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Catch up on Living, Frisbee in Park, Big Night Out Pub Crawl, closed Winnie’s and World bar down – Queenstown, New Zealand (Day 25)

Even though we had a light night the day before, today we took some time to recover. A nice breakfast, some grocery shopping, and laundry helped to get things back up to par. By day 25 of touring with Contiki or Kiwi, taking part in the festivities gets harder and harder. Contiki is different, but on the Kiwi tour young blood continues to come around because the bus is hop-on/hop-off. The fresh troops are gung-ho, while the seasoned troops are trying to hang on.

Vincent and I played some frisbee in the park and I think threw the rugby ball around. Later that night we decided to do the Big Night Out. The Big Night Out is an organized pub crawl that includes free drinks, free food, and drink discounts. One bar had $1 beer on special for the pub crawl. The pub crawl started at The Buffalo Club which is a great bar for drinking beer, chatting with friends, and listening to some good music. The bar tenders are easy on the eyes and Jagermeister is the drink of choice.

Vincent and I starting off at Buffalo Club

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After The Buffalo Club we went to visit a few lesser known bars that were quiet. Eventually, we got to the World Bar where we were able to get $10 teapots and then to a bar next to Winnies that had $1 beer. Finally, we ended up at Winnies. By this time people were pretty faded. Winnies was packed and it took about 10 minutes to get a drink. At each bar you go to you get a free shot and at Winnies we got Black Sambuca shots. Winnies was where the party was at that night. There was live music and the crowd was jumping. Winnies has a unique roof that is connected to hydraulic lifts that open the roof to let in fresh air. Very sweet. We ended up shutting Winnies down. Was a good night, but we didn’t get too sloppy.

The DJ at World Bar was pretty good.

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Milford Sound, Ride to Queenstown, Quiet Night – Queenstown, New Zealand (Day 24)

The Milford Sound bus operated by Kiwi Experience departs from Queenstown in the morning. Because we spent the night just outside Milford Sound in Te Anau we got to sleep in and catch the bus headed from Queenstown. Vincent and I had breakfast overlooking Lake Te Anau.

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On the way to Milford Sound

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When you gotta go….

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Some pictures from Milford Sound

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You can see a plane viewing the sound in this one.

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Relaxing while waiting for our boat to return.

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We also go to visit an underwater observatory in the sound. This gave us an opportunity to see some of the underwater wildlife up close.

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Vincent and I went out with a few others, but had a quiet night for Queenstown.

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Stop at Southland Museum to Visit Tuatara Exhibit, Fiordland Paua Shell Factory in Riverton, End of Road, McCracken’s Rest, Lunch at New Zealand Sausage Capital, Viewpoint Stops, Manapoura Power Scheme, Bird Sanctuary, Grocery Shopping, Dinner at The Ranch, Drinks and Games on the Back Deck, Early Rest – Te Anau, New Zealand (Day 23)

Today started with a Subway sandwich for breakfast and a visit to the Tuatara exhibit at the Southland Museum.


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The next stop was at the Fiordland Paua shell factory in Riverton. Here we got to see how they turn a natural Paua shell into a finished product for jewelry and other items.

New Zealand is full of super sized items that make for tourist stops and picture opportunities. Of course there is a massive Paua shell at the Paua shell factory.

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Here are few other things the Kiwis have put out for people to enjoy

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New Zealand longhorns

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Obligatory McCracken’s Rest pic

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A good day in the Southland

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We also stopped at a bird sanctuary outside Te Anau

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Te Anau is a beautiful town that would be a great place to spend a few weeks to relax and get away from things. It is just outside Fiordland National Park. I would love to get back down here and spend some time tramping and relaxing.


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Vincent and I had dinner at The Ranch because we got some free drink tickets from the bus driver. We then went to the grocery store and picked up some snacks and beer. Afterwards, we spent the rest of the evening playing games, eating snacks, and drinking on the back garden patio that was attached to our room.

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Baldwin Street, Breakfast at Kaka point, Seals at Nugget Point Lighthouse, Sea Lions, Waterfall, Look for Cave, Hector’s Dolphins, Yellow-eyed Penguins, Dinner with Gang at Speight’s Ale House – Invercargill, New Zealand (Day 22)

I don’t know if I have said this already, but I reckon this was my favorite day for sightseeing. It was full of things to see and do.

