So they say Queenstown is the adventure capital. I would say it is the tourist, Asians with cameras, hungry pigeons, and $5 Dominos pizza capital.
Same thing though right?
So, as soon as I arrived in Queenstown I fell in love. (That didn’t fully change but my opinion shifted a little..) anyways, there was just so much going on. People/backpackers everywhere. As soon as I arrived I placed my stuff in the storage room at the hostel and I took off on a walk.
I went into Vudu, a well known cafe to grab a coffee. As I was waiting in line four guys in front of me turned around and asked where I was from. (Okay obviously they didn’t all turn around at once but I don’t remember which one it was). Two of them were from Alaska, one from New Jersey/New York (sorry don’t remember) and the other was from Germany. They invited me to sit at their table and as we were chatting they asked what I had planned the rest of the day. I had no plans so they said,”Well, your hanging out with us then.”
So, that’s what I did. I hopped in the car and off we went. They decided to drive to Glenorchy which is about an hour out of Queenstown but we took a detour to Moke Lake on the way. I probably should have been sitting in the back like.. Okay now I’m gonna be killed but instead I was enjoying their music choices. The guys were super keen to pet the horses so naturally we had to make our way over to them.
We headed back a bit later and after I checked into my hostel I was walking to the market and happened to see the guys walking around (with some new sun glasses, nice.) this turned out to be the case for the next couple of days. They were everywhere. It’s a small island.
I was sitting by the lake later that night when a French guy came up and introduced himself. We headed back to the common area of my hostel and met up with four other French travelers, a guy from Germany, and a girl from Holland. A bit later Anton joined us as well and we sat around and passed around a guitar (skipped myself). We went out dancing for a bit and I headed back to hostel quite early.
Afterwards I Facetimed my parents and took advantage of my hostels incredible view of the lake. I also had a nice view of a certain type of people who were taking 5 million selfies. They were featured on snapchat for sure. I met a couple of kiwis at my hostel who had just run a half marathon who I ended up hanging out with for the evening. We wandered around for a bit and I decided to head back to my hostel when I ran into some Australian guys.
I ended up hanging out with them for a bit and tried my first Kebob which is apparently what EVERYONE eats. I wasn’t really a fan. The guys have an awesome outdoor clothing brand called Invicta Venture – Check it out people.
The next morning I did the “highest cliff jump in the world”. Here’s the deal.. Those guys are way too good at their job. We were taken up in a van to the site where we had to hike over to the platform. I actually met a guy who had lived in Missoula Montana for 6 years that was working there. SMALL FREAKING WORLD. We put on our harnesses and you are required to wear closed toed shoes (<–why does that look weird? Not sure) anyways, yeah so mine were stolen in Auckland so my only options were my hiking boots or climbing shoes.. I went for the climbing shoes.
I paid for two jumps and my indecisive personality could not decide how in the world to do my jumps so eventually I asked the workers what the scariest options were. The first jump I did was not really a jump. I was strapped in and then hung upside down. The guy said “do you want a countdown or do you want…” And then just released the leaver. So, that was slightly breathtaking. It was pretty incredible because I had an amazing view of the canyon below while heading straight toward it.
I came back up and some other people did their swing. For my second one they suggested I jump backwards because it would feel like a huge lead fall when climbing. I thought it was a pretty good idea. So, here is where coordinated Cortney comes in.
I’m standing on the edge while the guys are messing with me pretending to push me. I was getting that anxious feeling in my heart and I said “I seriously don’t know if I’m gonna be able to do it” and then I decided I probably should just go for it. Without warning I jumped backward off the edge. The guys weren’t quite ready so I think I gave them a heart attack (judging by their faces in the video I received). Apparently my body decided jumping backward wasn’t enough and I ended up doing a backflip instead which was pretty neat. I couldn’t help but laugh the whole time.
That evening I wandered around and watched all the street performers. I heard way too many American jokes and Asians with cameras jokes. I took a walk around the lake and it felt a little like home. I ran into the guys from Alaska and grabbed ice cream before heading back to my hostel.
The next morning I decided I would summit Ben Lomond. I didn’t actually think my legs would make it so I headed out way unprepared without food or water but figured I would start and see how it went. I started on the tiki trail which leads to the top of the gondola. (Some people opt to take the gondola up to start the hike). I bought a water and headed off on the next part of the hike. I just kept going and going and was way faster than I expected.
I reached the summit and was so hungry but had no food with me because I truly didn’t think I would make it. (Bad outlook) I had a 360 degree view of Queenstown and the rugged surrounding mountains. I decided to jog down the mountain where I could, it felt so good to cruise down amongst the incredible scenery.
That evening I did the backpacker dinner in Queenstown. What’s this? $5 pizza from dominos. I had been cooking all of my meals but was out of groceries.. I later found out Anton had been having pizza every day. So funny. This is the cheapest food option in Queenstown so… had to. I sat by the lake and essentially got attacked by birds and ducks. Those things are vicious when they want your food.
I made a cup of instant coffee (ew.. My life) and right after pouring in the boiling hot water a guy bumped into me and the water scorched my hand. People immediately started grabbing ice and burn ointment because they knew how hot the water was. It ended up still blistering pretty bad and lasted for way too long.
I took my coffee out by the lake just to sit and enjoy the peaceful night. A young guy (18) walking by said “Hey are you okay? You look lonely” and he sat down by me. Turns out he was the one quite lonely and I think God wanted me to have a chat with the kid. He told me his life story. I don’t know if he took a breath for the next hour while talking and shedding some tears. I tried to offer him some words of hope and he was so thankful.
He headed off on his way and I headed back to the hostel. Things like that make me realize how thankful I am to live the life I do.
So, that was the first round of Queenstown. I am headed back tomorrow but much has happened inbetween.