Our first real day in NZ was nothing short of amazing. From driving around and enjoying the beautiful mountains and the lake beneath to traveling to the mountain tops, I kept my eyes peeled open because there was so much to see!
first stop: hobbit country
The first stop on our trip was Glenorchy, a 45 km drive from our hotel in Queenstown. This spot just outside Queensland is best known for providing the scenery used in the Lord of the Rings movies. Although I’ve only gotten to watch the first of the series, I could immediately recognize the hobbit-friendly territory that I’d seen not too long ago when I watched The Fellowship of the Ring not too long ago in preparation for this trip.
The hour-long drive that it took to get here was definitely worth it- it was beautiful– there aren’t any other words to describe it! On one side we could see hills and hills of lush green with small pecks of yellow flowers. On the other side, the teal blue of the lake Wakatipu and just behind it, tall mountains that ranged in color from dark blue to gray to green. There were also little surprise waterfalls where you wouldn’t expect to find them, and we saw at least 20 fields on the hillside filled with little white sheep grazing on the grass.
Glenorchy itself was breathtaking itself! I didn’t put my camera down for even a minute- I just wish I could have captured on my camera the same beauty I saw right in front of me. If you look out in front of you the water switches in color from a teal to an aquamarine and at some points even turns into a deep cobalt blue. But if you look at it up close, it’s actually clear in color! If we’d had time, I definitely would have wanted to take advantage of that huge lake and go sailing or kayaking, but for today we had to skip out on that. All in all, this is a must-see spot for anyone and everyone who stays in or near Queenstown, hobbit lover or not.
the best burger ever.
Once we’d finished seeing Glenorchy, we headed back into Queenstown and grabbed lunch at Fergburger. It was hot, the place was crowded and it took forever to get our order in, but it was well worth the wait! This was literally the
It was a perfect burger- a BEAUTIFULburger, even, there is no other word that can more accurately describe it. I shared the Tropical Swine with my sister, which was made with beef (cooked to perfection), juicy pineapple slices, bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato, red onion, aoili and tomato relish. The burger was way too big to fit in my hands so we had to eat it super carefully, and looking back, I honestly wish I’d just gotten a whole burger to eat by myself instead of sharing! If I could eat there for this entire trip, I would, but I know that New Zealand has a lot more to offer in the next 12 days that we are here. But I highly recommend coming here for the best food in Queenstown! We finished our meal by going back to Mrs. Ferg’s Gelato place. This time we tried their Black Forest flavor and their Hazelnut flavor as a combo, and it tasted just like nutella! We will be heading back to Queenstown for the night tomorrow so hopefully we can get some of Ferg’s deliciousness one more time before we leave Queenstown for good!
After lunch we headed to our last stop of the day, the Gondola rides in Queenstown! This short trip up a steep mountain allows you to get a view of the entire city of Queenstown, and the view from the top is phenomenal.
Suddenly you’re not at the bottom of the hill looking up but level with the mountain tops. Even though the Gondola ride was scenic, I loved the luge even more- racing down the hill next to the green of the grass and the purple lupin scattered along the trees was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.
We finished the Gondola ride around 5 PM and then drove for three hours to Te Anau. Here, we saw at least 15- 20 fields of sheep. By the end of the day I was exhausted but I’m definitely looking forward to continuing our New Zealand adventure tomorrow! Tomorrow we’ll be taking cruise around Milford sound, which is about 2 hours away from our hotel here in Te Anau, and unless I’m wrong, we get to see PENGUINS!
I’ve always believed that traveling is so much more than visiting really cool places- it’s more than the road that you’re physically traveling. I’ve learned so much- and grown so much- on every journey that I’ve been on. I’m thankful that somehow I always seem to end up at the right place at the right time. This year, especially within these last three months, I’ve steadily been practicing taking more control of my own choices, and not looking as much to other people when I make decisions that are going to have consequences for my own life. I’ve been learning to trust my own capabilities, and I’ve been learning to be more patient with myself, which in turn has also helped me be more patient and learn to be more understanding towards others. This is a lesson I feel myself coming to terms with in New Zealand- you have to have patience to enjoy the atmosphere here. There is not a second that goes by when there isn’t something worth enjoying, and you have to be patient and allow yourself to take it all in- whether you’re just driving around, whether you’re sitting in a gondola, riding up a steep hill, or whether you’re enjoying a good meal at the best burger place in the entire world (or at least, as much of the world that I’ve seen).