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Out to Play in Queenstown, New Zealand

I am standing by the side of the road, trying to cower away from the snow and wind. Every car that passes I smile and try to get eye contact. Surely someone will take pity on me soon. I have been standing by the side of the road turning myself in to a snowman for nearly 20 mins and all to save myself $25 (about £8).
Today must be my lucky day! James offered to nip across to the garage to get us some breakfast. The thought of a warm pastie must have made me smile wider. I lift my thumb to about the 100th car that morning and it pulls over. The smiling lady notices I am holding 2 boards and says “sorry but there is only room for one person”. I smile back and say its ok James can wait for the next car. Feeling a bit guilty for making James wait for the next car I hand him $5 and say “here I’ll pay for your pastie today”. He gives me a condemned smile and I am off up the Mountain.
Luckily it didn’t take long for James to get a lift and after only 10 minutes waiting at the top he arrived. As usual Ben had been floockey and had managed to, as he put it “find a really cool spot with loads of cars passing”. Anyway all is well, all 3 of us have made it up the mountain and we have saved a grand total of $75 between us.

Today we have decided to have a bash at some snow boarding. Both Ben and myself have limited experience on a snow board but we are assured by James that everything will be ok. After a few (allot of!) falls and several goes down the nursery slope we head to the top of the mountain to rip up the piste!
As we ascend the mountain I am feeling a bit apprehensive. From the vantage point of the chairlift I am able to survey the mountain pretty well. I am unable to see a route back down that doesn’t involve some very steep slopes! As we near the top my thoughts switch to the immediate task of getting off the chair lift.
If you ever fancy a cheap laugh position your self at the top of a chair lift next to the exit point. People constantly fall over as they try to get to grips with the unusual technique required to get off the lift. As soon as one person falls they usually drag the rest of the people with them. There are ski’s, poles, boards and bodies all over the place. Very funny if you are that way inclined!

Anyway, after safely negotiating the exit from the chair we group at the top ready for our descent. To cut a long story short the descent was very painful, wet and cold! However, at the bottom all this seemed to pale in to insignificance when the slopes flattened out and we were able to put our painful lessons in to practice and carve some nice turns in the snow!

Queens town is an extremely lively place and it is an adrenalin junkies heaven. It is the birthplace of Bunji Jumping and has several jumps ranging from a 30m bridge jump to a whopping 134m cable car jump.
Of course The Nevis (134m) jump was the only one for me. I was enticed by a promotional video that informed me that The Nevis is an 8 second free fall in to a rocky canyon! Sound scary?? Well let me tell you, my heart has never beat so fast. It was my first Bunji jump so I was in un-chartered territory. Standing on a small platform looking down to a rocky canyon 140 meters below, with just an oversized elastic band attached to my feet really gets your mind working over time. There is an added weight knowing that there is a video camera positioned on you recording your every move. So you have to put on the biggest bravest smile so no one can take the mic when you view the video after.

All said and done the Bunji jump was one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend it to anyone. Even people with a fear of heights, it‘s a great step towards conquering your fears. Plus it gives you a massive adrenalin rush!!
Queenstown is as lively at night as it is during the day. There are plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants to choose from.. I would give the après ski in Queenstown a 10/10 rating. There is something for everyone. Queenstown is also a great starting point for a tour of New Zealand. It is situated on the Southern Side of the South Island and has good access to the main airports. Many people start or finish their tours in Queenstown and I met plenty of people there that were just planning on a week or so skiing and ended up staying for a year or two. It is quite a good place to try and get work. Lots of tourists (which Queenstown has) means plenty of Jobs either in bars, restaurants, snow related jobs and chalet assistants.

At the start of this piece I talked about hitch hiking. I just want to finish with a word of warning! We were 3 lads travelling together all with mobile phones. We knew where each of us was going which made it easy to keep tabs on each other. So if we didn’t manage to get the same car we would be able to phone each other if there was a problem or one of us didn’t turn up. Hitch hiking can save you money but it is not without its dangers. So be careful, make sure someone knows where you are heading and if anything feels a little bit dodgy trust your instinct and don’t get in the car with them. Finally one tip is to only accept a lift from a car that has more than one person in it and preferably with women in it. This may sound sexist but it is fact of life!

Anyway, if you are planning on going to Queenstown I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. If you have any questions about anything I have written here or you would like to add any of your experiences please contact us for opportunities.