Kiwi Style: Franz Josef to Queenstown

After the previous days trials and tribulations, our next day was a travel day from Franz Josef to Queenstown. This meant some very awkward sleeping on a very rocky bus – Q must have forgotten to handle his cargo with the utmost care and respect today – with a few short stops to soak up the brilliance of New Zealand’s landscape.

The views along the way were straight out of Lord of the Rings (they actually were!), and we made a few pit-stops to ogle the views of Fox Glacier and also made a short walk round the famed “reflective” Lake Matheson – as it turns out, it is only reflective on perfectly clear, windless days. It was cloudy and windy… Never mind, still a nice stop to break up the drive.

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We reached Queenstown and prepped ourselves for a touch more drinking, this time in New Zealand’s adventure capital. After a nice group meal we hit the bars. This night out taught me a few things:

  1. The bouncers in Queenstown are ALL English.
  2. The bouncers in Queenstown are ALL assholes.
  3. There is free Mario Cart on N64 available in Bungalow Bar 🙂

So after crawling into bed at about 5am, a swift 2 hours later I was back on the bus heading out towards Milford Sound (…go on, just Google it!!) where we were booked to float through the fjords on a 2 hour cruise. The drive to Milford Sound is unbelievable, with some of the best, if not the best, mountain views I have ever seen – and with NZ (South Island) being a country where it is hard to look in any direction without some form of mountain view, this is quite a statement. In order to enter Milford Sound via land, the only way is to drive through the 1.2km Homer Tunnel. When exiting the tunnel into Milford Sound it is like entering the land of the giants; Jurassic World.

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Milford Sound is beautiful. Enough said.

The one downside about the trip to Milford (apart from being disgustingly hungover – nothing like hair of the dog on a fjordland boat cruise to sort that out though) was the 5 hour drive each way. I’m very glad I wasn’t driving!

Day 2 in Queenstown. Let’s get the adrenaline pumping. On this day I did the following: 134m Nevis Bungy Jump, 300m Nevis Swing (whilst upside down – really, why!!?), Shotover Canyon Swing (twice) and Shotover Jet Boating. Safe to say I was pumped!

I mean, why not jump off things that should in theory kill you, “safe” in the knowledge that you shouldn’t die! Sounds like fun to me. Wash all that down with another unhealthy dose of Queenstown’s alcohol, more pizza than you could shake a stick at at Fat Badgers, and a seriously late night munch on one of Queenstown’s world famous Big Al burgers from Fergburger, and life can be nothing other than GOOD!

Day 3 in Queenstown – the day of my departure back to Melbourne. Still, no time to rest on my laurels, one more day on holiday, which meant one more opportunity to enjoy my surroundings. Today’s activity was a bit more casual – the Dart River Wilderness Jet Boat, which took us out to Glenorchy, where we jetted up river into Mt Aspiring National Park. A more peaceful experience that the previous day’s jet-boating, but the views were insane. Final day well spent.

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10 days down… and back to Melbourne to start my new job with Backpackers World Travel, and to detox – my poor liver!

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