Tuesday, March 8, 2016

New Zealand Trip Recap : Part 4 (Queenstown & Date Night)

 If you're new here, or haven't tuned in for a while, the BF and I just got back from a 10 day (counting travel) // 7 night trip to New Zealand. This is part four of my trip recap, part one here, part two here, part three here. Stay tuned as I'll be back with some tips on how to not strangle your significant other while traveling together on Thursday.
I've done my best to list our meals, anything with a + I would recommend.

{day six}
On Day 4 the BF & I hiked Queenstown Hill. A local gentleman was nice enough to take a few photos of us & give us a few more hiking recommendations. We had heard great things about Ben Lomond, a day long hike reaching a peak over 5,000 FT high. We tacked in onto our list but were warned to make a gametime decision as the hike was not safe in rainy // stormy weather.

We woke up early to gloom & rain & were told it would continue. So, we went to plan B. After breakfast, we hopped in the car to drive towards Glenorchy. It was about an hours drive down the road from Queenstown, but the drive was beautiful as we skirted the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

We drove into Glenorchy, which had a few cutesy cafes & an info center. We headed down to the waters edge to get our bearings before back tracking a few kilometers to get to the start of the Judah Track.

As we parked & began our hike we were unsure if we would have time // enough good weather to make it to the top. We reached an old mining hut with a few buildings & we could see the stormy weather rolling over the mountains in the distance. The BF thought we should maybe wait it out there, under shelter, since the storm appeared to be moving fast. I said we should keep going, so we trekked on.

Our next stopping point was another old mine station. There were old mine cart tracks covered with grass & an old mine entrance we were able to peak into. While signs warned not to go inside we could see old mining equipment strewn about & glorious cool air was pouring out. The wind was really raging at this point, but we had no idea how far away the storm was, or if it was heading our way. So, we kept heading up the mountain.

We reached a trail split. Our intended hike carried on up the mountain, while another split off to the left down into a valley. We thought we had been making good time, but the sign claimed another 1.5 hours to the summit. We plopped down to enjoy a snack & with the winds howling around us decided it was time to turn around.

Snack time view

Somehow, despite all the winds & the angry looking clouds around us, we never got more than spit on during the course of our hike.

It turns our we were lucky as it rained our whole hour drive back to Queenstown. We stopped off at an area known as Bob's Cove for a quick jaunt through the rainforest.

The Jetty at Bob's Cove
Afterwards, we showered & rallied, we had big date night plans that evening to celebrate Valentine's Day.

| side note | Considering it took until February to celebrate the BF's birthday that happened in November, celebrating Valentine's Day only 11 days late is pretty much on time for us.

We had booked a Skyline Gondola ride + dinner for the evening. Since it was still raining we snatched an umbrella from the front desk & made our way towards the base of the Gondola.

| side note | The more I learn about relationships, the more I'm certain that couples who stay together do not share umbrellas. We just had to laugh. We COULD NOT find an angle that would keep both of us all the way dry.

It was a little foggy & rainy when we first sat down, but quickly cleared up to give us an incredible view of the city. The food was pretty damn good too.

breakfast : hotel
lunch : PBJ
dinner : Stratosfare Restaurant

{day seven}
After a leisurely wake up, breakfast & walk around town to mail some postcards we hopped in the car & headed towards Christchurch. The drive was about 6 hours total, but we added some stops & took our time, including a stop at a cidery (think winery, but for hard cider) & a few lookout points. Our PB&J supplies came in handy big time because there weren't many lunch options en route. 

We grabbed dinner & spent some time returning our rental car before strolling around town soaking up the last of the warm weather.

breakfast : hotel
lunch : PBJ
dinner : Sampan House +

{day eight}
We researched some brunch places & decided a good meal was worth a bit of a walk. We walked about 20 minutes from our hotel to a place called Hello Sunday. The food was tasty, smoked salmon benedict for her, something with corned beef & a poached egg for him. My gripe? Those tiny little cups of coffee again. Like, can I get 8 more of those please?

brunch : Hello Sunday +

After that, we strolled through the Botanical Gardens one last time & stopped to pay respects at the old Christchurch Cathedral before it was off to the airport, where we relished an airport beer to spend the rest of our NZD$.

Christchurch Cathedral, destroyed in the 2/22/11 earthquake. Final fate unknown.

We left Christchurch Saturday at 335PM, only to arrive to LAX at 1245PM on Saturday. Boy, does that dateline + time change really mess with your head.

I can't believe it's over and we lived to tell the tale. Just one more month until I take off on my next adventure, so I've already let the countdown begin.

Anything else you wish I had included in my travel recaps?
Is NZ on your bucket list?
How do you keep from going crazy on long flights?

I'm linking up with Lisa , Emily, A Little R&R & Wake up Wednesday to share my post today!


  1. Sounds like a great trip! New Zealand really wasn't on my radar until reading your recap but now I think I'd love to go. And I agree with you in the umbrella thing. Mike and I cannot share an umbrella. Couples that want to stay together should avoid that. And tandem bikes :)

  2. There's your million dollar idea right there - an umbrella for two :)
    Ahhh - that poor cathedral. I hope they restore it.
    Where are you going to next??!?!

    1. I'm headed to Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro & Venice, Italy in April for two weeks!

      There were actually some protests while we were there in the square surrounding the Cathedral. The masses seem divided on whether to restore or tear down, but everyone seems to agree that it's time to just make a decision & go with it. 5 years is too long to wait.

  3. yeah we definitely do not share umbrellas hahaha. i hate umbrellas because they are horrible in crowds and people always hit each other. so annoying.
    oh i'm so glad you enjoyed the skyline thing as that is on my list as well :)

    1. Definitely make dinner reservations in advance online if you plan to do the restaurant. We barely got a spot. The gondola seems to be available all the time. They have an observation deck + a little cafe for coffee at the top. And a bar. So very easy to spend some time up there enjoying the view.

  4. Such a shame about the weather, Queenstown on a sunny day is really the most stunning place! Interesting to see your photo of Christchurch Cathedral. I haven't visited Christchurch CBD since before the earthquake, when it was bustling with business people and tourists. So strange to see it now with gravel and weeds where there used to be cobblestones and crowds...

  5. mmmm brunch what a cute name for a restaurant by the way! the coffee may be small but the art is on point :)


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