Secker Goes Globetrotting
7th Jun 2012 - 9th Jun 2012
Queenstown part 2
I spent the best part of the morning working out my new travel plans after my last minute decision to stay longer in Queenstown. My main goals were to find a way to fly back to Auckland but still somehow make it to Kaikoura on the east coast to go whale watching. I found a way, take the kiwi bus all the way through to Kaikoura then take a public bus back to Christchurch which was only a couple of hours then stay one night there and fly the next morning. This still gave me 2 days for any transport hiccups so I wouldn't miss my flight to LA. With all that organizing out the way I headed out for a walk. I wasn't feeling up to either of the big walks so I headed out around the lake again but continued further round towards Frankton. It provides a lovely view of The Remarkable mountains and lake wakatipu. The way Queenstown is built means that after about 2pm the sun sinks behind Ben Lomond mountain and the town is mostly in the shade. This makes it that little bit colder so the more I walked round the side of the lake I was on the further into the shadows I went. I was well prepared on top but I was wearing jeans and the cold just seemed to stick to them and make my legs freezing. Eventually I headed back towards the warmth of town - I did do about 5 miles in total, not bad for what was meant to be a short stroll in the sunny weather. I headed for the warmth of Starbucks - tried to catch up on my steadily growing behind blog and read some of my book, and mostly get warm. Undecided about what to do with the rest of my day, I checked out what was on at the cinema. Prometheus was showing in he early evening and I settled on doing that. First I needed some food, I decided to try Fergbergers bakery for a pie. Lamb and sweet potato. Best pie ever.
I settled down for Prometheus. I hadn't really been keeping up with movie news like I would back home but I knew there was alot of hype around Ridley Scott's new film and I'd seen a trailer so thought I vaguely knew what it was about. About 45 minutes in, I started to have 2nd thoughts on whether I should have come to see it at all. Reminiscent his Alien films, the latter half of the film had me hiding behind my jumper/hands - whichever provided the best shield.
The fact it scared me doesn't mean it wasn't good, but I could feel a sleepless/nightmare riddled sleep ahead.
I can only remember the one nightmare but it was enough. Damn Alien related scary films. Iain, don't ever watch it ok?!
I had a choice of two walks today - Queenstown hill again to make it to the top, or walk the Ben Lomond track up to the top of the gondola. I settled on the Lomomd one as it was supposedly tougher and I hadn't walked it. I set off with my pack lunch and as many layers as I needed, minus the jeans this time. The track weaves through the forest, taking you along and then up - there were some steep moments but actually it wasn't as bad as i thought it would be. The start of the track is not a well defined path so it was a bit like scrambling over wet rocks and tree roots - I hadn't picked the best day to do it as it rained overnight! At one point it started to snow too. It took about 90 minutes for me to make the trip up. It says it should take about an hour so I was happy with my effort. My Nike gps app says it was 2 miles from the bottom of the hill to the top. I stopped for a bite of lunch and a rest at the top and a look at the wonderful view. I think over the time I was in Queenstown I got a little obsessed with the mountain range The Remarkables, I never tired of looking at them or taking photos from the various different viewpoints. I was going to miss them when I finally left on Sunday. While eating lunch the snow started to fall a bit heavier and so I decided i needed to start the walk down, I wasn't really prepared for a heavy snow fall if it came. I needn't have worried, it stopped about 10 minutes into the walk down. I passed other walkers taking the stroll up, near the bottom I got asked how much further- I didn't lie, they had a bit to go yet - and if they were asking because they were already tired (which I think two girls were) then they were in for a surprise! Towards the end my tired legs made a few silly mistakes while clambering down the wet rocks and tree roots but nothing more than a couple of bumps and bruises. I felt like I'd earned my Starbucks for today - with the walk through town the total length of my walk was 5 miles - 2 uphill and 2 downhill too. I was pooped. After a nice hot shower I nipped next door to other burger joint in town. Sadly not as good as Fergbergers but it was closer and dead so a less stressful experience.
And so came my last day in Queenstown. My friend Jenny was in town and had booked us tickets on a boat ride for $15 starting at lunchtime. The boat took us out onto the lake giving us wonderful views of Queenstown and my favorite Remarkables. It was a beautiful day for it! We also got to test the water in the lake - it provides the drinking water for the town and tasted much better direct from the lame than it does from the taps. After lunch we went to see the local rugby team play. Her sisters fiancée plays for the local team and by the time we got there it was almost half time. The locals were winning and went on the win. Watching a local match at close quarters was interesting. I started to understand a bit more about what happens than I did watching the Wellington match because I could see exactly what happened. Mostly it looked pretty painful. But it gave me more knowledge of how rugby is played so when we went to watch the All Blacks game later on in the evening on tv I followed what was happening much more. I was more excited about seeing the Haka at the start of the game than the actual match but he match was still good. The All Blacks won of course, beating Ireland by a fair amount. It was time to say bye to Jenny again, for good this time - or at least until we're back in the same country at the same time which will be a few months yet. Perhaps next time we'll actually see each other in our home country rather than randomly on the opposite side of the world! One more pint with another friend in my favourite bar, Monty's before bed and the Queenstown chapter of my NZ trip was at an end.
I was excited about going to Kaikoura but otherwise I was feeling a little melancholy about the end of my NZ trip.
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