Design a site like this with
Get started

The Queens in Queenstown

On 11/11, we headed to the airport in Sydney to go to Queenstown. While checking our bags at the airport, the friendly woman at the Virgin Australia counter mentioned that we would “be fine, as long as we packed our warmies…”. I turned to Moini, she had a WTF look on her face…”I thought you said it was summer there?” Yep-all my research pointed to November being the beginning of summer, low 70s…I clearly had not researched enough…we didn’t have very many “warmies” but off we went…

We arrived in a windy and chilly Queenstown. It was 35 degrees Fahrenheit (this must be clarified while traveling in this part of the world…the metric system is used here and when you report a temperature, it is assumed that you are reporting in celcius…so remember your F to C calculation!). We were not very well prepared for the cold-two SoCal girls expecting summer in the South of NZ. We learned quickly that the weather in this part of NZ is very variable and that it had just snowed the week before…so off we went to get Moini a more suitable coat (since I had only encouraged a fleece jacket to be brought along in her packed bag…oops).

We stayed in a sweet BnB on Lake Wakatipu, equipped with a fireplace (thank god). We spent a few days relaxing and enjoying Queenstown before leaving for the Milford Track trek-a 34 mile (54 km-ya know, metric system…) hike through the fiordlands of South New Zealand.

We ate some good food:

Fergburger-apparently a must go to. The line was so long and we refused to wait. BUT, no line at 8 am and they serve breakfast sammys! Check it out! Totally yum!

Hit up the Gondola-great views from up there and if you’re feeling childish and silly, ride the luge down. It’s fun and good for at least a few laughs.

While you’re up that big ass hill at the top of Queenstown (the one that took your breath away, quite literally) check out the Kiwi Wildlife Park. We spent the afternoon walking around there and learning about NZ and it’s native plants and birds (there really aren’t many animals here other than the ones people eat, sheer or milk [buffalo, cows, deer, alpaca, sheep): the only native ones were bats). We even saw the resident Morepork owl kill an unsuspecting swallow during the conservation show-guess that’s nature! Pretty sure that wasn’t part of the show, given the look on one of the keepers faces!

There is a great restaurant up there-we hit it up twice in one day which is usually against my rules but it was that good. Bespoke- : a lovely place with outdoor seating, sunshine and food that you can tell was made with care and love. Check out my Instagram page for the food porn pics!

Queenstown is the world’s adventure city-so…we figured we’d better do something other than the luge rides at the Gondola. We checked out the options: I wasn’t into any free falling-that eliminated the Canyon swing and bungee jumping. We were left with only two viable options-jet boating or canyon zip lining (only includes a 5m free fall, which was doable to me). We went for the safer option of jet boating. Why you ask? My rationale: jet boating was invented in NZ so it’s really a local thing to do and what better place to do it than the place where it was invented. That was my rationale-probably my self preservation kicking in there in avoidance of the 5m free fall.

So what is jet boating you are probably wondering, by now. Instead of a prop, the boat has powerful engines that propel it forward at speeds of up to 90 kph (yep-metric…get used to it). The bottom of the boat is flat so it skims over the water and only needs to be in about 6 inch deep water to go. The boat was developed to help fishermen reach destinations that were too shallow to fish with regular boats. They are now mostly used as a tourist attraction, complete with 360 degree spins to stop (boat donuts!).

We drove through Skippers Canyon, one of the top 20 most dangerous roads in the world-lots it windy turns with sheer cliffs (and no guardrails), the river running below. Lord of the Rings and Mission Impossible 6 were filmed in this canyon-so you can imagine the scenery. It was a stunning and the boating was a blast but a bit wet and chilly.

We headed to Ultimate Hikes for our briefing about of trek which would depart QT the following morning. We watched a lovely video about the trail-the video portrayed a family of 4, walking along the trail on a beautiful sunny day. We were stoked, apprehensive and ready! We grabbed our rental packs and a waterproof liner and headed home to do our final packing before our morning departure.

Ramen sounded good for dinner and there was a place just around the corner. We were the only ones in there (score)-and it did not disappoint:

The following morning, we dropped off our suitcases at Info and Track (only 5 bucks per day to keep your bags safe and sound while you’re gone-no reservations needed) and headed to the bus onto the hiking adventure. Did I mention that my travel bud, who agreed to this trek is a self proclaimed “hike hater”…😬

To be continued…


Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Fabulous blog entry….
    Makes me feel like I’m there with you, wish I was… ❤ ❤ ❤

    Queenstown has changed so much from when I was there in 1979. I traveled to Christchurch for an international meeting on rare plant pollination ecology, and spent a week hiking the Routeburn Track on my own. It was summer then as well, and I remember backpacking through snow and heavy rain for days, and the necessity of wading across a raging freezing cold river that was at least 3 feet (a meter ; ) deep that the trail crossed. I woke up one night in a hut with Kea’s, the large NZ parrots, raucously repeatedly sliding down the metal roof. All part of the South Islander’s love for extreme sports?

    So glad to see you back exploring the world, and sharing it with us!!!

    Miss you both!!!


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: