From Darwin I flew to Melbourne where I spent Australia day before flying to New Zealand. I fly into Christchurch, arriving at 5am in the morning. As funds were already getting low, I'd decided not to hang around and booked a cheap bus down to Queenstown. Whilst I'd seen pictures and heard so many things about the scenery in New Zealand, nothing could have really prepared me for the spectacular views all the way down the South Island: there was just something so unreal about everything I saw! I felt like I was looking at a computer edited image – the lakes and rivers were such a bright blue and the water so clear, and the grass was a vivid green, so very different to Australia.
It took about 8 hours to reach Queenstown. I'd booked into a hostel for a couple of nights until I got settled. That evening I went for my first (and so far only) Fergburger. This place is pretty infamous – everyone I'd ever met who had been in Queenstown had told me to get one, and it lived up to its name. Naturally I didn't get a meaty one, instead I got a falafel burger but it was pretty amazing. They're hugely popular and I've never once walked past when there hasn't been a queue.
The next day I started looking for a place to live, after 5 months in hostel I was ready for a change, and living in hostels isn't actually that cheap. I found a room for rent close to town and pretty cheap so had a look round and moved in two days later. After the weekend, I started the job hunt! It wasn't long before I started working in the call centre which was hell however I really was low on money so I'd have accepted anything. I think I lasted 6 days before I had to get out of there, which, surprisingly is longer than most! Currently, I'm back on the job hunt but at least I made a bit of money to pay for rent and food for a few weeks, and I made some really good mates too.
I've been living in the house about 2 weeks now, and I've finally met all the others who live here. There's 10 of us altogether but most people work and with different hours, it only ever feels like you're sharing with a few people. Its pretty multicultural too: Kiwi, English, German, Japanese, Korean and a guy from Chile.
After a couple of days I met up with Sandy who I knew from back home but he's been out here a couple of years now and so I regularly get out climbing with him and his friends which is great. Even went out biking with him but had a pretty bad asthma attack so that didn't go too well! There's heaps of walks to do around here too, I've walked to Frankton along the lake which is a really nice walk and up to the top of the Gondola too. Queenstown is very similar to the Lakes, just more spectacular and has a younger population. Its funny, it doesn't really feel like its part of the real world!
Frisbee is quite a big thing over here: a few of us from the call centre went for our first “round” of frisbee golf in the gardens the other day. Its a good past time but not quite as fun as ultimate frisbee! Josh and I bought an ultimate frisbee at the weekend and have spent every day since throwing it around the park, hopefully we'll get enough for a proper game soon..!
One of the great things about travelling is being able to meet up with people you've met before. I was out in town one night and ran into a guy who I'd met in Malaysia and had no clue he was coming to NZ, turns out he's living in Queenstown at the minute! A couple of days later Andy, Steve and Alec arrived in QT making it 4 different countries I've met up with them now, and Stacey (who I met in Oz) gets here on Thursday.
There seems to always be something to do around here, even if its just going to sit by the lake for a while. I really like it here, things are just so easy. Hopefully it won't be too long before I find a job and can start doing a few more things – desperate to get on the downhill tracks but I can't quite justify spending the money on a lift pass just yet. Life here is only just beginning...