And so I on the 25th January I arrived in Queenstown for the second time. I had come here on my last trip to New Zealand to see my old Vancouver housemates, Ema and Jay – who fortunately still lived here and were kind enough and willing to put me up for a few days.
My plan at this point was to spend four nights in Queenstown and then continue on my way with Stray – heading down to the southern reaches of Milford Sound and Stewart Island, and then onto Mount Cook, Christchurch, Picton and then up to the North Island. I had arranged a WOOOFING gig (volunteering in exchange for food and accommodation) at one of my absolute favourite stops from my last trip – Blue Duck Station.
I spent a few days milling around Queenstown (no bungee jump this time sadly!) and catching up with some of the guys on the Stray Bus for drinks and whatnot. A couple of us went on a Free Walking Tour of Queenstown, which was really fantastic. Mark, a native Queenstowner, offers the tours for free and at the end he will invite you to pay what you think it’s worth. His local knowledge is absolutely fantastic, and I especially enjoyed learning about the amazing gold rush history associated with some of the old wooden buildings that I hadn’t given much notice of before. The tour also includes a cookie and a beer sample, so definitely check it out!
Queenstown was the first chance I had to stop and deal with some life admin. And without going into boring detail, due to various unforeseen factors and events, my fun money fund wasn’t anywhere near where it was supposed to be at this point in my travels. Being fairly stressed and out and unsettled by this discovery, I did what any sensible 31 year old would do – I went out with my buddies and got very, very drunk and had a bloody good night.
However the next day, after spending a very sunny and hungover afternoon at Lake Hayes, it was time to face reality. I would have to start working much sooner than originally planned. I immediately set about trawling through the online backpacker job board. This happened on Saturday. I applied for a job on Sunday, had a Skype interview on Monday and was heading out of Queenstown by Tuesday.
The job was for an admin assistant for a guiding company until the end of April. Perfect. It just happened to be in one of the most remote places in New Zealand…