New Zealand Part Four: Wanaka, Queenstown and Christchurch

With our flights to Australia starting to loom, the Gap Year Buddy and I had to pick up our pace. We therefore had to leave our bus and hop on another one to get to Queenstown. During the journey, we stopped off at a lake and grabbed a coffee before going for a wander.

That night’s stop was at Wanaka, a town which didn’t seem to have too much exciting stuff going on. Except from a cinema. After a tasty but unfulfilling dinner of nachos and salad, we went off to see Iron Man 2 at the Cinema Paradiso. The screen room was filled with random sofas, armchairs and even a VW Beetle. The projectionist had a slip through the film and the image briefly went but really that just added to the experience. Midway through the film there was an interval. You could tell when it was approaching as you could begin to smell the freshly baked cookies wafting through the door.

After a trip to Base Hostel’s bar, Mint, which involved my first taste of a jaegerbomb (a guy at the bar ordered one too many and so gave us a glass), we went to bed and were then up the next morning to go to Queenstown. We had a couple of scenic stops on the way (plus a trip to Puzzle World which was actually much more fun than it sounds) before making to to be bungee bridge where we watched some people jump before getting told about AJ Hackett Bungy. The biggest bungee jump in New Zealand is the Nevis at Queenstown but since I had already jumped, I signed up to the canyon swing, the Nevis Arc, instead. Something for me to look forward to.

On arrival, we had a group picture with our bus cohort and checked into Nomads Hostel. It seemed to have been recently refurbished and so we were very happy with our choice. We then went to Fergburger, a restaurant that had been recommended to us by a friend. I soon understood why – it was amazing and one of the highlights of the entire trip. No exaggeration.

We then went shopping, where I treated myself to a flag patch to sow on my backpack and a fishhook pendant necklace, which apparently means luck, strength and prosperity. I could do with all of those things.

After dinner we went to Base Hostel’s bar, Altitude, before heading to World Bar where we had been told that if we got a wristband we would get a discount on drinks. With this, we managed to get teapot cocktails for the bargain price of $10 (about a fiver). We went for a Long Island Iced Tea – that one will always see you through. Still, the night didn’t last too long and after a bit of a dance we turned in at 12.30am.

At 8am, I left the Gap Year Buddy sleeping and went out to do my Nevis Arc canyon swing. I was in a group of several people but they were all doing the bungee so I went off to the swing station alone with two supervisors. They had some fun winding me up a bit beforehand and as I sat in my harness, one had to literally kick my feet over the edge to get me to take them off the floor, ready to swing. The guy then held out his hand for a high-five, seeing I was nervous. The moment that I hit his hand, the girl hit the button and I was suddenly swinging through the air with the greatest of ease.

Sitting firmly in my harness, I was less scared than I was for my bungee jump. The experience also lasted for longer. I definitely preferred it. Despite my fear of heights, I was quite happy as my swing slowed and I sat at the bottom of the arc, still many metres up in the air. It was very serene. Having said that, getting dragged back up to the platform at 120m was a tad terrifying. Especially when the supervisors started pushing me like I was on a regular swing and not pulling me back in until I’d come to a complete stop. At least I got the most out of the experience. I was even rewarded with a cap afterwards (those that did the actual bungee jump got a t-shirt).

I got back to Queenstown, grabbed a Tropical Swine Fergburger (with beef, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, relish and pineapple – don’t knock it, until you try it) and did a bit of a shop before squeezing in a nap before the night’s antics commenced. Our old bus group had caught up with us, bringing with it all the familiar faces that we had left behind a couple of days ago. We met up with them at Altitude bar before moving on to World Bar and then to Fergburger for chips on the way home. There’s only a handful of hours everyday where that place is not open – thank god. I was delighted when I realised it was still open in the early hours.

After a fantastic last night out in Queenstown, we made it to bed at some point between 3-4 am and were then up at 7.15 am and out an hour later on the bus to Christchurch.  Those six hours on the coach were not a pleasant experience. Christchurch was a bit dreary when we finally arrived and and we ended up having a movie night in at the hostel as we really didn’t feel up to anything else!

The next day, after a nice lie in which was slightly disturbed by housekeeping, we wandered about some shops in town and then found a Wagamama. Christchurch quickly improved with this discovery. Feeling very satisfied after a Yaki Soba and Katsu Curry (our standard orders),  we found a little market before going to the Art Gallery, which wasn’t huge but wasn’t bad. And that was pretty much it. We went to the bar that night, after a dinner of cheese and harm toasties with stale cheesy nachos, to check out some live music but we didn’t stay for long as we needed our sleep for Australia.

Read about the rest of my trip:

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