Uncle Zach told us we would probably love Queenstown and I totally understand why! Every corner is urging you to step out on an adventure, whether it be skiing, bungy jumping, jet boat riding, whitewater rafting, or tramping. Everyone here is trying something a little scary or thrill-seeking with the Remarkables Mountains as your canvas. (Don’t you just love that name? Always makes me think of The Incredibles though, lol). The kids said the mall area of Queenstown reminds them of Gatlinburg due to all the shops, except for the backpack clad youths lounging in the common areas.
It is a little disturbing how they have marketed this breath-taking wonderland, but it definitely seems to be this area’s main source of income, so we tried to be understanding and just join in with all the energy and smiles!
Ella and I had planned to sky dive for months! Grangoo and Grandpa helped us jump the cost barrier and gave us vouchers to jump for Christmas. And this thrill was definitely worth it, dont’ miss Ella’s post. The only thing I will add, I was not nervous at all, really, the entire prep time. I think i was most focused on Ella and making sure this was all she hoped it would be. She told me she would rather I jump first, and since we had opted for the least expensive jump we were to go first out of everyone. This placed she and I right beside the sliding metal and glass door in the plane. Noel, my tandem master, spoke in my ear most of the ride to make sure I knew exactly what to do when the door opened. No worries, I was ready, I felt very secure strapped to her even though she was shorter than me! Then she rolled the door open. The wind pounded against me and all I could see were the snow topped Remarkables and Queenstown Lake and my stomach dropped out the bottom! But in seconds we were falling, just glad they don’t expect you to jump, lol.
We also experienced Shotoer Jetboat Rides that Uncle Zach, Aunt Maria, and Marina bought the kids for Christmas. It lasts about 25 minutes, and although it is a manufactured thrill ride which is never on Chris’s list of things to do, it was a lot of fun and brought sweet smiles after days of travel and fatigue! The 360 turns were always good for a cooling spray and joyful laugh. The rock gorge you blast through seems to be headed for the Pillars of the Kings straight out of Lord of the Rings. Nearby we also stopped another time to see bungee jumpers on Kawarau River Bridge and wished joining them wouldn’t bust the budget!
Oh, and don’t forget, Fergburgers! You can’t miss these. We were afraid they would just be a tourist thing, but there is a line continuously for a reason. We really enjoyed their enormous hamburgers with onion rings like the old ones at Cracker Barrel. You can buy them to go, so we purchased a cheap 1.5 liter of coke at a grocery, Ella and I split a hamburger and we all split one onion ring and one french fry for a frugal Queenstown meal for $65 NZD or $50 USD, not bad considering we were all pleasantly replete after. And Pa, we so wished you could join us at Cookie Time, I mean wow. Milkshakes to die for – cookie shake, smores shake, and mind blowing warm, just baked cookies of all kinds. This place always had a line as well, also for good reason!
We only passed through Queenstown three different days flying in and on the way to Milford Sound and later Glenorchy, but we always enjoyed a brief splurge b
efore we had to escape in order to keep our budget! You definitely don’t want to miss it, but we recommend deciding what to you want to do before you go. Otherwise, you may be overwhelmed with all the options when you arrive and end up hitch-hiking with the other backpackers when you find your wallet empty, lol!