Sunday, February 7, 2016

New Zealand: Adventures in Queenstown

Hello from New Zealand! 

I didn't want to make any promises about posting, but I thought I'd chronicle my time so far. My retreat starts Monday in Wanaka, but I planned my first 2 days to stay in Queenstown.

Queenstown is a little crazy and I don't get involved with the real hoopla, but I love it still (not more than Wanaka though). I am staying at Adventure Queenstown Hostel, where we stayed when we came through last year. I walked part of Te Araroa's track from the airport to Queenstown and it really transplanted me back to our thru hike, which is one of the main reasons I came to NZ to write. And even though this is my favorite hostel ever, no hostel is associated with "quiet writing space." So for my first 2 days in New Zealand, I put on my tourist cap.


Being in Queenstown allowed me to visit with a fellow Te Araroa walker, Matteo. We hiked about 500 kilometers of the TA with Matteo and the lucky bastard never left the country after the trek. He is living and working in Queenstown and I am insanely jealous of that. Oh, and of his deep Italian accent.
This weekend happens to coincide with Waitangi Day, a public holiday in New Zealand to celebrate the country's founding document. In celebration, Queenstown hosts the "Rural Games," a celebration of the sports that built the nation.

I was able to catch a few competitions, including coal shoveling, egg throwing and speed sheep shearing (say that 3 times fast), but unfortunately I missed cowpat tossing, gumboot throwing and speed tree climbing. True story. I also witnessed the "running of the wools." It was a very "ewe" nice experience. Really, how could I make any of this up?



As Queenstown is the "adventure capital of the world," it is really, really difficult not to give into all the adrenaline surrounding the town. I found a last-minute deal on BookMe (such an awesome discount site for things to do in NZ) for taking a jet-propelled boat tour down the Kawarau River with Thunder Jet. The jet boats get up to 50mph and twists and turns smoothly over the shallow water and through the stunning NZ landscape. It is quite an exhilarating (and refreshing ride).



Tomorrow (Monday - remember I am 1 day ahead), I will hopefully watch the Super Bowl in Wanaka, then meet up with all the other retreat ladies! As they say in New Zealand, Cheers! 



5 comments:

Misti said...

Awesome! :) I can't wait to hear more about your retreat. I'll write back soon!

Mary said...

Oh, you're in nz! I feel very jealous! Looking forward to hearing about your retreat. I've only done two formal ones and not sure I would again, but if I could find the right mix of socializing and solitude, maybe. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

I bet you wish you had someone with you to be in the pictures! I think I know someone, Mrs. selfie!

Jennifer Kelley said...

We are hoping to hike in NZ in the winter of 2017... saving all our money right now for an adventure. Look forward to following your trip!

Abraham said...

Wow! Your adventures seem so exciting and your writing is great. I really look forward to hearing more about your trip as I am going to New Zealand too in the near future, hopefully. Is it really expensive or can it be done on a small budget? Pictures are great, by the way.