Callum’s 2016 Adventures: South Island, New Zealand pt.2

I was in New Zealand and met this girl. Her sister dared me to bungee jump, so I did!
It was a spur-of-the-moment decision.
I wanted to impress the girl, and it worked!
– Theo James

Queenstown: 07.12.16 – 08.12.16

Queenstown, adventure capital of the world. Home of endless activities, mountains of food and hours of drink. Queenstown should come with a warning really, something like ‘beware, once you arrive you may never want to leave’.

My time in Queenstown was split by a day trip to Milford Sound, so I’ll split up my writing about it in a similar fashion.

We arrived into Queenstown on a Wednesday. En route I decided that a year without a bungy jump was a year too long. Fortunately we stopped off at the Kawarau Bridge, home of the worlds first commercial bungy jump. At 43m it is smaller than my Cairns jump the previous year, but I didn’t care. I asked for a water touch and ‘Tricky’ came on just before I jumped. It was grand and the reactions of those I was travelling with were great – watching me jump even gave them the confidence to attempt it themselves at a later date!

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43m Kawarau Bridge Bungy – the original commercial bungy jump

In Queenstown, Wednesday night also means bar crawl. Unlike the standard bar crawl (which takes place nearly every night), Wednesday & Friday night also include entry to the Ice Bar. Drunken-ness ensued and a good time was had by all. There were a lot of us as well. Queenstown ended up acting as a meeting point for a mini Kiwi reunion, as some people had sped off ahead of the rest of us at previous stops.

So, what do you think is the best hangover cure? For some reason, myself and quite a few others thought the answer a bungy jump. Yes, that’s right. Another one. On the cards this time? New Zealands highest bungy at 134m, the Nevis.

Boom, bungy. Boom Nevis swing. All over in no time at all. My third time at the bungy rodeo. I’d already learnt that the varying heights don’t make a bungy more difficult, because it’s all psychological. However, many of the guys I was travelling with had the Nevis as their first ever bungy jump, so I was filled with pride at their accomplishment.

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134m Nevis Bungy – New Zealand’s highest bungy jump

Milford Sound Explorer Trip: 09.12.16

Originally my trip to Milford Sound was supposed to lead onto a 2d/2n trip around New Zealand’s Deep South, with overnight stays in Invercargill and Dunedin. However, I made the executive decision not to continue on to the Deep South because most of the people I travelled through New Zealand with would be leaving the day I returned. As a result, I decided to prioritise extra time with them, something that I did not regret whatsoever.

What was really nice about the Milford Sound trip is that I would be able to experience it with my cousin Maire, and her boyfriend Luis. I actually have quite a bit of my Dad’s family based in Victoria, Australia and I don’t get to see them very often for the obvious reason of flights and finance. When visiting them last year, I learnt that Maire planned on being in New Zealand at a similar time to me, so we thought we would try and see if we could make our paths cross. That is where Milford comes in.

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Maire and Luis recreating the iconic pose from the Titanic

This may be just the opinions of Kiwi’s, but Milford Sound is often considered to be the (un)official 8th wonder of the world. The funny thing is it isn’t actually a sound, but a fiord, because it was formed from a glacier.

Anyway, the weather could have been a lot better during my visit. It was cloudy and, as a result, I don’t think it gave off the same effect as many other people I spoke to experienced. Saying that, the drive down was something special, with beautiful scenic sights on all sides. It’s quite a long drive from Queenstown to Milford and the scenery certainly makes that sort of journey much easier.

Despite the fact I am probably not selling Milford Sound in this post, it is well worth a visit. You don’t want to miss out – just hope that you have better weather than I did!

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The drive to Milford Sound

Queenstown: 10.12.16 – 13.12.16

As mentioned at the start of this post, Queenstown has plenty of places to eat. In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to guess that over 60% of the buildings in Queenstown are somewhere that you can eat or drink at. Most people who do visit are made aware of Fergburger quite early. After all, it’s a burger joint with a worldwide reputation. What you may not be aware of though, is that Ferg also have a really good bakery and ice cream parlour under their brand.

On the other side of Queenstown is the lesser known – but equally as good (or better in my opinion) – Devil Burger, which has a growing reputation and fan base.

Last, but definitely not least, is Fat Badgers, home of the 20″ pizza. Their chicken wings are also amongst the best I have ever had.

Being party central, the return to Queenstown saw drinking happen in the evening, whilst a turn in the weather meant not a lot went on in the day. However, I did ride through Skippers Canyon on a jetboat which was pretty cool. There are two main companies who offer their services for this, but Skippers go through the part of the canyon used in LotR when Arwen is being chased on horseback by the dark riders, so of course that won out.

Sunsets, riding a mechanical bull and more drinking saw my time in Queenstown peter out, with my journey in New Zealand slowly winding down.

Lake Tekapo: 14.12.16 – 15.12.16

Home of the bluest lake I have ever seen in my life, as well as the oft-photographed Good Shepherd Church, Tekapo is a very quiet place with not much else going on. Literally. The ‘village’ by the lake is made up of around 10 buildings at a push. That’s because most people go to Tekapo for the stars. It is a place where light pollution is prevented as much as possible, with tours to the top of Mt John arranged for the best ‘star experience’.

The thing about seeing stars at night is that you need a clear sky, which we certainly didn’t have. In fact, at one point, it was warmer in England than it was in Tekapo!

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Christchurch: 16.12.16 – 17.12.16

The last stop on my amazing Kiwi Experience journey and the end of an insanely awesome adventure. Of course, one last night in New Zealand meant one last night out… which ended up being a lot more expensive than I imagined it would, mainly due to the price of drinks!

Christchurch itself was hit by a terrible earthquake a few years ago, which left the city in disarray. Many of the scars the city recieved are still worn, and it is yet to recover enough to return to what it once was, something I truly hope changes soon.

The gardens are really beautiful though. A great place to relax and chill out in.

This trip really was a once in  lifetime experience. Due to the friends and memories made, I am unsure about travelling around New Zealand with Kiwi Experience again. In fact, I’d probably try get a car/van with some people and drive around myself. I will definitely be returning to New Zealand though, it is too beautiful not to. Also, there are so many places I want to spend longer in and so many things I wasn’t able to do this time round that I would like to have a shot at.

Fortunately, time is on my side. So a final farewell the. Kia Ora New Zealand. Kia Ora.

for North Island pt.1, click here
for North Island pt.2, click here
for South Island pt.1, click here

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