The day began with a short ride to the World’s Steepest Street, Baldwin Street.

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Next, it was off to a nice bar and restaurant at Kaka Point for some breakfast. A nice fire was going, a friendly dog was mucking about, and some delicious toasted sandwiches were quickly served.

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After Kaka Point was Nugget Point. Here we were able to see some rock seals playing in some tide pools and resting on the shore.

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Keeping busy because there was lots to see we headed off to Cannibal Bay to hunt for some sea lions. Tired from being out at sea we were able to get up close and amongst them resting on the beach.

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A stop for lunch and then we stopped at the Florence Hill Lookout.

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We stopped to look for a cave and then went on a short bush walk(OZ)/tramp(NZ)/Hike(US) to a waterfall. Seeing the waterfall wasn’t enough, we had to climb to the top of it.

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Not many get to these parts, but if you have the time get down to the Catlins. Next, we were off to hunt for some Hector’s Dolphins. Building upon our previous luck, we were able to spot some Hector’s Dolphins out in the wild!

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Still not satisfied, we went down to a local beach and spotted some sea lions fighting over territory or a female maybe.

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Next, it was off to find some Yellow-eyed Penguins. Again, we were successful and caught the penguins coming in from the ocean to nest in bushline.

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I know the word epic gets thrown around a lot these days, but this truly was an epic day of the tour. A quick recap of the highlights:

World’s Steepest Street
Breakfast at Kaka Point
Seals at Nugget Point
Sea Lions at Cannibal Bay
Waterfall Hike
Hector’s Dolphins and Sea Lions at Porpoise Bay
Yellow Eyed Penguins at Curio Bay
Dinner at Speight’s Ale House
…oh yea, according to what I wrote I also had a milkshake sometime during the day, but I don’t really remember it

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First Day on Bottom Bus, Dunedin Railway Station, Otago vs Auckland Rugby, Noodle Canteen, Speight’s Brewery Tour – Dunedin, New Zealand (Day 21)

Today was the first day on the Bottom Bus. Because the majority of tourists don’t visit the very south of New Zealand there is a separate bus system for these parts. The Kiwi Experience labels their service Bottom Bus. That out of the way, the first stop with the Bottom Bus is Dunedin. The drive to Dunedin was pleasant and uneventful. Dunedin is a major university town and was one of my favorites. Dunedin hosts many architecturally unique old buildings that have been well kept. One of those such buildings is the Dunedin Railway Station.

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It is a quick stop. Make sure to check the Railway Station out. Next, we dropped our bags off at the hostel, On Top Backpackers. The hostel is on top of a pool hall and a bar. Definitely a place you could spend some time at if you were looking to relax and mingle. The rooms were good and the bathrooms were really nice. The hostel had some backpackers, but seemed to be more inhabited by students.

We got lucky and their happened to be a Rugby game the same day we were visiting Dunedin. Otago vs. Auckland. It was a good game, but the home team, Otago, lost. There is a lot of pride in Dunedin and the local crowd here seemed more vocal than the home game I saw at Moore Park(Sydney) on Australia day. Neither games compare to the Stateside college football experience.

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After the game we went back to the hostel and then started a search for some food. We settled on a recommendation by our driver, Noodle Canteen. Well supported by uni kids, Noodle Canteen serves a variety of tasty dishes in a friendly and simple setting. Would definitely go back. I polished off my food and then finished off Vincent’s.

For a quiet day we sure did keep busy. After dinner we ventured out again and took a tour of the Speight’s brewery. The tour is quite lengthy and takes you not only through the history of Speight’s, but also through the history of beer. There is plenty of detail in the Speights brewery tour and the guide was very knowledgeable. Like the Monteiths brewery tour, the Speight’s brewery tour has all you can drink/pour beer at the end. If beer isn’t your thing, Speight’s provides a free tap outside their building serving deep spring water to the public free of charge. It is very good.

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A great day already, Vincent talked me into a few games of pool and then we crashed.

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Goodbye to Old man and Errik, Walk and Reading, Fergburger and Shopping with Kat, reunion with Mark – Queenstown, New Zealand (Day 20)

Today was a little rough for a few reasons. It was a big night, a relatively early rise to say goodbye to Errik and Old Man, and the team was now dwindling. I felt a little lost now that Errik, Old Man, and most of the team were gone so I decided it was time to take a walk. Queenstown is a great place for a walk.

