When we first started our trip, Ashley and I were both excited about all the places we would see. However, we both were looking forward to New Zealand. We went into New Zealand with high expectations for our time there and (spoiler) it delivered. After we had a great time in Australia we were finally heading to New Zealand and we were both really excited.
As the plane started descending for landing we got a glimpse of the landscape and it was beautiful. Our approach into the airport was also interesting for any aviation fans out there. The plane dropped down between the mountains and it’s weird seeing mountains go by right outside the plan. Upon landing we used every inch of the runway stopping just yards before the end. The plane went so far we had to pull a 180 on the runway and go back up the runway to exit it.
At this point it was Christmas Eve and we were both really excited because my family was on their way to New Zealand to meet us for Christmas!!! We had not seen anyone we knew for the first 4 months of the trip so getting to see family would be a great break from the trip.
We had 2 nights to kill before my family got there so we ended up booking a hostel right in the middle of Queenstown. When we first arrived Ashley and I walked around the city and we both agreed that it felt a lot like a Colorado mountain town in the summer. After we explored the city for a bit and had lunch we made our way down to the small marina which was kind of the central hub for the city.
They were doing a demonstration for “Fly Boards”. A fly board is something that you attach onto the back of your wave runner that pushes the water from the engine to a board allowing you to control it and fly around. They were able to do some incredible tricks with this thing and I was hooked instantly! I really wanted to try it but there’s just one problem. The water in New Zealand is incredibly cold so I opted to skip it this time but I’m on the look out for another opportunity!
I also sent a message to Stephen Parcell and offered to pitch in $100 on this $7,500 wave runner accessory. No word back from him yet…
That night Ashley and I went out for a nice dinner around the marina area. They had some amazing lamb and we both really enjoyed the meal. We went back to our hostel and got settled in for our next 2 nights before my parents arrived. We booked pretty late and ended up a shared room for only the 2nd or 3rd time on the trip. We had bunk beds that we shared with a nice couple from Germany.
The next day Ashley and I spent a bit more timing checking out Queenstown. Since my parents were coming into town the next day we decided to go check out the house they rented. It was a decent walk to get there but we had nothing better to do. Along the way we saw some people trying out the flyboards.
Upon arriving back in Queentown we were scheduled to meet up with some friends we met prior on the trip. It turned out that when we posted on facebook we were going to be in Queenstown, some of the friends we met in Fiji would be there at the same time. They had met a couple along the way and the 6 of us were to meet up and have a drink. What are the odds we would end up in the same spot as someone we met in Fiji at the same time! What’s even more crazy is that the couple they had met that was joining us was the exact same couple we were sharing a room with at our hostel. Crazy!!
It was Christmas so that night our hostel put on a Christmas dinner for us. It was actually pretty good and it was nice to get to spend some more time talking with Manual and Franziska. We hadn’t met many other couples traveling but they had been on the road for a long time! They were on day 400 and something so they had this traveling thing down!