Te Araroa: Part Eleven

The date was December 17th, 2016…

To say we’d made it to Queenstown with ease would be nothing less than a true story. We honestly had. When the Cass-Lagoon had finished we'd hopped a bus to Lake Tekapo. From there, we found two men and a dog who offered us a drive to Wanaka, which led to a music party through the mountains for two hours. Everything was going smoothly, although I’d contracted some sort of sickness during our last trek, which had left me with a sore body and a very unpleasant evening in Wanaka.

While in Wanaka, Lyra and I ran into my old friend Nicole. Remember her? The one who’d originally found me on the side of the road in Matamata, then again in Taupo - where she took me on a four day adventure down to Wellington. Here she was again - offering us a drive to Queenstown while making us a delicious dinner and playing New Zealand game shows on the television. Of course she would be there to send us off into our next part of the journey. 

The drive to Queenstown was about two hours, and it breezed by with our banter and endless laughing. Everything went as planned - with occasional pull overs as the nausea came back. 

Side note; You know what I learned from that illness? Always filter your water. Just do it. Okay? I’m not even kidding. Being sick led to missing a cool trek, laying around on a beautiful day, and having a disturbing night with three hostel mates. Did I deserve it? I say no, but my Sawyer Mini is still laughing at me.

Anyways, Queenstown.

We arrived in the early afternoon, where Nicole dropped us off at the Southern Laughter Hostel - AKA: the greatest hostel in the world. We were given our keys to a sweet ass room, where multiple amazing people were there to greet us. This included a boy from Boston with a sense for adventure and cars, another girl from France who had a quiet, yet excited personality, a young and spontaneous girl from Australia who would jump off the walls to the hint of a new journey, an American girl with confidence that shared the force to move mountains, and another girl from England, who’s travels made her stronger with every step.

“This is perfect.” I stated, laying on my bunkbed while Lyra unpacked her bag.

She had received her bounce box, a box full of belongings including replacement shoes and pants that gets mailed along the trail as you walk it. She was digging through it to see what she could use.

“I’m excited that we’re here. There are so many things to do.” Lyra cheered, eyes still fixated on the box of goodies infront of her.

“What should we do first?” I asked, though I already knew the answer.

“FERGBURGER!” We both yelled.

Fergburger is a burger joint in Queenstown that has grown quite a reputation. Almost every Kiwi who we’d passed had told us to stop there on our way through. We had to listen to them, obviously.

The walk there was full of excitement as we walked passed pubs, shops, icecream parlours, and other hostels. Everywhere we turned had another traveller from another country. Clearly, Queenstown was the place to be! When we arrived at our destination, we couldn't help but laugh at what was infront of us. We were told of the lines that occur at Fergburger, but nothing prepared us for what it was actually like. When we got there, the line went down the street - at least a thirty minute wait. We were told, however, that it was worth it.

And worth it, it was.

“Jesus Christ, this burger is delicious.” I said, mouth full of bacon and beef, only seconds after arriving back at the hostel.

Lyra was staring at the ceiling, as if she’d just bitten into the world. “Oh my god.” is all she could mutter.

That evening, with our bodies full of happiness, we went out to an Ice Bar with our Flatmates. As a Canadian, I gotta say, you don’t really need a jacket in there. That being said, the jacket adds to the adventure. Also, they don’t let you go in without it. I wore it mainly for that reason.

We spent the night on the streets of Queenstown, heading to a dance bar and dancing until we couldn’t see straight. It was a night to remember, and one I will never forget.

The next few days were spent relaxing, driving to Blue Pool (It was raining, so it was actually murky grey. HOWEVER, it was still cold to the touch. I only know this because I jumped into it and almost got swept away. But, we’ll leave that for another time), eating more Ferg, then walking along the beach and gardens of Queenstown. There was also a tattoo in there, but what else is new?

It was safe to say Queenstown had become one of my favourite places in New Zealand. The people, the sights, and the nightlife that gave me just enough of a reminder of home without being too overwhelming. I never wanted to leave.

However, all things come to an end. Good and bad.

“Hey Caitlyn, get up.” Lyra said. “It’s time to get back to the TA.”

Just like that, our five day break had been completed. We made our way to the edge of town and with one last glimpse of the mountains along the lake that resided in the middle of Queenstown, we stuck our thumbs out and waited for our drive to arrive. The one that would take us to our next stop - Greenstone Caples.