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Wednesday 24 Mar 2004
Queenstown, New Zealand

Cheapo scumbag...

Aye thats right.. Im being well cheap! Ive been here about a week and still havent paid up to do any of the plethora of activities they have on offer here, rather Ive been busying myself with other "free" stuff?

Not that Im a TOTAL freeloading (I love that word) scumag, but because, well, EVERYTHING is WAAAAY overpriced and nowhere near my budget allowance.

Examples...

- Bungy Jump (47m) - 130 dollars for a 10 second thrill

- Jet boat ride - 90 dollars for 10 minutes

- White-water rafting - 140 dollars for a few hours

The last one isnt too bad, but Id rather use up that kind of money on something tangible... like a few souvenirs or something that I could take home with me.

hmmm... well it wasnt all a lost cause because Queenstown is fortunately set in the midst of some awesome scenery. The Remarkables are only one mountain range that steeps up 1000metres about 1 km away, in contrast to the flat town area. There are several more mountains nearby set against the beautiful fresh (drinkable) waters of the large serene Lake Wakatipu...

2Oth March

I found an idyllic spot to camp this night... on the way toward Glenorchy there is a DOC site called 12 Mile Delta. Its an outstanding location, beside the lake and offers quite possibly the best views of The Remarkables and nearby mountains, while offering unparralleled clear starry night skies ... when there are no clouds of course! Oh and it was completely free.. no ranger in site!

21st March

Found a great place to get free showers here too. Beside the large supermarket there is a camp ground called Creeksyde. Its very easy to walk in through the front entrance, around to the back and access the toilets, since the office is facing the opposite direction. Nice!

Didnt get much done today because I had a load of laundry to do...so I used Creeksydes laundry facilities too and their drying line, while I sat in the hot sun (yeah! I know! The weather in Queenstown is in stark contrast to the west coast) reading more of my fascinating book by John Simpson.

Gosh Creeksyde ARE generous arent they ?

22nd March

Spent today exploring Queenstown proper. Its a very compact town that is purely tourist-orientated. Every shop is catering to the tramper (what kiwis call hikers) in the summer, or the skier in winter, while EVERYWHERE (even the internet cafes) try to offer you various EXTREME activities. Still a tad overpriced though, even the supermarket is higher-priced than normal...

23rd March

Finally got off my but today and decided to try some local tramping. I headed off to Glenorchy since Id read yesterday that nearby are a LOAD of Lord of the Rings sites. In fact here is a list of the places Ive just pulled off the net now...

Isengard (Glenorchy and Paradise), Lothlorien (Paradise), Ithilien Camp (Twelve Mile Delta) and Amon Hen (Closeburn)

Yeah thats right, there is even a place called Paradise nearby. I couldnt wonder why!.... hmm it also seems that my campsite was chosen for the Ithilien Camp. Wow I was sleeping at one of the locations and didnt even realise it! Doh!

Anyhoo, at the recommendation of the local park ranger at Glenorchy, I tackled the Routeburn Track for about 8 hours non-stop tramping. It was a fairly average track, but had some pretty tough uphill climbs that (at last) made me feel like I was getting some well-needed exercise! After 4 hours I made it to the second camp (Id just climbed 1 thousand metres!) and had passed several amazing vistas and waterfalls in that time, all of which I got on camera of course!

I wanted to try to ascent the peak of the mountain I was on, but it suddenly started to downpour .. and got freezing! Luckily I was aware of the potential changeable weather on the track and came prepared.. apparently though it was about to start snowing at this altitude (and this with Queenstown being in sunshine only forty km away!). So I headed back on a completely downhill track and made it back in about 1 hour. A great walk.

Today...

Today Im going to try to toy with the idea of climbing the Remarkables, supposedly only about 2 hours compared to yesterdays full day hike.

If that proves undoable Ill head on off west to Fiordland and Milford Sound region.

Also before I forget.. I must wish mum a Happy Birthday!!! Pressie (i.e. ME) is on its way home soon...

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