The flight from Auckland to Queenstown was relatively short, but the scenery was great. If you make this trip, do it during the day, and get a window seat. The landscape made quite a few changes, and the view during the landing approach is something else. You can see valleys between snow capped mountains that the plane has to navigate on its way to the runway. It’s definitely a bit odd to peer out the window and and have to look up to see the mountains tops above you.
The moment you step off the plane you are greeted by a ridge of awe-inspiring peaks called “The Remarkables.” Much like the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, only feeling much bigger and not quite as close, their presence is a constant in Queenstown.
I walked out of the airport to see the bus into town pulling away, so I set my bags at the bus stop, then wandered a little ways to take a photo. I turned around to see the bus pulling away without my bags, or me, on board. I decided to walk the 8 or 9km into town. It was during this walk that I became fully committed to reducing the size and weight of my pack on the next trip. How exactly this will be acheived is still being debated, but camera gear and laptop are being examined with a critical eye.
I bought a bag of cherries from a couple folks selling them out of the back of their truck along the road, and began working my way through the bag as I walked. The sidewalk became a path that left the streets and meandered along the edge of the lake offering views of the Remarkables.
Along the walk I met a fellow from Spain who had been working on various farms in New Zealand for the last year or two. (I would run into him a few days later and pick his brain on what the work calendar was like for the fruit industry). I checked into a hostel in the middle of town and went on a walk to get some groceries. On the way back I bumped into Billy and he and Jen gave me a lift back to the hostel in the rental car. They had plans to head out the next day, and I was just getting adjusted, and figuring out my travel plans. I was even toying with the idea of going skydiving, so I planned to hang out in Queenstown for at least a day.