I am always down for a road trip. Being stuck in a car with people, watching scenery go by out a car window, listening to endless playlists – to me it’s a sign of a good time.
This past weekend I traveled with Max, three other American students, and two Canadian students (who had a van) to Queenstown. It was a five-hour road trip but was more than worth it. We had a classic time driving South from Christchurch, Through the Southern Alps, stopping at lake Pukaki and seeing its gorgeous chapel, and then continuing to Queenstown.
We stayed at Nomads, a hostel that was located directly in the city center (what we would call downtown). We were two buildings away from the crystal clear bay that the city is situated on. Queenstown looked like it was a small city that was picked up out of Switzerland or Austria and placed in Southern New Zealand. When the sun shines, the city and views from the surrounding hillsides are absolutely breathtaking. I would definitely recommend doing the surrounding hill walks to get a view of the Queenstown basin.
Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world. Bungee jumping was invented there. Not being so crazy about the idea of jumping headfirst into a canyon, I decided not to bungee jump, but I was up for doing the Nevis canyon swing. This is the world’s largest swing with 70meters of free-fall. You can reach speeds exceeding 120kph which when only strapped to a swing feels far too fast to be healthy.
Our group went to do the bungee and swing, with people choosing whatever activity they would prefer to do. It was an adrenalin filled morning and we were all excited for each other. When I got up to the swing, the operator started talking to me and then dropped me mid-sentence. I was not at all prepared. The free-fall was amazing but even thinking back to it now I get shaking. Heights are not my thing.
Queenstown is also known for its amazing food. There are two places in particular that I would like to recommend. One is Vudu café, they have amazing breakfasts and brunches. The atmosphere is very hip while being laid back and relaxing. The other place I would recommend is Fergburger.
Apparently these are the best burgers in the entire country. I didn’t believe it until I tried them. Don’t be fooled by the lines outside the restaurant. These are worth the wait.
Overall Queenstown was an incredible city to experience. It has a very young, and mobile population, but remains a quiet, quaint, little town nestled in the Southern Alps. Simply walking along the park peninsula will give you shivers of appreciation for the beauty of this place.