It’s March now and it’s almost been a month since I came back in February; February 6th to be exact, the day when (some) New Zealanders celebrate the signing of New Zealand’s founding document, The Treaty of Waitangi, aptly known as Waitangi Day. I landed in Queenstown International and hitched a ride into town. Upon arriving, I thought I could try my luck in scoring a hostel room simply by walking in and asking for one; big mistake. After being rejected numerous times from nearly every hostel, I thought I’d try one last time before I called it quits and found myself a park bench to sleep under (mind you, this is all happening at 10 in the morning, after a 17 hour flight from SFO the day before). I try my luck at the Alpine Lodge Backpacker hoping they have a room for the night. I walk in and Tim, the receptionist, greets me with a cheery, English accented, “Hello!” (for what it’s worth, even though you English folks are in every, single, hostel I stay at, you guys make some decent hosts) I ask, pretty much in desperation, if there were any rooms available, and just my luck, he did (FUCK YEAH!) and I book for two nights, which came out to $56 NZD. After chatting it up with him, I noticed that the hostel can also book adventure tourism at a discounted price, if you’re a BBH member. I recalled a promise to myself that the first thing I’d do when I got back to New Zealand was that I’d go skydiving. With no hesitation, I asked Tim to book me a time slot at 8 am for the next day. After exchanging pleasantries, I quickly drop my bags in my room, thanked Tim (again), and began wandering around town with new found energy. First thing I did was check out the local supermarket, J.F.C were groceries pricey in the south; ~$5 NZD for 2 litres of milk, my rather large appetite isn’t very sustainable for my limited NZD funds (I eat for a family of three unfortunately ]:). It definitely pays for itself when you have two people cooking for both, pool your resources!! Don’t get me wrong Queenstown is stunning, but deer lord is it pricey. Below is a picture from the waterfront looking out at Lake Wakatipu, pretty.But don’t let the inflated prices dissuade you from visiting Queenstown, by all means, do come to see this beautiful place. There’s free things to do like, climb the Ben Lomond Track; the views are stunning from 1748 metres high. .
(Yours truly looking out at the horizon)
The next day, not even 12 hours after I’ve landed, I hop onto another plane, and (willingly) jump out of it; only this time, we’re flying at 15,000 ft. Watch it here. Spending a week in Queenstown had definitely hurt my bank, so I used the last trip on my Nakedpassport, from when I was here in October of last year, and booked it to Wanaka, my next destination. Wanaka, this lakeside town is nestled in the mountain ranges in the southern end of Lake Wanaka and is similar to Taupo up in the north island. There’s a TON of cheap and free things to do here, like swimming in the lake when the weather is warm, standup paddle boarding, tandem kayaking, hike the numerous tracks scattered throughout Wanaka, camp over in Albert Town at the DOC site for a small fee, or surf/boogie board the wave at the Hawea Waterpark (you’ll be lucky if you manage to have this place to yourself, as there’s many freestyle Kayakers that frequent the spot). The river right off Mt. Aspiring Rd is a great place to go rock jumping or rock climbing. For time being (read: until I have money again), I’m currently basing myself here in Wanaka, ideally until June, New Zealand’s snow season. TL;DR: Stranded in Wanaka, New Zealand is awesome.