New Zealand day 1: first day in Queenstown

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I’ve been lucky in that almost every year, I get to go to a unique part of the world. This year, we decided to visit New Zealand. This trip is an extra special one for me because it may be one of the last extra long trips abroad like this that I get to do with my family. After this year I’ll have graduated from undergrad and will have to focus on the next steps of my life and my career. But for now, I’m trying to enjoy these two weeks that I get to spend in this amazing country.

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We left for New Zealand from Seattle on December 17th and arrived on December 19th. We had a stop-over in Vancouver, B.C. and another one in Auckland. After over 25 hours of travel,  we finally got to our very first stop on the trip, Queenstown.

getting settled in

We’re planning on being in Queenstown for a couple of days, but since we just got here today, we did very little sight-seeing and we are hoping to do a lot more tomorrow.

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The Rydges Hotel

After settling down in our hotel, we walked to town for lunch. Even though the air outside was cold (not much different from Seattle weather, to be honest), I loved that you could still hear the birds chirping. Our hotel, the Rydges Hotel, is on a waterfront and right across from us we see a green mountain with the pale blue water underneath. Even with the clouds covering the mountain tops, it’s such a beautiful sight! I can’t wait to go out tomorrow and actually see the town.

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The view of the water from the park

food

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There are many options in Queenstown for food, but among them, Fergburger, a local burger joint, is the #1 recommended place to eat. I didn’t know a lot about this place before seeing it in person, but just based on the crowd standing inside and outside the small take-out restaurant, you can just tell it’s going to be good!

According to the restaurant’s website, Fergburger’s history doesn’t go too far back. Apparently, Ferg, the owner, started the restaurant in 2001 so that there would be “burgers to eat when the people were drunk to hell” (you can read more about this on their history page). The restaurant’s 4.5 star rating on Yelp demonstrates that Ferg was probably successful in building the amazing burger place he aimed to build.

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I’ll be able to provide a better description of just how good Ferg’s Burger’s are tomorrow, when we actually have them. But for today, we tried Mrs. Ferg’s Gelato which is right next door. I personally loved the cutesy look of this place, and liked that they had a large variety of flavors. The two that I tried and loved were the Kiwi Sorbet and the Tiramisu gelato (I ended up getting a cone of the Tiramisu this time, but the sorbet has the distinct tart-but-sweet kiwi flavor that I really loved). The Tiramisu had the perfect amount of sweetness and coffee and cocoa flavors, and even had cookie crumbles blended in to imitate the flavor of the ladyfinger cookies that are in the Italian dessert.

nature

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On the way back from town to our hotel, I knew I was tired but I was dying to do the little sight-seeing that I could. Just before heading inside, we visited the waterfront park right in front of our hotel. I absolutely loved the contrast of the bright green leaves on the trees with the pale blue of the water and the gray color of the sky and the clouds. We only explored in this little beach front area in front of our hotel, but from the ground we could see gondolas slowly working their way up towards the mountain, which we’re planning on doing tomorrow.

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up next…

From the little we saw today, I know that there is so much more in store for us! Tomorrow we’re planning on starting our exploration early in the day, starting with a drive to Glenorchy, a scenic route where apparently Lord of the Rings was filmed. Next, after grabbing lunch, we’re planning on taking a Gondola ride up the mountain. Then we’re driving to our next stop on the trip, Te Anau.

P.S.- this was probably my favorite photo that I took today- look at the green on these leaves! These pretty things were part of a much larger willow tree that was right next to the water. My sister asked me “what comes willow trees?” and I, being exactly who I am (I didn’t know the answer) said “wisdom”, remembering the wise willow tree from Pocahontas.

The answer was aspirin.

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