enjoyed it so much that I over ate and felt grim for the rest of the evening. After our curry, Jack had an icecream, and I stupidly bought a donut even though I was so stuffed, but I really wanted to try one from Balls and Bagels. Turns out the donut was nasty and had no flavour. What a waste of $8! We met some friends after for a trip to below zero (one of two ice bars in QT). We managed to get a deal which meant just buying a drink rather than paying the usual $20 entry fee which was great. We got kitted out in furry coast and gloves then went into the bar to try one of their cocktails. Yes, it actually is freezing! The sculptures and ice hockey table was pretty cool, but after half an hour we were all so cold, so threw our tumblers made out of ice into the ice bin and headed outside. Definitely worth the $13, although probably wasn’t the best idea to cure the cold which had been brewing for a few days, so added to the overeating, I didn’t feel too great and headed to bed at 9pm!
We had such a great time in Queenstown and probably some of the best weather during our time in NZ (so far). If we were working over here, this would definitely be the place that I would be able to live and work. I can imagine the ski season is so cool too.
Only a couple of stops left in NZ which will be in my next post. Really can’t believe we have less than 2 months left now 😪. We are both already starting to plans for when we are back to get over the “holiday” blues.
Love as always xx