My First time in New Zealand! New Zealand had been top of my list since I was a child watching the TV show Rocket Power when they go snowboarding in New Zealand. My Dad, Brother, and I had initially planned to take a trip to Europe this summer, due to a few complications we changed our trip to Go to New Zealand to snowboard in July. Visiting Queenstown, Auckland, Cairns, & Sydney over 16 days. I learned the hard way that this is just too much ground to cover in such a short time, but I did learn that I loved New Zealand and need to come back.
This was my first experience riding in a vehicle on the other side of the road, having winter in June & July, and flying in a plane for 16 straight hours.
Day 1 – The Long Arrival 06.26.2016
Flying from Minneapolis at 15:00 on Friday, June 24th, and Arriving in Queenstown at 12:30 on Sunday, June 26th (19:30 Saturday 25th in Minneapolis) can cause some serious jet lag. I think the key for this flight is the day you leave try to adjust your time to local destination time. Following this strategy, I didn’t end up being jet-lagged, thankfully. We stayed at Copthorne Hotel & Resort Queenstown Lakefront. This was a nice place, my only complaint at the time they charged for wifi and capped how much you could use. The hotel is on the top of the hill so a short work to the main city center with all the shops and bars.
The first thing we did was walk down to the city center and grabbed lunch at Prime Waterfront Restaurant & Bar. Nice views of Lake Wakatipu from the restaurant. After we explored the city we then went to Outside Sports Queenstown to book a day of snowboarding at Cardrona for tomorrow. This place is awesome and I highly recommend it. We got boots, snowboard, and helmet rental, plus pick up and drop off at our hotel and a ride to Cardrona all for under USD 50 per person. Since this was four years I looked to see if prices were roughly the same, they were close for the board and boots but I could not find the transportation on their site.
Day 2 – Snowboarding at Cardrona 06.27.2016
Leaving our hotel at 07:30 we arrived at Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort. This was a bit different than snowboarding out West in Colorado/Utah. The snow doesn’t stay at the base, so you drive halfway up the mountain to get to the lifts. The resort isn’t too big but it’s plenty to spend a full day at snowboarding/skiing. The park has amazing views overlooking the mountains, I have a short video on my Youtube Channel riding the catwalk overlooking the mountain landscape.
Day 3 – Adventure Day 06.28.2016
Our last full day in Queenstown. The trip to Queenstown wouldn’t be completed without doing some adventure that gets your adrenaline rushing. Queenstown is known as the Adventure Capital of the world and they’re home to the first even Bungee Jump. Deciding what we were going to do today we took a walk along Lake Wakatipu and through the Queenstown Gardens.
The first stop on the list was for my brother to try bungee jumping, we went to AJ Hacket Bungy. The cost was NZD 180 and they allowed you to bring guests for no extra costs to watch. When we got there they had a small zip line you could do (mostly for people too scared to bungee jump aka me haha). This was about 10 seconds of fun and probably not worth it. The location was at the famous Kawarau Bridge. The water is so blue in the river below, its insane.
After bungee jumping, we went to do the Shotover Jet Queenstown. This is an adventure boat where you ride through the canyons on the Shotover river going up to 70kph. The cost to do this is NZD 119, before you buy you can view a 60-second video of my experience on my Youtube Channel.
The last thing we did in Queenstown was riding the Skyline Queenstown Gondola to the top to go Star Gazing. I don’t have any good photos of this since it was pitch blackout. I definitely recommend doing this once, they have very powerful telescopes so you can view planets. We were able to see the rings on Saturn.
After my time in Queenstown, I knew I wanted to come back but I had no idea that three years later I would be moving to New Zealand for a year. I look forward to finally sharing all of my travels in New Zealand and I am working on putting together a New Zealand travel guide. Off to Auckland!