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Published: February 26th 2010
Day 80: Monday, February 15th, 2010
Queenstown, New Zealand
Per Contiki brochure: "Leisure is probably the wrong word as Queenstown is known as the "Adventure-Adrenalin capital of the world", one of those places that you can literally do as much or as little as you like. A number of options to astound you await! Ever tried bungy jumping, sky diving, jet boating, river boarding, white water rafting, helicopter riding, luging, canyon swinging, four wheel driving, hiking??? Be extreme! Action by day, action by night- that's Queenstown. Yes, when you've dried off and caught your breath, it'll be time to experience Queenstown's legendary nightlife, and there's no shortage of venues for dining and socializing- why not try an optional meal at the world famous Skyline gondola complex."
I woke up to Alex's alarm around 6:30 this morning and it was nice to just roll back over and go to sleep. I finally woke up around 9:30 am which means I missed the free continental breakfast at the hotel, but I don't care- I got to sleep in!! I take a shower and head over to the hotel lobby to play on the Internet for a while. This hotel is great-
I 100%!r(MISSING)ecommend it if you ever go to Queenstown. The rooms feel more like condos (some are even 2 floors) and the main lobby area is beautiful with huge windows overlooking Lake Wakatipu
. Around 11:30am, I head back to the room to get ready for my excursion, Paradise Found Safari
I meet up with Erin in the lobby and we take the public bus into town and have time before our excursion so we lounge in a park for a bit. We head on over and there are enough of us that it's going to be two vans for the tour. Let me take a moment to say that the reason why I signed up for this tour is the fact that it was "Scenic" and had "Lord of the Rings" sights in it (but shouldn't be "see that tree? It was in the movie.") Also, I thought Emmo had said part of the tour would be on 4x4's and I had been wanting to do that. Nope, what I heard was that the tour was "4WD", not "4x4". So, we were in a 4WD minivan... on our way to a soccer game... I wanted to ask for a juice box.
In my van (I'm possessive, what can I say) was Grace (Australia), Erin, Lisa (Canada) and two other ladies from Canada who weren't with Contiki. Our tour guide, you shouldn't be surprised that I can't remember his name, was from New Zealand but spent a lot of time in Australia as well. And, he was very off putting. He started off with sexual innuendo jokes and I was prepared for a trip from hell. Luckily, Grace joked back with him and it made the situation more fun, and calmer in a way. By the end of the trip, we were all laughing, and he was a smitten kitten for Grace.
During the tour, we went to many LOTR locations and they were actually some of my favorite ones from the movies. Also, a couple of "X-Men: Wolverine" spots as well as "Willow" and "The Waterhorse" (of which our driver was a stunt double for one scene). Once again, this is a beautiful country- stunning views everywhere you look. We played dress up again in the one forrest where Borimir from LOTR "died" and I had another opportunity to pick my teeth with the Hobbit sword, "Sting". Grace and I
did a mock combat and since she had a real sword and I had the midget sword, I didn't think the odds were in my favor. So I stabbed her in the foot with my quasi sword.
One of the places we drove thru was Paradise Valley, so we tried to think of songs that had "Paradise" in the title. That was when Grace and I found out that we shared a common love that very few people appreciated... the musical stylings of Meatloaf. So, we treated the van to a 4 minute rendition of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" (hey, his version is about 9 minutes long.) I'm pretty sure the Canadian women wanted to jump out the van, the other Contikiers tolerated us... I think. The only other song I could come up with was "Almost Paradise" but I was the only geek who knew it.
Our Tour Guide had some funny lines along the way as well. I like when he was describing how one town used to look and said "there was just shacks and shit over there." Very descriptive. Plus, the one town we stopped in for a drink was Glenorchy and the
tour guide described it as, "Glenorchy... a great place to pee." We suggested he get that on t-shirts, we'd have bought one. After our drinks, we headed to the last location which was where Frodo, Sam and Gollum peered over a ledge at the Olephaunts (that's "elephants" in Tolkien world.) So, myself, Grace, Lisa and random Canadian woman reenacted that as well. He dropped us off at our hotel (and Grace and Lisa downtown) and I chilled in the room until dinner that night (which was at the hotel.) Good food, and aftewards most of the group went into town to the Minus Five Bar
and Alex and I geeked out and played on the internet. Ends up we missed quite a scene (heard about it the next morning). Apparantely a couple of the girls in the group had done some serious drinking and decided to dance on top of the bar and strip all their clothes off and make out. Yes, all clothes. Luckily they didn't do this at the freezing Vodka bar, they had moved on to a "normal" bar by then. Everyone who was there had pictures and video- as did the many Asian tourists who were at the
bar that night. Anywho...
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