Immediately on disembarking from our boat transit from the Doubtful Sound we are heading off to our last stop of the trip:
Queenstown. A mere two hours later we are arriving in the busiest “tiny town” I’ve seen. You can walk through all of the streets of Queenstown in just one afternoon. Driving though…well that will depend on traffic. Traffic of all sorts, mind you. Cars are jampacked in the round-abouts (what is the rest of the world’s deal with hating on square intersections??), pedestrians are not minding the crosswalks, and there are mini-planes darting overhead…
Ok, maybe the planes are actually paragliders, but boy do they add to the traffic…
Ok, ok, maybe they only added to the traffic because drivers are constantly distracted by the
crazy adventurous folks swooping in ever lowering circles towards the buildings, traffic, and people.
Our first taste of the adventure capital of the world was just that. We couldn’t believe the number of stores and signs dedicated to canyoning, rafting, luging, jetboating, parachuting/gliding/sailing, bungy jumping, rock climbing, and all kinds of death defying activities.
After a quick freshen up at the hotel we set out to locate some grub, more specifically The Fergburger, which had been recommended by a few folks who had visited Queenstown in years past. We were told to anticipate a wait so we weren’t entirely shocked when we arrived and there were about 10 people ahead of us waiting to order the only thing on the menu: burgers. What became rather shocking, however, was that within 15 minutes there was a line out the door and down the entire block. Apparently we had a knack for timing and got to enjoy the delicious “Fergburger” (we stuck to the original) while watching the line grow.
Side note: while we chose the original burger I couldn’t help but be tempted by the chicken, lamb, and TOFU varieties of burger. Particularly because they are so clever with the names. “Holier than Thou” is the tofu burger. Come on, how can you NOT be tempted to get that one!
Having our fill we wandered around the tiny town and happened upon the A. J. Hackett Bungy store. “Let’s just go in and find out what the cost is”.
Famous last words.
Within minutes we are filling out toe tags by way of registration (come on, really?) and my anxiety is heightening. Adam is putting on a brave face but the beads of sweat across his brow clue me in to the real feelings that we both are sharing:
We were going to die.
But not for one and a half days! With our new found taste for adventure we set out again to see what other activities we could fill our time with. Jet-boating was investigated, luging was evaluated, and paragliding was given a cursory glance.
In the end we decided to hold off further bookings until the next day and set out to find some brews and views. We continued our war of gin rummy and, once the sun started to set, found a spot at Winnie’s – a cool retractable roof restaurant which, if the pictures on the wall are to be trusted, turns into an insanely risque party spot post 10 PM.
Case in point: while finishing up our meal our lovely waitress hands us four drink vouchers – buy a happy hour drink and get a free shot of liquor! But the happy hour doesn’t start until 10 PM…hope you took a nap earlier.
Lucky for us we stayed just long enough to get a taste of sambuca and watch as the party goers of the night rounded an early downward bend. We took our cue from the 19 year olds launching themselves onto the bar counters and headed back to the hotel to get some shut eye. After all, we had to be well rested for our jet boat excursion and New Years Eve celebrations.
The next day we had one of the best brunches of our trip at Vudu Cafe and eagerly anticipated a sun-soaked day. Being a Saturday we strolled around the market picking up some seriously cool souvenirs, talked to photographers and basked in the sun up til it was time for our jet boating tour.
What is a jet boat you ask? A jet boat was created in Queenstown and only needs inches of water to maneuver in. If by maneuver you mean lightening fast speeds and ridiculous spins and turns. We luckily got a seat in the back (well, luckily for me, everyone else in front of me was in earshot of my 8th octave screaming…) which means we had the best views of both our jet boat captain who signals what he’s about to do with his hands and of the scenery including the shoreline when it was within touching distance and a group of docile cows who we scattered into the bush…because that’s how close we got.
After a thrilling ride up and down the Kawarau river we were back and counting down the hours until 2012 would begin…