On April 4 Eric and I flew to San Francisco, CA and then boarded a giant Boeing 777 bound for Auckland New Zealand. I must compliment New Zealand Air’s good inflight service and decent or airplane meals. However, 12 hour flights are never comfortable, especially in economy. When we landed in Auckland it was early morning April 6. We lost an entire day not only due to the flight time, but the massive time change. Not to mention we left WA is Spring and arrive in New Zealand and Autumn! It was warm and sunny though and Eric and I gratefully stretch on legs and walked to the Domestic Terminal. There we boarded yet a third, plane and landed finally in Queenstown on the South Island at 12:30pm.

On our shuttle ride to the hostel Eric and I learned three things:
1.Kiwis and Aussies apparently have very different accents although we couldn’t tell the different
2. Queenstown is just like Jackson Hole, WY: a very expensive outdoor sport resort town.
3. Fergburger has the best burgers in town and always has a line out the door.

After Eric and I checked into our private room at YHA Queenstown Lakefront Hostel we set out to explore. Queenstown is set on Lake Wakatipu which is large and Z shaped. There are town main things that drive NZ’s economy: agriculture and tourism. We could definitely see the tourism part here. The streets were lined with shops advertising jet boating, sledging, bungy jumping, rafting. guided treks, shuttles, ziplining, luge…. etc etc etc. In-between all of this were lots and lots of outdoor sport stores. We stopped in the climbing shop “Small Planet Sports” and checked out the rock climbing guides vowing to return someday for more technical endeavors.

We went to Outside Sports next. Upstairs is the Queentown Dept. of Conservation (DOC) Visitor Center to pick up our hut tickets. Eric and I planned to spend two nights in huts along the Routeburn Track, one of NZ’s “Great Walks”. These huts book fast and we had reserved them via the DOC website about the year in advance. The tickets are about $55pp. We also planned to spend two nights on The Greenstone Track. The huts on this regular trail just require a green back-country hut permit that cannot be purchased in advance nor can you purchase them for a particular hut. The pass will work at any non- Great Walk hut and cost $15pp per night.

By now were were hungry so we decided to do our tradition of trying pizza in a different country so i could complain about how much America’s pizza sucks. We went to a hole in the wall called SLICE Pizza and ordered a Veggie Melody which I would highly recommend. It was much better than American Pizza and did not feature grease as the main topping. We then  dropped into Cookie Time, a satellite shop for Christchurch’s giant Cookie Time Factory for a quick look and a cookie (suggested Afghan Cookie. YUM!).

We headed over to Alpine Supermarket for some final provisions. Not that calories are not used, energy is measured to kJ which is totally different. Also, wholemeal= whole wheat. There was a section just for lamb alongside the beef. Lamb here was cheap probably since there are so many sheep in NZ. All other food was about $2-3 more expensive than The States even though the exchange rates were pretty much even. We also picked up a carton of Hokey Pokey icecream. It was $4.00 for the gallon or $4.00 a scoop in the ice cream shop (or Dairy as they say in NZ) down the street.

Back the the hostel which was well appointed with friendly staff we made our reservations for the Kawarau Bridge Bungy (the staff there will made the calls for you) and had some ice cream. Hokey Pokey is basically NZ’s signature flavor. It is vanilla ice cream freckled with honey. I recommend highly. Now off to bed…. hopefully jet lag with be gone by the morning.

 

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