We flew from Melbourne to Queenstown, NZ, where we met up with my friend Bex. Bex and I met back in 2003, when we were both doing our Divemaster’s in Koh Tao, Thailand. We haven’t see each other since, but through the wonders of Facebook, have managed to stay in touch over the years. Bex and her fiancé Rupert, were nice enough to put us up for a few days in Queenstown while we sorted out a place to live for a month.
As I mentioned, we left Australia feeling like we hadn’t really seen as much as we would have liked. So for our time in New Zealand, we decided that the only way we were really gonna see anything of the country was to buy a car. We looked at going the camper van route, but were a bit worried about the resale on the other end, and a two month rental was just ridiculously priced. So when Bex mentioned she was selling her car we figured that was the answer we were looking for.
After a few days at Bex & Ruperts we moved into a little studio apartment, just outside of town. We decided that a month of camping and working on the road was probably enough, and that we’d spend a month in Queenstown before we set off on the road. This also allowed us to do a couple of weekend trips, as well as stock up on camping supplies before we officially hit the road.
Our first weekend trip was to the coastal town of Dunedin. We don’t normally do organized tours but I had read about Elm Wildlife Tours, and thought it sounded like a great way to get up close and personal with New Zealand’s wildlife… and it definitely was. We had some pretty terrible weather when we set out, rain and heavy wind, that seemed to change every five minutes, but our guide was great, and the animals didn’t disappoint.
Another weekend we headed to the town of Wanaka, where we checked out Wanaka Beerworks Brewery. It’s a tiny little micro brewery, with a fantastic tour and tasting. We left with a couple of mix-and-match 6 packs that we enjoyed later that week back in Queenstown. That evening we took in a movie at Wanaka’s Paradiso Cinema. A quirky little theatre where you sit on couches reminiscent of someone’s living room. They also make the yummiest cookies, hot out of the oven during intermission.
Back in Queenstown we did a wine tour and checked out a few of the local sites. Although I had no desire to bungy jump, it was great to watch a few other folks brave it. Instead we opted to go luging at the top of the skyline gondola.
Our last few days in Queenstown were spent getting ready for our month long road trip. We made several trips to Warehouse, where we bought a tent, sleeping bags, and all sorts of camping gear. We bought a few groceries, packed the car and got ready to head out….
Up next… our road trip!
Posted by: Kelly