The “places to be” – Wanaka vs. Queenstown (NZ ~ 17.-25.10.2017)

Sometimes it’s so easy to write about my travels and destinations and what happened. And sometimes it costs me hours of thinking and days of collecting enough to write something down. I enjoyed Wanaka and Queenstown a lot and it still was very hard to put some lines together. But enough self-pity, here we go:

Wanaka & Queenstown – a short summary

  • I tried something new (and a bit scary at first) with rock climbing. 
  • I did a long wanted item on my to do list (the scrum master certificate).             
  • I made a lot of new friends. 
  • I’m still not recognized as German. 
  • I’m traveling onwards alone. The fellowship came to a crossroad.  

Wanaka and Queenstown seem to have an ongoing battle who’s best – the more reserved and chilled Wanaka or the lively and up to every party Queenstown. Both lie at the edge of beautiful lakes, surrounded by mountains.

So, what do we have on our pro lists?

  
Kayaking on Lake Wanaka

It was amazing. So beautiful being out on the lake. I could use all I learned in Canada from Dan and felt pretty good. Although sitting in this double kayak I had more than once the question popping up what happened if I kicked Michael out of it. Since we got up that day he was behaving like an ill-tempered diva. And even the wonderful views we had on the lake in the kayak didn’t get any positive reaction from him. Michael, I love you but I was so close to knock you out from behind – or maybe just leave you ashore during our planned lunch break. 

And just when we finished our sandwiches and I was about to make up a plan he apologized for being such a d*ck. He was unknowingly hangry all the time and just realized it after the food. You know the Snickers commercial? Yup, that’s him. 

So the other half of the kayak trip was so much fun and it felt like having his good twin back on the boat. 

Is this how I behave when I’m hangry? I’m sorry guys. For all I said and did when I was hungry. 

Moments at Wanaka tree

The Wanaka tree is one of the few (free) must gos in Wanaka. And it’s best for sunset. Or sunset and sunrise. So I wen there. With lots of photographers already waiting on the spot. This hours of dedication and every minute adjustments to try to get the best picture. While I kept standing there and took a picture once in a while with my iPhone. Saying hello to the night on my first visit. And welcoming the day on the second visit. Enjoying the birds who ban the night and there heavy dreams for another 12 hours. And watching ducks and ducklings on their first days out. 

These pictures are what you get with a phone and not much patience. 

Side note 1: There was a “drone guy” who was sent away during the sunset when he steered his drone just into the photos of all the dedicated people waiting there for ours. So on the day I went there for the sunrise he didn’t show up. Or least not in person. Suddenly just his drone “appeared” at the sunrise scene – holding back a bit this time that no one’s picture was disturbed. The guide of the photographers tried to find out where the drone came from. And I just had to laugh so much. 

Side note 2: Just to the right of the Wanaka tree there stood a little guy. One branch, one leaf. Trying really hard. But no one wanted to take pictures of it. Only its bigger sibling. Little tree, I saw you. You rock!


Wanaka’s pies

It became kind of a running gag that I’m always bringing pie into the conversation and somehow crave for it. First I thought it might be because I normally don’t eat this kind of food back home. But today when I sat at the lakefront in Wanaka and bit into my chicken and corn pie it hit me. The taste is absolutely the one from one of my grandma‘s quick meals that she used to prepare. Ragout fin in pastry. Biting into a creamy chicken or chicken and corn pie feels like sitting at the table in the Wintergarten again. 

I miss you, grandma.

 

  

Queenstown – or why it ended up 2nd place behind Wanaka

Queenstown started so well after we arrived from relaxing Wanaka. We were hyped to call Queenstown maybe the coolest place – concerning towns/villages/cities – in New Zealand. So many things popped up easily on the pro side:

Going out: In every town so far even in Auckland and Wellington it felt that after 7pm everyone got back home and the streets were empty. But here you can go shopping til 9 pm – with the danger to buy something nice… happened – and all the bars are filled with happy people. So of course I had to go out for two pub crawls. With the big surprise of an instant breakdance performance on crawl no. 1 who left every one in awe – That’s still epic, Tammy! – and lots of bars, drinks and dances on crawl no. 2. And an Aussie who started being drunk but made it all the way through the 5 bars, where we finally took him home with our respect earned.

[There are too many drunken people in the pictures so they are not published 😂 ]

   

Activities
: You can literally do anything here. From a fun 18 baskets round of frisbee golf to rock climbing – for the more scared people like me – to skydiving or the home of Bungy – both for Michael. Ok, fair, most of these things you can also do in Wanaka. But it feels as Queenstown has it densely packed into one spot.

People: You get in touch with people who you normally wouldn’t meet because you’re all in completely different chapters of your lifes. And I wouldn’t have got a 3 am burger and a scotch evening talk with the 5 German Au-pair girls – see you in Christchurch! 

Adventure Queenstown Hostel: During my six nights in the awesome hostel with a lovely staff and perfect facilities no one snored. No one! I had such a good sleep.

Dough, though: The cookie bar with loads of fresh cookies had cookie dough. Enough said. 

    But then suddenly one event on the last day happened that let our whole Queenstown scale dip to the contra side: 

    Michael and I were so hyped that Moana (Vaiana) was selected for the hostel’s movie night on Sunday. Yeah, you read it right, Moana. The wonderful last Disney movie. We discussed if it was supposed to be a singalong or a just watch session but decided we would definitely sing along. The countlesse “You’re welcome”s thrown at each other during last week’s hikes and activities added to our excitement. And then on the morning of the movie night… they just changed the movie. Like that *finger snap* No warning, no questions, no gently prepared change communication. They just wiped out Moana on the white boards and wrote in another movie. I immediately went to the hostel’s reception totally in shock and asked how they could do that. I wasn’t taken serious. Just a “we want a more recent movie from 2017. Moana is too old.” So, phew, 5 points from Gryffindor. I like Wanaka more. 

    Finally on our last day together Michael and I swapped shoes. He needed sturdier ones for his ongoing travels and I loved his comfy shoes from the day we met. So after a trial day and 10 games of Chinese poker – and a couple of beers – the deal was settled. 

    Then it was time for a goodbye. Michael would travel on to Mt. Cook, Christchurch and further on to Australia. I was about to go further south to Te Anau. After traveling for 2 weeks I really hope we’ll do some of our crazily and enthusiastically planned activities in future together somewhere else on this planet.


     
    Side note 3: People react still quite surprised when they hear that I’m from Germany. Especially the native speakers still don’t know where to put me – preferred guesses for my accent and looks are Mediterranean or South American. 



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