The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan

Posts tagged “Queenstown

Sweet As New Zealand*

Picking up where we left off last time, here are five more reasons we l-o-v-e-d our time in the land down under the land down under. 

Rugby World Cup Finals!

1. Amazing All Blacks. For those of you that don’t know, (I didn’t!) the All Blacks is New Zealand’s professional rugby team. The day we landed in New Zealand, they had just made it to the finals of the Rugby World Cup and were going to play France on the day we left. All week long we had locals explaining the game of rugby to us, the traditions of the All Blacks and why the rival Australian team was so bad. Every time you turned on a television or radio they were replaying the last game or predicting what would happen in the next game. These people made die-hard SEC football fans look like amateurs. Every store, restaurant, church and library you passed had All Black signs in them supporting the hometown team. It wasn’t too much though, in fact, we loved the passion and enthusiasm and found ourselves getting caught up in it. The whole country was so impressively excited about their possible world championship, they were taking along everyone on the island! The last night we were there, we sat in a pub with locals and watched the team perform the haka, a Maori dance that was traditionally performed before they went into battle. Man, it was enough to get you pumped up for anything!  It gave me cold chills and made me want to jump on the field and play. The All Blacks ended up winning the World Rugby Cup 8-7, and it was amazing to think that we were lucky enough to be there for it.

Check out the haka performed before the Rugby World Cup here.

These cute kids stood on the corner before the big game, with all their All Blacks stuff on and got people to cheer and honk to show their support!

2. Glaciers. I don’t know if you heard, but New Zealand has a few glaciers. We bit the bullet (spendy!) and reserved a spot for the heli hike at Franz Josef Glacier our third day there.  I was beyond excited that we were

a) going in a helicopter

b) going to hike on a glacier.

But sadly, when we got there that day, the ride was canceled, due to fog. I was devastated. Then they said we could wait around for a little while to see if the fog cleared for the next flight. Of course, we did, and we even got as far as putting on our hiking boots before they canceled the next flight too. So. Very. Sad. There might or might not have been some crying in the middle of the street about this. (Dan has got to get a hold of himself about these things.) We did get as close as we could to the glacier on foot, which was pretty cool. Just not as cool as adding a helicopter.

See the glacier? I was standing where it used to be. Darn you global warming!

3. Fergburger It was the best burger we’ve ever had, hands down. We went there twice and ordered the Southern Swine burger both times. The New Zealand beef was amazing and Fergburger is a bit of an institution in Queenstown.

4. Outdoorsy. We loved how many things we could do outside in New Zealand! It was perfect weather and when outside looks like a movie, why in the world would you ever stay inside? While we were in New Zealand we went running, bike riding, rock climbing, hiking  (called “tramping” in NZ) and even got an invitation from the local rowing club to come out and join them for a row. It was like the best summer camp in the world.

I even found rowing in Wanaka!

Can you see Dan?

Rock climbing in New Zealand

On a break from our bike ride. In the background are “The Remarkables”, the beautiful mountains made famous by being part of the scenery for the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

5. Things we weren’t used to seeing in Malaysia, but missed from home. You know, things like churches, pine cones, fluffy beds, drive through liquor stores and cold(ish) weather. It’s the little things.

Right after we got there and got out of the car for the first time! Cold! Yippee! Watch out for the Kiwis!

Church of the Good Shephard in the countryside.

So that was our trip to New Zealand in the form of a top ten list. I have about five million more photographs that I will be happy to go over in excruciating detail just as soon as I get home. Let me know where to meet you and we can settle in for some more New Zealand goodness. Do you make top ten lists for vacations? Or is that just me? If you don’t, you should. It’s a good time. Leave us a comment about your favorite vacation location – we might want to check it out next!

*Sweet As is another slang phrase used in NZ. Kiwi’s use it instead of “awesome.” Go ahead, try and use it today. You will feel oh-so-Kiwi when you do.

I couldn’t resist one last Kiwi pic! Cute little guy, huh?


