Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just chillin

I've been in Queenstown a little over 2 weeks.
Life is good.
It's so beautiful here.
There's been a few days when the mountains had snowy tops.
I've been looking for a J.O.B. but in the meantime I've been doing temp work and hanging around town.
Bad photo. But I'm enjoying a monster beer at Cowboys. I even tried to ride the mechanical bull. I didn't do well....
No skills and apparently no dignity. Hahaha.

I live in a cute little hostel called Bumbles, which is full of fun and friendly backpackers. I work at the hostel to pay for my bed. One less expense while I search for work.
This is hanging up in my dorm.  It's like they knew I was coming...

View from my lounge

The temp work I've been doing has been a little housekeeping (lame) and working big functions at the Skyline restaurant. Which is definitely my preferred temp job. We get to feast on the gourmet dinners they serve. One night I had four desserts. Pork alert!
Plus, I love the commute.
On my way to work at the top of queenstown 

The Bungy platform
On my way to work. There's someone Bungying in the bottom right corner.

View from the restaurant 

"Would you car for another drink, sir?"

I've had a few interviews but no jobs. I have my fingers crossed that I might get hired at Outdoor World, the REI of NZ.
A covert lakeside band. They set up a hundred candles and played great tunes till the cops shut it down. Bad photo tho...

Saturday market on the green with live music

In the meantime, I've been enjoying the gorgeous views and bumping night life of this little resort town.
Sunrise view from my patio

Sunset view from my patio

I've been pretty busy, with temp work and working at the hostel. I actually haven't had a full day off in 2 weeks. So I hope to get out and about and do some hiking on my days off this week.
View from a morning stroll

Friday, April 12, 2013

Milford Sound, Great Walk

I booked my hut passes, boat rides and bus transfer for the Milford Spund several months ago and I was so excited when I started out on my trip.
I was a little worried that it might be a hard hike but it turned out to be fairly east and nice.
I got on a boat at Te Anu Downs for an hour long trip across Te Anu lake.
I'm on a boat

 Where I was dropped off at the tracks beginning.

The first day was an easy 3 mile mosey to Clinton hut. The track was flat and through some meadows and mossy jungle forest.

All the huts were really nice, with a ranger stationed at each one. Every evening the hut rangers would regale us with some stories, a description of the next days tracks and bird calls.
The second day took me through Clinton valley, past gorgeous mountains and lots of waterfalls.
The weather was nice my whole trip. Four days without rain is almost unheard of in Fiordland. Apparently, the best time to see the area is during a downpour. That's when the valley is turned into nothing but cascading waterfalls. I'm definitely going back for a rainy day trip or two.
It's almost winter

There were birds everywhere and it was so peaceful walking all day and just listening to the different birdsongs.
Friendly little guy

I took a side trip up to the base of a waterfall.
Side trip with a trail buddy. 

Even prettier up-close

After 10.25 miles I made it to Mintaro hut where I was spending the night. I was pretty knackered. And starving, and I realized I had under packed my food supply. So a little rationing was necessary for the rest of the trip.

The third day was an 8.7 mile hike up and over McKinnon pass and back down into Arthur Valley. The highest point was 3,786 ft. I got to the summit around 11:30 in the morning but there was mist and clouds view!
A the highest point of the trail. And the height of fashion- check out those fushia socks!

I decided to hunker down in the shelter for a few hours in the hopes that the weather would clear up.
By about 1:30 my patience was rewarded and I saw the mountains and valleys surrounding me. They were gorgeous!
View from the shelter


Alpine pond

The rest of the days hiking was a steep descent.
On my way down. The rail is a rarely seen Kiwi  safety measure.

 Past more rivers and waterfalls.
Sutherland Falls is also on this hike. It's the biggest waterfall in NZ. Unfortunately, the trail to the base of the falls is closed so to an ongoing rock slide.
 But I was able to view them from a distance and they were still amazing. The view reminded me a little of Yosemite valley.

The last night I holed up in Dumpling hut and a generous fellow hiker gave me some of his extra food. Nomnomnom. Ever notice how delicious everything is when you're starving? Haha

The last day was an easy but long 11+ miles by some pretty lakes and rivers and more gorgeous waterfalls.
The water is an unreal turquoise 

Giant Gates Falls

When I arrived at the end of the trail at Sandfly point, I felt like turning around and continue hiking.
Well, my mind did. My body was so excited to stop walking and grub down.
A short boat ride took me from the end of the trail to Milford sound.

I'm so happy I got to do this hike. It was completely awe inspiring and I really enjoyed every single mile.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


On my recent travels I drove down the west coast of the South Island.
It's fall here and the weather is definitely getting colder. Perfect timing for my drivers side window to fall off its track. Haha. No worries. I have it jimmy rigged up until I can properly fix it.
I stopped at the pancake rocks in Punakaiki.
The blowhole at Punakaiki

Pancake rocks

And the weather help up really nicely for my visits to the Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers.
On my way to the Franz Joseph glacier

The glaciers were breathtaking. Both of them were in these dramatic, steep valleys. There were waterfalls everywhere. I had an amazing couple of days walking through the parks.
Waterfalls at Franz Joseph

Waterfalls at Franz Joseph 

I think I even touched the glacier! See, I found this chunk of ice down river from the Franz Joseph.
Touching a glacier!

I'm totally counting it as touching the glacier haha.

Fox Glacier

Lake on the way to Fox Glacier

The drive from the glaciers to the town of Wanaka was another beauty.
Lake Wanaka

Lake Hawea

I spent the evening in Wanaka.

I was trying to decide if I wanted to live in Wanaka or Queenstown for the next few months. Both towns are ski towns in winter. I decided to go for Queenstown. I'm ready for some social/night life.
Plus, I just love it here. It's been my favorite city/town in NZ.
So, I've started applying for jobs and hopefully once I'm done with my Milford backpacking trip, I'll be able to start working and find a place to live here.
I have so many more photos I'd like to post but the wifi stinks here. Oh well...