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Queenstown Travel Blog

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Queenstown: view from the hostel
Queenstown is great. Supposedly touristy but on such a small scale it didn't bother me at all. I stayed at a great hostel which felt more like a host family, the owner immediately went about introducing each new arrival to everybody and hooking up people-who-needed-to-go-to-the-supermarket to people-who-had-cars and so on. Plus the fact it was high up so we had a stunning view of the lake and the mountains from the living room.
I hung out with my roomies Swaantje from Germany and Elano from Brazil, had drinks, had a few awesome Fergburgers (for sure the best burgers on the southern hemisphere), and right, also had a day or 2 of flue after some of the Queenstown activities.
Karawau bridge bungy: OMFG!!

I went with Swaantje to check out Arrowtown, an old goldminers not too far away. It's not that big but it's quite amazing how much information they still have about the 2nd wave of Chinese miners who moved here in the 19th century. For example for each little shack on the river is recorded which miner lived there. And it's pretty apparent how tough life must have been here, just imagine yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere, living in a 2m by 1m shed, working the river for gold about 20 years, and then hoping to return home to your wife in China with your small fortune and not sinking on the way over - which seemed to have happened a lot.
It's also quite amazing to see in the museum there how shortly ago Europeans actually settled here, all the explorations and settlements seem to date from the mid 19th century.
Queenstown: skydiving #2
Damn NZ is a young country.
And of course you can't have been to Queenstown, the "birthplace of bungy", and not jump off a bridge. In the meantime another group of Brazilians had arrived in the hostel so all the Portuguese speaking people (that's including me) took the car and went to Kawarau bridge, the site of the first bungy jump (if you discount the original version where tribesmen of Vanuatu island would jump of a platform with vines attached to their legs). We were all pretty excited and scared. And especially the fear didn't decrease once I stood on the little platform looking 42m down to a shallow stream with the rocks clearly visible on the bottom. Jumping off such a height feels completely counter intuitive, unnatural and just plain wrong.
Doubtfull sound: bottlenose dolphin
Everything in your body tells you not to do it. The only thing stronger than that is peer pressure, so I jumped :). It's an amazing rush and involuntarily I just shouted all the way down, that is, until my head went into the freezing water hehe. I had asked for a 'touch water with your hands' jump but I guess they miscalculated about half a meter. Looking at the video the fall is just a second but it felt like forever. Plenty of time to see your life flashing by. So for the next jump I want to do a 100m or more :D.
And for good measure I went to do a skydive the same afternoon. That seemed a lot easier, 12000 feet is so high it doesn't really register, and anyway I was strapped to my dive instructor who pushed me out of the plane whether I wanted it or not. We jumped over Lake Wakatipu, which is probably one of the most beautiful places to jump out of an airplane.
Doubtfull sound: pristine.
Two km high mountains surround the lake and you have a spectacular view all the way down. The free fall was about a minute and it's hard to appreciate the view when you're being blasted and shaken by the cold air but once the canopy is open it's amazing, initially you float at roughly the same height as the top of the mountains and it's as if you look at a scale model of the surroundings. Only afterwards did I find out I'd lost a contact on the way down but it didn't really matter, with one and a half functional eyes it still looked grand from up there.
I took a day trip to Doubtfull Sound, a huge fjord (the difference being that fjords are created by glaciers and sounds by rivers, a technicality Cook overlooked when he sailed by this huge inlet and named it) with more stunning views of mountains and tons of marine wildlife.
Queenstown: me, Elano and Swaantje hitting the Guiness with cranberry juice, cheers!
I saw bottlenose dolphins playing in the wake of the ship and seals tanning on the rocks. No penguins at this time. Doubtful sound is really remote and only accessible after you cross a first lake by boat, then a bus to the fjord (this road was built in the 60's for a powerplant which was built to exploite the huge height difference between the lake and the fjord - it incidently also sparked the first wave of environmentalism in NZ) and again a boat for the tour. With the boat lying still in the water and surrounded by the mountains the sound of silence is deafening - awesome! It's something I really started to appreciate in NZ, the immensity of the landscape devoid of people, it's something so alien for a Dutchy it felt I might as well have been on Mars.
Remembering how overcrowded Holland is I wondered how people can actually live there, compared to this place it's like an anthill with millions of people running around in a frenzy colliding every other second. Besides the fresh air here you can actually breath without being bumped into all the time.
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Queenstown: view from the hostel
Queenstown: view from the hostel
Karawau bridge bungy: OMFG!!
Karawau bridge bungy: OMFG!!
Queenstown: skydiving #2
Queenstown: skydiving #2
Doubtfull sound: bottlenose dolphin
Doubtfull sound: bottlenose dolphin
Doubtfull sound: pristine.
Doubtfull sound: pristine.
Queenstown: me, Elano and Swaantje…
Queenstown: me, Elano and Swaantj…
Queenstown: Fergburger envy!
Queenstown: Fergburger envy!
Shotover river
Shotover river
Arrowtown: the cemitery. A disprop…
Arrowtown: the cemitery. A dispro…
Arrowtown: public toilet from the …
Arrowtown: public toilet from the…
Arrowtown: Chinese miner shack
Arrowtown: Chinese miner shack
Arrowtown: campervans with freaky …
Arrowtown: campervans with freaky…
Karawau bridge bungy: looking fear…
Karawau bridge bungy: looking fea…
Karawau bridge bungy: 
- So i ju…
Karawau bridge bungy: - 'So i j…
Doubtfull sound: seals lazing about
Doubtfull sound: seals lazing about
On the way back to Queenstown from…
On the way back to Queenstown fro…
Queenstown: skydiving #1
Queenstown: skydiving #1
Queenstown
photo by: genetravelling