Well, I’m here now. And it's a lot cooler than up North! :s
Down in the South Island and on my own. Sniff! I loved my two weeks with my sister, we had a fabulous time (as proven by my state of fatigue and lack of time for blogging!), but her holiday is over so I’m letting her get back to her thesis (yes, there are two of us in the family crazy enough to have started a PhD) and I’m going to take in the southernmost part of the South Island,
starting off where we left off when the family came 3 years ago: in Queenstown.
Queenstown. Gateway to the deep south. Adventure capital of New Zealand. You want it? They’ve got it! At least that’s what it seems like based on all the brochures and storefront signs… crazy lake and river adventures, bungee jumping, skydiving, horseback riding,
and even crazier things like the “Pub Crawl” (basically bar hopping all night).
If I could afford it I’d try the tandem skydive, but I’m saving any possible funds left to leave some scuba diving options open for later in the trip. So I’m just going to stick around here for a day and a half, observe the people, admire the majestic Remarkables (mountain range) across the gorgeous lake Wakatipu and climb a mountain.
If I wanted I could just hang around the lounge or kitchen of the backpackers to observe people. I’m sharing a room with four other girls in their 20s (a German, a Korean, a Japanese and another of some Anglo-extraction –we haven’t spoken yet-), as well as two older ladies (who probably won’t enjoy my going into the room around midnight when I’m finished with this blog, but that’s the price we all pay when we choose to sleep in dorms). In the kitchen I’ve heard at least 4 different native-English accents, watched a Japanese guy cooking with chopsticks and a full family sitting down to a full dinner and washing up afterwards. You come across people from all paths of life in the backpackers in New Zealand, that’s what makes staying in these places so interesting (as well as the practical aspects such as cooking facilities and low cost of lodging). And sad to say I’ve also come across the kind of stereotypical American tourist that gives the whole country a bad name (and I wish he’d stop his yammering! I’m wincing with every other statement that comes out of his mouth). This time I’m staying at the YHA Lakeside.
The YHA backpackers can be found in all the major cities in New Zealand (and many of the smaller locals), and although they lack the charm and flavour of some of the smaller backpackers, at least you know what you’re getting in terms of quality of installations and services available. Only problem is there are so many people here you get lost in the crowd, so not the best place to meet new people. Should think of choosing a different option for my next stop.
Bed time now! Or I’ll never get up in time for an 8h mountain hike tomorrow… ;o)