Dubbed as the Adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown is a mecca for mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, parasailing, skydiving, and water sports. As much as I would love to retail you with stories of jumping off of stuff and careening down things, I did very little (read: none) of that during our couple of days in Queenstown. What we did, mostly, was enjoy being in town and catching up with some of Tim’s old friends. We spent a couple of days drinking our way around town and enjoying the bustling, light-hearted atmosphere of the place. Queenstown itself is beautiful; surrounded by hills, perched on a gorgeous lake, it is certainly your picturesque New Zealand town. This is somewhere a person could happily spend a few months out of the year.
It was then time to begin our long journey north. We left in the afternoon, after Tim squeezed in a quick mountain biking trip, and headed towards Castle HIll. Castle Hill is an area dotted with very unique rock formations, and has become a popular spot for climbers and boulderers. We pitched out tent for a night in the nearby campground (for a whopping $12/night) and managed to get a solid half-day of climbing in amongst the boulders. We had a long drive ahead of us back to Picton that evening, where we were to catch the 2 a.m. ferry back to the North Island. Upon arrival in Wellington somewhere in the neighbourhood of 6 a.m., we didn’t waste any time before commencing the 8 hour (ish) drive back up to Auckland. The hurry was purposeful, though, as we got back to Tim’s family’s place at a reasonable hour in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. We had an amazing Christmas – my second in a row in this half of the world – and I was completely spoiled and felt right at home with stockings, a turkey, and thoughtful gifts. Though missing all of the crew back in Canada, I certainly couldn’t have asked for a better time in New Zealand.
And there we have it! (I’m finally almost caught up!) We had a couple of days to pack, and pack again, and shove all of Tim’s remaining stuff into closets in the garage, and we were all of a sudden off to Mexico in a very short amount of time!