An Aussie Jumped the Ditch: Day Eight

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Well kids, we made it.

I’m sitting at Sydney Airport, waiting for our transfer flight through to our home on the Gold Coast, editing together footage I collected this week, and I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit emotional.

It’s probably the exhaustion from the week just sending me delirious, but hey. I’m emotional all the same.

Today was a day of self-exploration – not in a poxy ‘finding myself’ sense, but more in the sense that because our flight left Queenstown at three o’clock, we unfortunately weren’t able to head up to Coronet Peak with the rest of the tour group today. It’s alright, though, because the weather was a bit average, so the slopes at Coronet Peak apparently reflected that.

To anyone who hasn’t travelled much before, I’ve found that on the last day of any overseas holiday, you go a bit mad with what I’ve christened ‘Last Minute Syndrome’, or LMS. LMS dictates your final few hours for you, and forces you to soak up as many experiences as humanly possible before your check-in time at the airport. LMS hit me hard today!

Today we made the most of our last few hours in New Zealand, and had a stroll through Queenstown’s streets, sampling the local delicacies (namely Fergburger – I consumed that godly creation four times in three days. I’m not even ashamed to admit it. I’d highly recommend ordering the Salad Burger; it’s not on the menu, but it’s a vegan’s dream come true!) Anyway, I digress. We had a wander, and found the best fudge I’ve ever tasted, as well as taking some time to pick up a few souvenirs and relish being tourists for the last day of our trip.

We then hot-footed it through the town – I was puffing more than I care to admit – and headed up to the Skyline Gondola site. It had started to drizzle a bit at this point, but we weren’t phased. LMS strikes again! We packed our gondola with our bags and ourselves, and enjoyed the view on the way to the top. The rain-soaked horizon looked surprisingly beautiful as we stared down on the city. It was nice to take a moment to absorb the splendour that is Queenstown; I for one had no idea just how stunning it would be compared to the pictures I’d seen. We hopped out at the top, and made our way to the real purpose of our trip up the mountain: the luge!

The luge in Queenstown is a must-do for anyone travelling with children, or anyone who perceives themselves to still be a child at heart. It’s a long racetrack filled with sharp turns, u-turns and declines that would set any heart racing. We’d pre-paid for three runs down the luge track, and we wanted to make the most of our time up there, despite the rain. So we did.

Anyone that knows me is well aware that I have a tendency to be rather competitive. It’s this fact that makes me giggle here at the airport; I’m sparing a thought for my poor fiancé that spent his morning getting side-charged and overtaken by a gold medal-obsessed maniac. Sean, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry… but I was the clear winner, three out of three races. Better luck next time, chump.

We finished up our races and again took the gondola back down into Queenstown. By this stage, it was time for us to collect our luggage from our accommodation and journey off to the airport. Pro-tip: catch the airport shuttle from outside McDonalds in the centre of town. It’s $12 per person, departs every fifteen minutes, and takes roughly twenty minutes to reach the airport. Beauty!

Now, finally, I sit here in the departures lounge, sifting through a week’s worth of footage, and thanking my lucky stars that I got to spend such a memorable week with a wonderful group of people. I got to meet people from New Zealand, England and Germany, to name a few, as well as bonding with a fellow tour member who caught the same flight to Christchurch as I did, a week ago today.

I could rave for hours about the quality of my time away in New Zealand with Haka Tours, but for the sake of you readers out there, I’ll keep it short. I was so immensely impressed throughout the week at the relaxed nature of the tour. Not once were we given a blow-by-blow schedule of everything that was to happen during the week, which meant that we as a group got the chance to spend quality time together and form genuine friendships.   The quality of the accommodation continued to astound me; I’ve already said it in a previous post, but I’ll definitely be utilizing hostel accommodation in my future travels. I was also impressed by the quality of the tour itself. Breakfast was a group effort every morning, and was provided as part of the tour. Ollie, our host, was informative and awesome at making us all feel safe and looked after, particularly on those mountain roads! Our snow field days were all brilliantly managed, and not once did I question what was happening, or what to do next. Haka Tours have definitely created a genuine product that allows you to establish a home away from home, and I’m so, so thankful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it. I can’t wait for my next one. Kia Ora!

For more information on Haka Tours, click here.

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