Saturday, 23 October 2010

More Hill climbing

Sunday 24th October 2010

MP3 track of the day: White Tree- Lord of the Rings

Weather: Beautiful; sunny with a few clouds in the air and strong winds on the tops of the mountains ... couldn't be better.

So the bed turned out to be pretty comfortable, which was nice. However the racket, on the main street outside, wasn't so good and due to the bank holiday being tomorrow, Queenstown has a jazz festival for the whole of the bank holiday weekend ... oh goodie.

A lazy start to the day with me missing breakfast, on purpose (I'll explain more later). As it was a bank holiday tomorrow I had been advised to stock up on food today as either places would be closed or charge an additional fee. The local supermarket was my first port of call ; as the 'base hostel' was still doing it's $5 evening meals on the bank holiday I only needed to worry about breakfast and lunch ... $12.00 sorted that out.

After this more essentials needed to be purchased as I've nearly ran out of toothpaste and I'm down to my last two seasick tablets (I don't normally get excited over seasick tablets but these 'Sea Legs' seem pretty good; they are chewy tablets that, after taking two, will last 24hrs ... not bad). Now I wanted to hate Queenstown; I wanted to say to you all not to bother to come here because I love Queenstowns younger sister, Wanaka. However, after about thirty minutes, I fell in love with Queenstown too.

The town is just so damn pretty; lovely shopping streets with beautiful wooden and stone buildings. I spend ages just walking around, getting lost and taking photos. I have also found a few good sites for tomorrow to take a couple of snaps when hopefully not as many people are around. It was about midday and I was starving due to not having any breakfast this morning. I had starved myself on purpose so that I could take on one of Queenstown's star attractions ... Furgburger.

When I had mentioned to any other traveler that I would be going to Queenstown the only thing they said to me was that I had to try Furgburger; they said it was the best burger joint they had ever been in. I gingerly went into Furgburger and as soon as I got through the door a nice looking lady asked me if she could take my order ... err just a minute love, I hadn't even looked at the menu yet.

Getting a little stressed I skimmed the large menu and decided that, as I was in Furgburger, I should have the Furgbuger ... with cheese. I got my ticket and waited for my number (105) to be called out. 105! ... one of the chefs shouted and so I walked around to the serving area, handed in my ticket and in return got a big paper bag. I sat back down at my seat and tore open the bag to reveal one of the biggest burgers I had ever seen. I first removed the tomato from the burger (as I had forgot to ask for it without tomato) and then picked up the huge burger within my tiny hands. It was beautiful; all of the ingredients are sourced locally and it was just superb, better than any burger I had in North America. It was so large that I only manged to finish it, but after I was content and did contemplate about returning, for another meal, if there was time.

After this I found my first proper chocolate and sweet shop within New Zealand, called 'The Remarkable Sweet Shop' (don't know whats remarkable about selling sweets). I walked in and to my joy there was a small glass display with shelves of proper chocolates; I enquired as to if all the chocolates on display were made in New Zealand. The answer was yes; the bottom rack consisted of chocolates made on the south island and the top rack the north. The only down side was that the guy explained to me that New Zealand chocolate is based on Belgian recipes. I still decided to give them a whirl and I ordered five different chocolates and a bag of New Zealand sweets called 'Milk Shakes'.

Now I had no idea if these 'Milk Shakes' were really New Zealand sweets, but after the first 'Milk Shake' I didn't really care, they were lovely and just what I needed as I walked to the start of the hill that I would be climbing today.

Queenstown hill would be the hill that I would conqueror today; I did think about going up the gondola onto another hill but at $27 they could forget it. I made my way north-east to the start of the walk up some very steep roads and past a beautiful church.

It was quite a strenuous walk and I nearly couldn't be bothered to complete it. However when I reached the top I thanked my lucky stars I hadn't turned around. The first stop was at the 'freedom basket'; a metal basket perched on top of some rocks about two-thirds of the way up the hill. The views from here were good enough, but when I finally reached the summit the views were sensational, stunning ... I would even go as far to say that they were Awesome. Now I haven't used that word for anything so far, not even Milford Sound, and that's not to say that I think this walk was better than Milford Sound, I think it's because I wasn't expecting much from this hill track and I was very pleasantly surprised.

I took hundreds of photos (check my flickr site) and walked along the top of the hill until I came to another viewing peak, but it wasn't as good as the first. At around 1:30pm I walked back past the summit of the hill, past the 'freedom basket' and into the town. As I was descending down the hill there was this fit woman in front of me; I tried to catch up to her to enquire if she had a mobile number that I could possibly have ... however she was just too quick for me and disappeared before I got the chance.

Once back at the hostel I chilled, uploaded my photos to the world wide web, and eat those posh chocolates. Overall I thought that the presentation, texture and the balance of taste between the actual chocolate and the filling was perfect. However they did taste so much like Belgian chocolates that, due to living in the UK, why wouldn't I just buy Belgian chocolates. They were a definite improvement on the Canadian chocs, but full marks to Canada for trying their own recipes (even if they were rubbish).

Tonight I shall once again purchase the $5 meal before heading to find a sports bar to watch what is left of the F1 (and hopefully watch Lewis Hamilton win) before I go to sleep. I've booked my next leg of my journey, Mount Cook is my next destination and prices have soared. YHA Mount Cook will be the first time that I have spent over $30 for a night in a hostel in New Zealand; I've only booked in for two nights as it's so expensive, but I might do three. I have also booked a flight, from Christchurch, back to Auckland on Saturday 5th November ... two days before flying out to Sydney. I'm looking forward to meeting up with Sarah and Alex again as it has seemed so long since I last met them. I wanted to fly on Friday, giving me two full days in Auckland, however flights on Saturday were $50 cheaper so I couldn't pass that up.

Toodle Pip!

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