Thursday 21st May
We’ve done it! Only 4 months into our world trip, we’ve found the place we’d like to live in! Queenstown!! What an amazing place! It’s got incredible scenery, every sport you could ever want (and plenty you wouldn’t want) and a buzzing atmosphere. Loads of bars, cafés and restaurants, and generally it just oozes a really nice vibe. And as a huge bonus, skiing only 20 minutes away. This is paradise! Yes, this could definitely be our future one day!
We kicked off today by visiting the AJ Hackett Bungy at Kawarau Bridge. This is the original and iconic New Zealand bungy and has been there for 25 years now. It’s not the highest by a long way (only 43m), and is bloody expensive (£100 a go!), but it was great to watch some nutters throwing themselves off. I was tempted, but to be fair if I’m going to do it I want to do one of the huge ones, so I’ll wait until Australia and do one with Josh. Great viewing entertainment though!
It then seemed like the right time to get a tattoo done. My last one was 20 years ago, just before Josh was born, and when I was in the police in London! I’ve been wanting to get a Led Zeppelin-based tattoo for some time now, so this was it. And Queenstown has one of the best tattoo studios in NZ, Otautahi Tattoo. Strange to come all this way to have my tattoo done by a Scottish lad! But I’m really pleased with it, and am already thinking of more to come! Charlotte thought about having one, but couldn’t decide what to get. I suggested having “Wide Load” inked at the bottom of her back, but that didn’t seem to go down too well….. I know many people don’t like tattoos, but personally I do.
The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy at the northernmost end of the lake is beautiful and wild. The mountains are all around you, yet it doesn’t feel too claustrophobic (unlike Chamonix, in my opinion). The sound track to this drive was Ozric Tentacles, as recommended by Finch. See, not only has Finch supported us on our ARSE Campaign, but he has been my musical advisor for the past 4 months (well, 15 years really). He has become our UK Support Manager for our big trip! You’re a very fine man Finch!!!! Keep those recommendations coming! Absolutely loving Ozric Tentacles, and I’ve got 25 albums to plough through now….
Yesterday we decided that seeing as how NZ radio stations are so dire, we’d download a few podcasts from various places. Charlotte was full of despair as I downloaded 6 episodes of Claire Balding’s Ramble On The Dales Way. I’m now not allowed to play it other than on the privacy of my own headphones….
So Glenorchy tonight, and we’re parked right on the very edge of the lake (literally) hidden away in a free camping spot. Perfect.
We’re back to Queenstown tomorrow for various activities (cable car, luge, Shotover Jet Boat) and then a big night out at a bar to see a band, featuring my friend Joe’s brother Thom Bentley! It’s a small world!
Friday 22nd May
Another perfect morning, cloudless sky and thick frost on the ground. Bitterly cold, requiring extreme bed wear!
Entertainment was provided last night by three lads who’d towed a home made sauna down to the lakeside! It resembled a corrugated iron shed on wheels! Highly amusing to hear their screams as they jumped out of the sauna and into the freezing lake!
We travelled the road back to Queenstown, which is as always an incredible road, another cycling “must”! First stop was the dreaded emptying of the toilet, which was close to over flowing! A particularly traumatising incident once again….. Charlotte is now banned from using it.
Then, up on the gondola to the Peak above Queenstown, where despite being in our 40s we went on the luge toboggan run! Twice! Much fun, capped off with a couple of mulled wines. Very nice!
Charlotte has finally persuaded me to have my haircut, so we’ve bought some clippers, and Cha has made her debut as a hairdresser. Not done too bad a job really, perfecting the “tennis ball” style. I’m not sure Vidal is calling her yet though…..
So, Queenstown. Could it be our future???