After a Winnipeg Christmas with temperatures as cold as we have seen in 20 years and with snow as far south as Florida, it seemed essential, not merely just a good idea, to get the heck out of North America and head off to our favorite winter destination, New Zealand!
This is our third winter here and each year we like to explore a different corner of this amazing country. If one asks a group of Kiwis for advice on where to go and what to see, they most often point in the direction of the South Island, in particular, the Otago region. So here we are in Queenstown, the largest city in Otago. Queenstown is widely known as the adventure capital of New Zealand’s South Island, and some say, adventure capital of the world. That sounds like a big claim to live up to and we are keen to find out if it’s true.
Queenstown is the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping. (Kiwis like to spell it bungy.) Since 1988, people have flinging themselves 43 meters (about 15 stories) off the historic Kawarau Bridge into the Kawarau Gorge at AJ Hackett Bungy who got it all started here and essentially put Queenstown on the map for adventure travel. They wisely point out that they have a perfect safety record.
As you might expect, all of this opportunity for thrill seeking activity attracts throngs of young people from around the world. Queenstown is a crazy, busy party town all year round. You know you are in a young person’s town when the most famous restaurant is a burger joint. But in true Queenstown fashion, this isn’t just any burger joint. Fergburger is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. and that isn’t a typo. They close a mear three hours each day just so they can take a breath and clean the place up. No matter when you arrive, expect a long wait to order and another long wait for your meal to come out of the kitchen. But it is easy to be amused while waiting by just asking the time honored traveler’s question “Where are you from?” And the wait will be well rewarded! CNN calls it the best burger in New Zealand and perhaps the best burger in the world. You can’t say you have fully experienced Queenstown unless you have had a Fergburger.
In spite of all the choice for activities, I am content to golf, hike and do some exploring on my bike. There are lots of options for all three activities so you can expect to hear from me quite a bit over the next few weeks as Dennis and I explore this beautiful place, while keeping our feet firmly planted on the ground, or more correctly, no higher than a pedal stroke off the terra firma!
Keen to know more?
There are lots of resources available on Queenstown but their official site can be found here.
Check out AJ Hackett Bungy or read the history of bungee on Wikipedia.
See what CNN has to say about Fergburger. I guarantee their picture of the Fergburger will either make your mouth water or totally disgust you.