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After a short walk, I realized it would be good to get some water and a book and relax on the lake. Mikey gave me “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac and I had been reading it on the bus and during the downtime since Auckland.

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Put in some good reading and then headed back towards the hostel. Ran into Kat and we decided to get some Fergburger. You wouldn’t think Kat could eat, but she killed a Furgberger and then finished off the rest of my Big Al. The Big Al is a half pound of beef, bacon, cheese, 2 eggs, beetroot, lettuce, tomato, red onion, relish, and “a big wad of aioli”.

Big Al up close and personal

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Kat, Big Al, and a Fergburger

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Pretty much everyone was taking it easy after the night before, except Vincent! As usual, he wanted to get lit. Mark arrived in Queenstown and as one of the boys I went out for another night Queenstown. It was a quiet one for Queenstown standards and I think we were back in by midnight or one. Tomorrow, we would head down south.

Mark and Vincent – Vincent is looking colorful

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Recovery Walk Around Park with Errik and Old Man, Steak Dinner with Errik and Old Man, Free Meal in Bar, Pre-party of Nomination Domination, Drinks in Altitude Bar, Then all Hell Broke Loose in Buffalo Bar – Queenstown, New Zealand (Day 19)

A typical Queenstown morning involves recovery and a recovery in Queenstown involves Fergburger. This means Fergburger was for breakfast. I believe I had Fergburger for something like 6 out of 7 meals while in Queenstown. Once you get your hands on one you’ll do the same. Old Man and Errik beat me on the rise and I eventually caught up with them later on in the day. We went for a walk around Queenstown aka Queeny. Not only does Queeny have good night life, but it also has plenty of day time activities like mountain biking, luging, ice skating, and an 18 hole disc golf course. If that doesn’t suit your fancy, there are all the adrenaline activities you could want. The Nevis Bungy, arc swings, skydiving, and jet boating are some of the adrenaline activities you can do during your visit. For us, a nice walk around the town was what we needed and Queenstown is a beautiful town to get out and explore. The weather was cooperative and we had a beautiful day.

One of the main roads in Queenstown looking towards one of the mountain ranges.

A lake that is about a five minute walk from the hostel. A great place to chill. There is also a long walking and running trail that goes around the edge of the lake.

One of the ponds located in the disc golf course

After strolling around and Errik trying to feed gold coins and other objects to the ducks we decided to get some food. Who knows why, but it was during the stroll that I learned that Old Man had gone number 2 in some poor kiwis boat shed that morning.

The ducks weren’t having it

Having some fun in the skate park

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On the way back to the hostel we spotted a restaurant having a steak, salad, and chips special so we dropped in and polished off a steak – the last formal dinner with Errik and Old Man. After dinner, we went back to the room and hung out. We still had some free meal tickets from Base so we went down to the bar and used them. I was not really feeling a big night……time would tell.

Getting geared up

Still not feeling it

Old Man saying hi

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Getting closer

Errik is good with the ladies – I swear he looks like John Belushi

This kid loves to drink. We had a ton of 2 for 1 drink coupons and we took full advantage

In the zone

Best behavior as always

Boogie time

I love Errik like I love air

Somehow the repeated Jager shots have awaken us!

After hours of drinking and dancing it was time to call it a night. The proper way to finish a night in Queeny is the same way you begin a day in Queeny – with a Fergburger. Something mysteriously went wrong with our order and we got an extra Fergburger instead of fries. It was time to tackle back to back Fergs!

Ferg #1 – I am politely holding someones cigarette whilst enjoying a Fergberger

Ferg #2 – Starting to struggle. Why is this happening to me? Only made it through about 75% of the second one before handing it over to Errik

Beautiful day, beautiful drinking session, beautiful get down session (we destroyed Buffalo Bar), beautiful Ferg session, and now a beautiful sleep session!

I get lonely sometimes. Errik and Old Man would be off in the morning.

