The Final Countdown

Sadly I write this post from my home in California. Don’t get me wrong, spending the holidays with my family has been fantastic, but I do miss New Zealand.  I’ve got a few friends still there, and the pictures they share get me jealous. I had such a fantastic time in New Zealand. I’m tempted to tell everyone how awful the country is, so I can keep it my own little secret. But to make the recollection of my time in NZ complete I shall now recall my final days. I was taking a new bus service to Queenstown. I ran out of hours on intercity and was taking the mana bus. I paid $1 for the ticket. I was nervous because there was only one other girl at the bus stop and the bus was already 10 minutes late. She was waiting for the Naked Bus, and when it finally arrived I decided to ask the driver if Naked Bus and Mana Bus were the same. They were. The bus was fine. Different from Intercity but it was fine. You can’t beat $1. I arrived in Queenstown, checked in and figured out my final days. After wondering around for a bit, I made my way to an Irish bar and met with some friends I had met during my previous visits. I was pretty tired and sore and looking forward to a good night sleep. Not long after I fell asleep (around 1:30), a dorm mate of mine came home (around 4am). He was sick, so you could hear him coughing throughout the night. My other dorm mate was leaving in the morning. She had an early bus so she was up at 7:30 am. I did what I could to sleep in, but my sleep was awful. I watched Batman and decided it was time to get up. My plan for the day was to shop, and that is what I did. I grocery shopped, bought myself some goods, bought some Christmas gifts. Needless to say I spent way too much money. All still within my whole NZ budget, but I still spent too much money. After a long exhausting day of shopping in the sun, I went to the beach and read and took a nap. I had planned to go back to my room and take another nap. I met two of my other dorm mates from before. One was new and one I hadn’t met yet. We all got along quite well and decided to go out that night. The nap was deemed unsuccessful. For reasons that may only seem funny to my dorm mates. So tonight would be a power through. We met more people downstairs and decided to head out. We had quite an eclectic group. Myself the America, and Israeli, a German and an Australian. That was definitely one of the coolest parts about my trip was all the different people you would meet. The Australian warned us that he snored. He does snore, I made do. Everyone had a busy day planned. My dorm mates were going on the jet boat ride and doing the canyon swing. I was going to hire a bike and take it to a hike I had been interested in. Sleep was better, but still not great. I rented my bike and made my way to the trailhead. So I was going to a place called Sam Summers Hut. I was told I wouldn’t see a lot of tourist and it would be epic. I was not disappointed. The ride was beautiful. I followed Queenstown- Glenorchy road. There were a few off road paths I could take, but I missed them both. The road was up and down. More up. My legs were burning. I don’t think I have ridden a bike so much is about 5 years. It was about a 1 ½ bike ride. I still had to hike and bike back. The hike was amazing. The views, the terrain. It was a perfect last hike in NZ. It went through an old gold mining area. I started the bike ride back and decided to take both off road paths back. Mind you I am not a mountain biker. My first real mountain bike experience was in Rotorua. This was my second. The path was steep and narrow and I started to walk my bike. I needed to get back at a decent time so I didn’t want to walk the whole time. I walked when it was too narrow and steep and rode what I could. I was sweating. Mountain biking is hard work and works your entire body. I was plugging along and enjoying the sites. Again the view was gorgeous. I’m not sure if I found a bad view in NZ. Maybe the freeway. I did encounter an injured biker. He was with plenty of people, and they said they had called for help and were fine. I tiptoed passed them and continued my way. I took numerous rest stops for water. It was another warm day. I was sweating enough I was debating jumping in the lake. And then I found my happy place. On the shore was a long pier that went out. It went out long enough that the lake was deep at the end. It looked like the perfect place to lay out in the sun and do jumps into the lake. If only I was going to be in Queenstown longer. I continued my way along the long bike path. After numerous roots, rocks, steep cliffs, and sharp corners I was back in the city. Well, a city for South Island New Zealand standards. I was filthy, tired and ready for some ice cream. I thought the ice cream shops in Queenstown might close at 6 like the one in Wanaka, so I was racing back. I raced back for nothing. The ice cream parlor stays open past midnight. Oh Well. I took a much needed shower and met up with my dorm mates. One was going to dinner and the other was interested in the ice bar. I said I’d join after dinner. My last cooked meal in NZ was tacos. And if I don’t say so they were quite delish. I was in Queenstown for 4 nights which is why this story seems so long. Queenstown is the city that doesn’t sleep and there is something always to do. It was kind of a joke in my room that we were all ready to move on so we could get a good night’s sleep. Ice bar was fabulous. Different from the one I went to in Vegas but still great. Afterwards, my dorm mate decided to call it a night and I decided to venture out where I met two pretty rad Americans. They were both just starting their NZ trip and I was ending mine. Tear. The next day I met up with some friends and played Frisbee Golf for the first time. I was not very good at it but it was still fun. They were headed to a movie, and I would catch up with them later for my last night in Queenstown. Another dorm mate of mine, it was also his last day in Queenstown, was meeting someone to go watch a friend of theirs that was a busker from San Francisco. It was a neat show. He definitely got a lot of laughs. My last night was pretty cool. I was with a boy from The Netherlands and a German girl who was now living in Norway. I was also able to meet up with my friends who I had met the first time I was in Queenstown. They are all in NZ on a working holiday visa, so they will be in Queenstown long term. One was from Ireland and the other from Scotland, and I told them that I hope the people in their native country are as cool as they are. I said my goodbyes and we parted ways. Actually the boy from Scotland ended up giving me a ride to the airport the next morning which worked out really great. I couldn’t sleep a wink that night. We had an extremely loud snorer in our room (not the Australian, he already left). It was terrible. I was hoping I would get some better sleep in Auckland.

P.S. Since I am home and have my lap top I can post a picture with it!

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