As the adventure capital of the world (and the only place we stayed for more than 2 nights), I thought that Queenstown deserved its own post. Even though this was the only place we hopped off for a considerable amount of time, I wish we’d been organised enough to have been able to stay longer. Our journey down there from Wanaka was another example of when the school trip vibe of the Kiwi Experience really did our nut in.
We were picked up at 9am and had to wait at ‘Puzzling World’; a very average optical illusion and puzzle museum for an hour and a half before actually heading for Queenstown. Puzzling world is only about 10 minutes from the hostel so I’m not sure why it couldn’t just come back for the people that didn’t want to spend $20 on entry. Riss and I jumped the barrier and got in for free and it still wasn’t worth it. We did get the $3 bacon sandwich though.. it was quite terrible if I’m completely honest. Soggy white bread with slimy bits of bacon in it – we still all ate it though
All this thing did was rotate on it’s edges and How ‘puzzled’ does Riss look?
On your way into Queenstown you stop off at the Kawarau Bridge Bungy; the original bungy centre. This is where you can book your bungy jump or the swing for when you’re in Queenstown. They show you quite a cool promo video about the history of bungy jumping and about AJ Hackett, the guy who invented it. They also show you all the different things you can book: the Kawarau Bridge Bungy is the classic one, then you have the Ledge Bungy, the Canyon Swing, the Nevis Bungy or the Nevis Swing. Each site/activity have their pros and cons e.g. the Nevis swing is the biggest in the world, which is why I chose it. But if you’re a real thrill seeker you can do the Canyon one where you allow the staff to really fuck with your head before you do it and if you do the bungy there around 100 different ways you can ‘jump off’ e.g. you can ride a tricycle off the edge or you can sit in a chair backwards and they tip you off, that kind of thing.
That evening we had booked to get the Kiwi Experience meal and pub crawl as a cheap and easy way to get to know the bars in Queenstown. The food was only $5 and you got a huge plate of ribs, chicken and chips at the Red Rock bar. I can’t remember the names of the bars that followed, but you end in The World Bar which a trendy place and really fun. Its also turns into a bit of a club the later it gets, like most of the bars we were in. It’s also directly opposite Nomad’s hostel as well as Devil burger which is open until 3am and is delicious – apparently only second in Queenstown to the famous Ferg Burger!
Queenstown is beautiful but really small town. It has a small park on the waters edge and you’re completely surrounded by the Southern Alps. If the weather is good there are tons of hikes you can do or if that’s not your thing, you can just lie on the grass and sunbathe. However, if the weather isn’t great there really isn’t very much to do.
Luckily for us, our second day in Queenstown was glorious. We got breakfast at this place called Balls and bangles, they do the most amazing bagels, doughnuts and coffee. An absolute must-have if you’re there. In the afternoon we got the gondola up to the top of the Skyline and with the Kiwi App you get a huge discount; the gondola up and down plus 4 luge rides for $50. The views from the top are spectacular and the luge was genuinely so much fun. I would definitely recommend going. That evening Christie, Riss and I went out while the rest slept. We had such a good time, we went to World Bar again and to another club Winnies, which was also great fun, cheesy tunes but fun. I think that Winnies is actually a pizza restaurant during the day!
Everyone looks good in a helmet and a luge with a view
Our third day in Queenstown was the day we had all been waiting for, after leaving Nick, Misha and Ruby in Wellington, today was the day they were finally catching up with us! We spent the day on the grass with the whole fam in the sun and drank these lethal 8% ciders and had another great night out. That night for dinner we got the world famous Ferg Burgers. Normally, you have to wait in a queue for around an hour to get one, but pro tip: if you call and order them over the phone, you can just go collect them when they’re ready! I’ll admit that they did not disappoint. As you can probably tell by now we didn’t do many cultural or activities in general while in Queenstown. It’s supposed to be the adventure capital of the world but if you have no money for any of the activities, it becomes a party town instead.
Technically we should have left the day after the others had arrived as we had nowhere to stay. There was literally no accommodation in the whole of Queenstown (seriously guys, book this a couple weeks in advance!). We were thankfully very lucky and Nick’s family friend had kindly offered to let him, Misha and Ruby stay in their holiday home, which meant they weren’t using the 3 nights they were guaranteed at Nomads by the Kiwi Experience. Therefore Christie, Riss and I were able to sleep in their hostel beds for the night.
This was probably the worst hangover day of the whole trip. It was raining and everyone was grumpy, but Misha, Nick and I had booked to do the world largest swing (the Nevis Swing) in the afternoon! Just so you know, this is a half-day activity. You go to the in-town centre where they weigh you and write your weight on your hand!! (Not what I wanted to see after 4 days of solid drinking). They then take you on a 40 min bus to get there. The Nevis grounds is on private property so you’re not allowed to drive there yourself, you have to get the bus. Then you do your swing or bungy and have to get the bus back. Now the actual swing. You get to watch a few people go before you do and I have honestly never been so terrified in my life. Have a google if you’ve never seen it before. Basically, they just strap you in and then drop you. You have a 70m free fall before the swing catches you. I thought this was way scarier than a skydive because you never know when they’re going to push that button!
It was so much fun though and I would 100% recommend doing it while you’re there! You can do a bungy anywhere in the world but you can’t do this and it was safe to say it was the hangover cure of all hangover cures. The funniest thing about the whole afternoon was probably poor Nick. He was petrified. He was shaking like a leaf and admitted that he didn’t even know if he’d had fun or not. Misha and I were howling with laughter at him shouting “Get me on dry land!” on his way back up to the top. That evening we went to Nick’s family friends for a meal and a movie which was lovely. Such a fantastic house! So jealous but such nice way to end our time as a big group.
Hostel: Nomad’s Queenstown is actually a really nice Nomads, much nicer than the one in Auckland. We were given a private room (8-bed dorm) with a balcony which got the sun. It was also a lot bigger than the room we had in Wanaka! Tip: if you plan on staying longer than the designated 3 nights in QT, book weeks in advance! All the accommodation gets booked up seriously quickly and we were only able to stay a 4th night by pure luck