Good as Gold in New Zealand

You know how when you were a kid and you would say that you “loved” something, then some jerkface in the corner would always have to yell out, “Then why don’t you marry it?”

Well, I love New Zealand so much, I would marry it.

That’s right, if honeykins wasn’t in the picture and it was legal to marry a country I would do it next Saturday. I would serve fish and chips, beer, and have an awesome live Kiwi band.  And everyone reading this would be invited. Wait, did it just get a little weird inviting you to my made up wedding with a country? Hmmm, I thought so.

But it’s pretty safe to say that visiting New Zealand for a week was one of our favorite vacations that we took over here. It was one of our favorites for oh-so-many reasons, but I’m going to give you just five, lest you get bored and decide to send a lame wedding gift.

1. Obscenely Beautiful. You know how everyone says New Zealand is post card beautiful? No, really, it is. We literally spent the entire week swearing “That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!” only to turn the next corner and boldly declare, “No wait, that is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!” It was that graphically, jaw-droppingly stunning. I don’t want to oversell it or anything, but it was. See below for further evidence to back this statement up.

I mean, if you like that kinda post card perfectness, it’ll do.

Where we stopped during our bike ride. Amazing.

2. Brillant Accomodations. Although it was quite a shock to the checkbook (as was everything in NZ), our accomodations were quite nice, and not at all dodgy. Our first place was an old school style bed and breakfast in Greymouth. It was a beautiful old house built in the 1920’s and run by a lovely woman named Mary. She sat with us in the evening by the fire, answered all of our questions about New Zealand and rugby as we watched reruns of the last World Rugby Cup game. When we got to Queenstown we stayed in a brand spanking new Kawarau Hotel, which is owned by Hilton. I wanted to take our suite and transport it back to our house. From the amazing mattress to the adorable couch, I loved everything about the trendy, yet classic decor. If you see an exact replica at our house some day, please pretend to be impressed.

Our Bed and Breakfast in Greymouth.

Dan relaxing in our living room suite in Queenstown. Loved the decor!

3. Ba, Ba, White Sheep. Did you know New Zealand has more sheep than people? Well, they do (people are out numbered 9 to 1) and that sounds just fabulous to me. We would drive for hours and just see a car or two, but thousands of sheep. They were everywhere and if you stopped the car on the roadside, you could hear them baaaaing. (I don’t know why this facinated me so much, but it did. All you farm kids can laugh at me now.) There was even a time when we were driving and we saw some escape from the field. Of course, we got out of the car and attempted to coax them back into the gate. We were unsuccessful. Sheep whisperers we are not.

Our three little wayward friends!

4. Bridges. In addition to sheep, there were also a lot of bridges along our route. But the charming thing about the bridges is that almost all of them were only one lane. So that meant you had to be careful about if there was another car on it before you started down it. I loved that you had to communicate with other drivers in a friendly manner and I would almost fall out the window waving when we passed. I didn’t win any cool points there, but it was fun.

Not one of the pretty ones, but it did have a truck coming towards us.

Beautiful one way bridge we had to cross each day to get into Queenstown.

5. Slang. Words like, bugger, cuppa, fizzy, heaps and lolly are now all standard parts of my American vocabulary. I love, love, loved the New Zealand slang. It’s so fresh and cool and  I am now a total NZ word groupie.  I try to use the words I learned whenever appropriate, and sometimes inappropriately too. (Dude-the word fanny does not mean the same thing in New Zealand as it does in America!! Look it up!)

I tried to use a few of the slang words I learned in this blog. Did you pick up on it? Let me know if you spotted them. Do you have words that you love that you have picked up from traveling different places? Do you try to use them at home and then nobody knows what you are talking about? Raise your hand if you want to visit New Zealand now. That’s what I thought.

It was cold and windy up at the top of the mountains!

Don’t worry, there is no way that I could limit it to five reasons we loved NZ! I’ll give you five more next time and you will want to book your flight immediately! I-MME-D-IAT-LY. Cheers!