Have you guys been busy the past few weeks? I know I have!
I celebrated my first American Halloween in Australia. It was a crazy night, but so memorable. Okay, I blush a little each time I talk about my costume. I was a “walk of shame.” You know, when you’re in college and you see that person walking home on a Sunday morning after a LONG night. Well, that was me… sort of. I did not have a walk of shame, I am just a great actor. LOL.
Just a couple of days after Halloween, I was jumping around my room hastily packing for my trip to NEW ZEALAND. That’s right, people.. NEW to the Z-E-A-L-A-N-D! I’ve always wanted to go and there is no better to excuse to go to New Zealand than when you are in Australia. At least that is what I told my Dad. So, I didn’t sleep at all before my flight. I left my apartment with my friends, Emily, Enni and Sara, at 2:30 a.m. for our 5:30 a.m. flight… That is right, 5:30 IN THE MORNING. Good morning! We got to the airport super early and boarded our flight on time. We flew from Brisbane to Sydney and landed in Queenstown. WHAT A SCARY LANDING. I’ve never been a huge fan of flying, but I’ve learned to sleep on flights, so I don’t mind. As we were flying into Queenstown, the couple sitting next to me informed me how they used to be nervous fliers, but now that they are older they recognize that “if we go down, there isn’t anything we can do.” Thanks for the comfort… Shortly after telling me that, all of the flight passengers were getting thrown around in their seats. Seriously… If I wasn’t buckled in, I would have been in the aisle. Fear escalated when people started to shriek on the plane. I guess this type of turbulence happens whenever you fly into Queenstown. My friendly couple next to me told me it is because when you fly into Queenstown, the plane goes in between the mountains and often gets caught by the wind gusts in the mountains. Perfect. After we safely landed, I hurried off the plane and onto solid ground. Yes, please.
Shortly after landing, we made our way to the hostel we were staying at, Reaver’s Lodge. It was up a GIANT hill, but the view was totally worth the hike up the hill multiple times a day.
The rest of the night is sort of a blur. New Zealand is three hours ahead of Sippy Downs (where I live) time. So, technically, when I was in New Zealand I was 17 hours in the future. Weird.
The next day, we ventured to the Gondola! We got in a tiny little cab thing and were taking up on a wire! It was somewhat terrifying, but all the views were worth it. One of the coolest parts of the day was riding on the Luge. The Luge is like a go-kart track… But you ride in little plastic go-karts things down a track. You really pick up speed going down the track. Towards the end of the course, the track gets narrow and curvy. You’d think that a person would slow their plastic cart down, but not me. I ran right into the curb and flew out of the cart. No injuries were sustained, just an embarrassing story. A great moment to say “YOLO”– right? Glad you agree.
After a long day of sight seeing, we rushed back to the hostel only to get ready to go back out on the town! For being a smaller town, Queenstown definitely knows how to party! We had a great time.
The next morning, we woke up nice and early and headed on our way to jump off a bridge. I didn’t get a lot of sleep because I could only think of the bungy cord ripping… No big deal, right? Wrong. I’m scared of heights and I don’t like the idea of falling to my death, so why I decided to bungy jump is beyond me. I guess I love adrenaline and the feeling you get after you do something you never thought you could.
Okay, so we get to the Kawaru and before I know it, I am standing on the edge of the bridge with the bungy cord wrapped around my ankles 43 meters (about 141 feet) above water. I hear the guide say, “walk to the edge, look up, put your hands up, and jump.” HAHAHA! YEAH OKAY. NO THANK YOU. But for some mysterious reason I followed his directions and before I knew it I was jumping off the bridge. It is somewhat comforting watching other people jump before you actually have to jump. All what I could think was “I hope I don’t scream like a little girl running away from a spider…” Well, I sounded even more terrified than that. I just remember screaming “OH NOOOOO” and then laughing the rest of the time. I guess, when I confronted my fear of falling and heights, all what my body could do was laugh. That’s pretty normal for me. The scariest part of the jump wasn’t the actual jump… It was after free falling for a few seconds, you expect to feel the cord pull you back up, well, it took a long time for me to feel that. I thought I was going head first into the river… No worries, I survived and I still can’t stop laughing when I think about the feeling!
What a jump! Whew. I couldn’t believe I actually did it! The adrenaline I felt afterwards was CRAZY!
Later on during the day, we went RIVER SURFING! No, I didn’t try to stand on another board… Ha ha! That was rough enough the first time. Imagine white water rafting… Going down grade 2-3 rapids but take away the raft and give all the passengers their own body board. That’s right, I went river surfing in rapids on a body board. I don’t have any pictures of this yet, but when I get them, I will be sure to post! River surfing was by far the most exhausting activity we did, but it was my favorite! It was such an awesome experience to feel the cold, COLD river water rushing over you while getting sucked into a mini whirlpool. I would go back and do it in a heartbeat.
Okay, so after this action packed day, I needed some major R&R… So naturally, I went into the hot tub in the middle area of our hostel. If you sat in just the right spot, you could look out over the mountains. It was the most relaxing spot without a doubt.
The following day was the Shotover Jet. It is a speed boat that zips through the canyons. Again, another adrenaline boost! The speed boat powered through the shallow waters and continued to do 360 spins and cut the corners close making it feel like you were about to fly into the mountain! Again– I don’t have any pictures of this event, but it is your standard speed boat going through the mountains.
Two of my favorite parts of Queenstown: CookieTime and FergBurger
CookieTime is a whole shop dedicated to delicious cookies. I got a warm cookie ice cream sandwich. One raspberry white chocolate cookie, cookies and cream ice cream, and one chocolate chip cookie. Heaven.
Next up: FergBurger… Probably one of the BEST burgers I have ever had in my life. It was a challenge to finish the whole thing, but you best believe I did… I know, it isn’t that surprising. I love food.
Ahhh, I’m hungry all over again. Darn it.
So, after all of this excitement and week in New Zealand, we needed one way to really rock Queenstown… we signed up for a bar crawl. The crawl took us to six different bars, including the famous ICE BAR. It is a bar that is made completely of ice. The stools, the tables, the glasses, the random ice sculptures, everything. It was so cool.
Sorry about the duck face. Haha!
The bar crawl was the perfect was to end the trip! It was such a fun night out. I was so happy the next morning– I woke up feeling refreshing and brand new… If you’ve ever been on a bar crawl, I know that you understand why I was so happy. Ha! We spent our last few hours in Queenstown sitting by the dock in the grass taking in the scenery.
New Zealand 2012…. What a week.
Okay– flying out of Queenstown– I WAS SCARED. After the first episode of turbulence, I thought flying out would be just as bad. We were even in a baby plane… The one with the propellers on the wings. Surprisingly, it was a nice and smooth ride. We flew from Queenstown to ChristChurch to Brisbane. After all of the traveling and adventures, I was so happy to see my own bed! It was perfect. I got home on November 8 and I turned 22 at midnight (November 9). I spent the night with a few good friends and I couldn’t be happier about it.
The following day, I spent the day celebrating with great people. Hillary and I went to Hungry Jack’s (Burger King) for lunch followed by McDonald’s for dessert. It was a perfect birthday! Thank you to everyone who made it special! I am definitely thankful for everyone in my life. I have never been more grateful for all of my friends and family.
Well, that is how the story goes… pretty crazy, right? This is my fourth attempt at writing this blog… Each other time I somehow deleted the post and could not recover it.
Guess what? It is FINALS WEEK(S)… I have one final on Wednesday, one Thursday and one next Wednesday! I’ll be blogging a few more times as I start to get sentimental about my experiences here in Australia. I cannot believe I only have 10 days left.