I am a prairie girl. Born and raised on the flatlands of central Canada. So the experience of waking up in tiny Makarora, and being immediately confronted with dramatic mountains was an amazing one. Our Stray bus driver had a lot of activities planned for us that day, so it was necessary to make an early start.
A common sight on the Stray backpacking bus is the sign up sheet. With so many awe inspiring and adrenaline pumping activities on offer in New Zealand, one must be organized. Our destination today is Queenstown – the adventure capital of New Zealand, possibly even the world. All sorts of fear inducing adventures are available in Queenstown – from skydiving, to bungy jumping, para gliding, and jet boating. If the sound of those get you excited, then you will be happy to hear of the additional benefit of backpacking New Zealand with Stray – the discounts.
One of the places where you can get a sizable discount is AJ Hackett – the world’s first bungy location. Even though there is no way in hell I would ever jump off something head first with my feet tied together, I did thoroughly enjoy watching other people do it from the viewing platform. The bungy is from a bridge over an amazingly blue glacial river, and if you are lucky (or unlucky), you can be dunked in the river during your bungy.
Even if you are like me, and would not ever consider bungy jumping, I definitely recommend checking out the AJ Hacket centre and watching other people take part.
As I said – I am a prairie girl. We don’t have mountains, fast flowing rivers, or things to jump off of. So I passed on many of the Queenstown adventures. I am much more interested in beautiful scenery, and the drive to Queenstown offered plenty of that. We made several photo stops through out the day, one of the most striking was of lake Te Anau.
Queenstown is a very interesting place. It is situated in a stunningly beautiful location, with a long stretching lake on one side and mountains on the other. It would be just the sort of place to relax and feel at one with nature. But then there is the adrenaline side of things. Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, and pretty much any sort of extreme adventure activity can be found there.
Just a little further down the road is the town of Wanaka. Wanaka is very similar to Queenstown – it has mountains and lakes and crisp mountain air. It is a lot more laid back than Queenstown – but still offers plenty of opportunity for adventure.
And then there is Te Anau. Te Anau is the wall flower of these three towns. Although Te Anau is just as beautiful as Queenstown or Wanaka, it is much, much more quiet. James and I chose to spend the majority of our time in Te Anau. We are a little past the point in our lives where we want to party 24-7 (and also our budget does not allow either!), so Queenstown is always a little bit overwhelming for us. Te Anau is also the starting point for some pretty amazing hiking opportunities …. but more on that later!
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