It only took 21 hours of travel, two flights, jumping a day into the future and no sleep to get from Los Angeles, CA to Queenstown, NZ.
Not too bad.
To say I felt like a zombie when we landed would be an understatement. My brain was switched to “off” and did not seem to show any signs of life.
But then it happened…
I turned the corner from the plane aisle to the exit door and glimpsed them for the first time, The Remarkables. Gorgeous, snow-capped peaks as far as the eye could see all incredibly arranged in almost perfect sequence.
Right then, at the top of the stairs leading down to the tarmac, life seemed to rush back to me and I knew that I made the right decision to come.
Rejuvenated and inspired, I made my way to the hostel in downtown Queenstown.
After a quick stroll of downtown I called it a day and prepared for an amazing week to come.
Day 1: Lakeside Stroll
Jetlagged but determined to make the day count, I figured why not go for a stroll and see where I end up?
Before I knew it I was on the Lakeside Trail heading out of town toward The Remarkables park. What a trail it was.
With each passing step I found myself staring off into the horizon at the hills and mountains beyond.
I finally made it to the opposite side of the lake where I sat for a while to both start The Lord of the Rings and watch the planes take off in the distance.
Day 2: All The Way Up: Hiking Ben Lomond
“Like hiking? You have to give Ben Lomond a try.”
This seemed to be the shared sentiment among the locals and seasoned Queenstowners alike.
Of course I said yes!
Ben Lomond was a challenging, steep climb that took almost 6 hours return. This was my first ever attempt at summiting a mountain and I’m very I went for it.
After all, look at what I was rewarded with:
Day 3: Leap of Faith: Shotover Canyon Swing
It was Bucket List day! I won’t go into too much detail here since I’m putting a video together but I’ll just say WHOA, what an experience!
Day 4: Road Trip to Milford Sound
To only write a brief description of this experience would be an insult to it’s impact and beauty. Check back soon for a separate post about my time in Milford Sound.
Day 5: Thumbs up to Paradise
As I mentioned in my Chapter One: New Zealand post, hitchhiking in this country was a goal of mine. I did not expect to accomplish it within my first week but that’s part of the story. Check back soon for a separate post about my time hitchen’ a ride.
Day 6: Laundry is Boring
Last day in Queenstown, what to do? All week I planned on using this day to relax, do laundry and catch up on some reading and writing.
Well, that didn’t go so well.
With the sun shining and the buzz of the town calling, I decided to scrap the original plan and go hike up Queenstown Hill (the smaller of the two Queenstown summits).
100% worth it.
Besides, laundry is boring.
I’ve since said farewell to Queenstown but I have a feeling we’ll see each other again. After all, I still need to try a famous Fergburger.
For now, it’s on to Wanaka then Franz Josef Glacier for more hiking and outdoors adventure.