As flights go, this one was no biggie. I heard horrific tales about leaving the Wellington airport when it was windy out, but comparied to the Fort St. John’s approach, Wellington was smooth.
I got into Queenstown at 12:30pm or so, and boarded the shuttle to my little hostel. The shuttle operator was kind enough to drive us up for a bit of a scenic tour to where the rich-bitches have their houses so we could take some pictures of the lake. I arrived at the hostel just before they were about to close for lunch and got my room assignment – and it was right across from the lake. It reminded me so much of Vancouver/Kelowna/Whistler that it really really weirded me out. The weather was nice, so I went for a walk to the cruise ships and went for a cruise on the Steamship…. (more pics are on my flickr site of the steamship).
I got back at 4pm or so, wandered over to the Information Centre and figured out where my tour was leavning from to go out to Milford Sound, then I also found where the grocery store was. From looking at the maps, it looked as if the only grocery store was either out by the airport, or halfway up the mountain towards Cornet Peak. I was convinced it was a conspiracy to milk tourists for all the money they had, and honestly, I’m still convinced that their little “Fog-in incident” was another one of those ploys.
Anyhew, I wandered back to my hostel with new food in hand, and made dinner in the weirdest common room I’ve ever been in. It was mid-season, so there was no one staying for skiing, and it wasn’t yet warm enough for the hikers. So there were a few people like me who were travellers, and the rest were long-stayers who worked in Queenstown or the surrounding area.
I’ve never worked in a tourist town, but I got the feeling really quickly there was this big rift between those that are the tourists, and those that were once tourists that get stuck working because they can’t afford to travel. That makes the ex-tourists very bitter and not very friendly. Queenstown was also the only place I’ve been to that actually encourages tipping; so you get really great service in the cafe’s and restaurants, but almost begrudgingly so.
Again, this night I went to sleep early, as I had to walk into town for my big trip out to Milford Sound that left at 7am.
7am? You mean I have to be awake before that?