After our four-day Kepler tramp and our day in Milford, we were all feeling a bit sore and tired (me especially, I will admit), and we were unsure whether or not to pursue our original plans of hiking the Humpridge Track. After checking the weather forecast, which turned out to be dismal, we decided to skip the tramp and head up to Queenstown instead (after a lovely meal of boysenberry pancakes by Lake Manapouri).
Queenstown is the extreme sporting capital of New Zealand's South Island (and where I plan to go bungee jumping at some point during my time here!). It was a bit of a shock to be back in a place with so many people - both Kepler and Milford had been relatively deserted because it is winter and few people are as crazy as we are to tramp in the cold. Queenstown was packed, though! It is a cute little town, which we briefly walked through before tramping up a mountain to the visitor center and gift shop on top. I took the obligatory Queenstown peninsula pictures, and then we headed back down to visit Fergburger for dinner! Now, I know I mention food a lot on here, as eating is one of my favorite activities, but I need to take a short break to just describe the magnificence of this burger. I ordered the Fergburger with 1/2 pound of beef, cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce, and salad. Despite the simple toppings, it was one of the best meals I've ever had in my life - though this was probably helped by the fact that I was starving following our afternoon hike! Emma and I also split some onion rings with aioli dipping sauce, which was the perfect side! Fergburger is famous in New Zealand (if you tell someone you went to Queenstown, their first question will be "did you visit Fergburger?"), and I'm glad I got to experience it for myself!
That night we headed to Wanaka, a town about an hour away, as we planned to do some day hikes in the area over the next few days. We ended up at Base Hostel, a place that was far too cool for us weary trampers! Despite the receptionist's enthusiastic recommendation of the techno DJs playing in the bar downstairs, we decided to shower and get to bed early - not an easy thing to do with music bumping below us until 2:30 in the morning. Luckily, though I was so exhausted that I quickly drifted off...
...and woke up the next morning sick as a dog! While Emma, Matt and Sammy checked out a beach trail, I slept in the car. I did get some good pictures of the cows and sheep in the fields we had to cross to get to the carpark, though. Once they returned, we drove into Mt Aspiring National Park (which some of you may remember from my post about Bushball). Sammy and Matt decided to hike in and spend the night at the hut where we had Bushball, and Emma and I went back to Base for another DJ-techno-battle-filled night. We picked up Sammy and Matt the next morning from the park, where it was snowing! The weather was rainy and dreary in town, too, so we decided just to head back to Dunedin.
|the beach in Wanaka where the others hiked and I napped (story of my life...)|
We got home a day earlier than planned because of the weather, but we decided to take advantage of the last day of our rental car and visit the Moeraki Boulders outside of Dunedin. The boulders are famously weird, spherical beach rocks. I'm sure a geologist could explain their formation to you, but I was content to just climb on top of them and get some pictures!
And with that, my Spring Break finally came to an end. Back to reality now! I have four papers due in the next two weeks, so I'll be a busy bee until then!