Christmas in Queenstown

Thursday, December 25, 2014

It was a beautiful and sunny day in Queenstown. We actually slept in past 9am, which I think is a first the entire trip. It was magical. It wasn’t quite a lay in bed and eat panda express hangover day, but I was not feeling my best. Some of Stina’s friends are randomly in town and were headed up to do the gondola, so we decided to join them. Turns out they were planning on doing the hike up instead of riding the gondola. You all know how I now feel about kiwi hikes. Fool me once, shame on you. But I would not be fooled again. So up Stina and I went in the gondola with the old folks.

View from the top of the skyline gondola
View from the top of the skyline gondola
When we got to the top we had a look around. You can see all of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. They also have a few luge tracks at the top, so we tried our hand at that which was good fun.
Luge track
Luge track
By the end of our gondola adventure we were ready for some beers on the beach, so that is exactly what we did. Merry Christmas to us. The “beach” scene at the lake was quite colorful. We had the hippies, post burn and trying to walk a tight rope between two trees – endlessly entertaining. Then there was the Kiwi Ex bus kids – apparently they white boy rap when drunk. Oh happy day. We took a seat close by for the free entertainment. They came up with a great song.
Beach fun
Beach fun
One chord and a chorus that goes “whooo ooooo, Christmas in Queenstown” over and over and over again. Look for it on the itunes top 10. Dumb shits. The beach scene was fun, but it did confirm our suspicion that our Sweedish boyfriends were the hottest game in town. Rory and Stina for the win. Stina’s friends finally made it back down from the hike after about 4 hours. Needless to say I was quite pleased with our decision to ride the gondola with the members of the Rick Steve’s fan club.

Once we polished off our beer, we went back to the room, showered and popped a bottle of champs before dinner. Home Alone 2 was on one of our 9 channels. Stina heard it from the bathroom and rejoiced at our good fortune. Hark, the comedic genius of Macaulay Culkin. And then it was time for dinner. Another attempt at sit down dining in NZ. Talk about being a glutton for punishment. First, I want you all to recall the blog entry from about a week ago in Able Tasman where we waited an hour to be served pizza by homeless people. It was basically like that except this time our servers were showered. We had 9pm reservations at a Steakhouse with Stina’s friends. After getting a drink at the bar, we were finally seated at 9:45pm. We complained (obviously), drinks were comped, so no harm done. We then sat around eyeing people’s food until they took our order around 10:30pm, and bread came at 10:45pm. I had to stop myself from grabbing a piece before the plate hit the table. It was like the fucking hunger games. I even put salt and pepper on my bread. I think I was trying to pretend it was a piece of meat when I closed my eyes. Food finally came, which was decent but nothing to write home about. Stina’s friend Matt got this truffle bearnaise sauce that was pretty much the highlight of our meal. The staff at the restaurant seemed to think the fact that we were miffed by their shit service was a bit of an overreaction. Apparently we should have been thankful they were even open. Thank you so much, for allowing me to pay you for a service you are in the business of providing. Our server complained to us about having to work such a long day on Christmas. Cry me a fucking river. That ass hole is probably making double time, which equates to at the very least $35 an hour in NZ. Two can play at the giving zero fucks game, buddy. By 12:30am we had finally been fed and Stina and I were exhausted. As we had to be up at 6am for our Milford Sound bus, we headed home. I don’t even remember going to sleep. I think I was in an early REM cycle on the walk home and asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Today we woke up at 6am to catch our bus to the 8th wonder of the world and a world heritage site, Milford Sound! You all know that wherever UNESCO goes, Rory is soon to follow, so I was very excited about today. To do it in one day you basically take a 5 hour bus with some photo op stops, take a two hour boat ride at Milford, and then get back on the bus for another 4 hours back to Queenstown. We slept the first two hours, since our driver told us it doesn’t get good until after that. Then we were herded from place to place with 5 other buses of people trying to take pictures of the exact same shit. Now, when on one of these cookie cutter day tours to a wildly popular tourist attraction in any country you are bound to run into the Chinese bus (cue impending doom music). It cannot be avoided. They travel in large packs and can often be spotted shoving unsuspecting fellow tourists out of the way for a picture of a waterfall. Seriously, don’t fuck with these people if there is a waterfall. They would probably drown their old children racing to get a picture of a rainbow. Kiss all hopes of personal space goodbye when you see this bus. Or if possible, run. We also had a young Middle Eastern couple on one of the other buses and the man literally used his wife as a human shield, pushing her through the crowd to clear his royal path. She seemed sadly apathetic about her wifely travel duties. And then there are the young European girls who treat every stop as if it’s their Maxim test shoot. Although I’m sure the joke will be on me, because when I get home I won’t have an over the shoulder kissy-face shot of myself at a river who’s name I can’t pronounce. Damn you, hindsight.

The boat ride was pretty cool, although the weather was a bit cloudy, so the pics didn’t come out great. But you can google “Milford Sound in the sun”. I probably will too. If I’m being honest, I thought the scenery on the drive in was even more impressive than Milford Sound itself. But then again, its hard to impress me when the sun isn’t out. Suffice it to say I am happy I got to check old Milf off my list but I won’t be taking that 9 hour bus journey again. Nothing too notable for the rest of the evening once we got back, as we were so tired we went right to bed. After all, we have an 8am bungee jump tomorrow to rest up for. Ahhhhh!

Mirror lake
Mirror lake
Some lovely waterfalls on the Milf drive
Some lovely waterfalls on the Milf drive
Stina in a canyon - already forgot the name of it.
Stina in a canyon – already forgot the name of it.
Me on the Milford cruise!
Me on the Milford cruise!

Milford Sound
Milford Sound
It's actually a fjord
It’s actually a fjord

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