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Puzzling world, View of Wanaka, Old Man Jumps, Explore Queenstown, Crazy Night in Queeny at Altitude and World Bar– Queenstown, New Zealand (Day 18)

Errik, Old Man, and I got up early and started wandering around Wanaka. Kat lost her wallet and spent the morning looking in trash bins and wandering the beach looking for it.

Lake Wanaka in the Morning

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On the Search for Kat’s Wallet

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The View From the Hostel Kitchen

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Lauren Punishing Old Man

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Mark Decided to Stay Back in Wanaka

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After some breakfast, we stopped at Puzzling World. Most people bought the ticket and took the tour, but Errik and I threw the Rugby ball around and hiked to the top of a hill that overlooks Wanaka and Lake Wanaka.

The View

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Next, we were off to Cromwell. In Cromwell we stopped at Mrs. Jones fruit stand. We got to sample bits and pieces of all of the fruit. I picked up some dried strawberries which were very good!

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From there it was onto AJ Hacket bungy.

We got to see a video on the history of bungy and then watch some people take the jump. It was Old Man’s 49th birthday and Errik bought him a jump

Old Man taking the plunge

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From there it was on to Queenstown. We took some group pics on the shore of the lake and then headed to the hostel. Base Queenstown is not where to stay in Queenstown. The rooms are dark, the kitchen is small. It is pretty central, but nothing special. There is a Nomads in Queeny that is supposedly the go. It wasn’t long and we had found Fergberger.

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It was inevitable. Queenstown is by far the best night life I have experienced in New Zealand. Any night of the week you can have a good time and tonight was no exception. We started out at Altitude bar (the bar inside Base) and then headed to World Bar.

Altitude bar had a horizontal bungy competition that night. In the competition either a guy or girl is attached to one end of a bungy cord. The other end is attached to the wall. One individual must run to the opposite side of the bar and grab an alcoholic beverage from a designated individual(the individual is farther than the length of the bungy cable – this is what makes it pretty funny to watch). Then without spilling it return to their partner. Their partner must then down the beverage and place the glass upside down on their head. The entire process is timed and the couple with the lowest time wins 2 free jumps off the Nevis Bungy. James and Jessica from our bus ended up winning the competition. A video of their winning run is below.


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After the competition was full on partying until everyone had enough. Man. Errik took over 100 pictures this night. Haven’t got them up yet on facebook or Webshots, but here is an obligatory Black Eyed Peas video.

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Breakfast and Hike at Lake Matheson, Explore Wanaka, Massive Room Party and Hectic Night in Wanaka – Wanaka, New Zealand (Day 17)

Today we had an early start heading towards Wanaka. After a short drive, we stopped at Lake Matheson. There we had breakfast and took a hike around the lake. The weather was not that great, but we were able to get some decent shots of the lake and the mountains in the background.

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After about an hour or so we headed along our way. We made a couple stops to look at around this very scenic part of New Zealand. Check out some of the pics below.

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After arriving in Wanaka, for some reason we began stockpiling booze. We had a decent amount of booze with us from the quiet nights in Franz Josef, but we continued to acquire more for the nights festivities. Errik bought a bottle of Jager and we start drinking around 4. We started off with about a case and a half or two of beer, then transitioned to Jager bombs. There were quite a few of us so the Jager didn’t last long. After the Jager, we made another transition to wine. This is when things started to get pretty sloppy. We started playing drinking games with box wine and people weren’t being shy.

A mid game group shot

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Don’t know what’s happening here

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Another mid game group shot

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After getting pretty toasty, we moved to the bar. Things got sloppy here. I think it would have been ok because I was just drinking a few beers, but Errik kept on shouting Mark and I tequila shots. Attitude quickly deteriorated and I ended up starting an argument with the DJ over his musical tastes. This very heated argument(for me) eventually got me kicked out. I think this is the last picture before getting kicked out.

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Out on my own, I somehow convinced people to go to a bar down the street called Shooters. It was full, probably because they were playing decent music, so we had to wait in line until other people left. After about an hour of waiting in the cold, we decided to go home. This was probably what we needed because we were all pretty sauced. Kat ended up going off with some random locals and lost her wallet. The next morning was pretty funny.

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Franz Josef Glacier Hike, Hot Tub, Another Quiet Night – Franz Josef, New Zealand (Day 16)

Today was one of the defining days of the trip. Today we would hike the Franz Josef glacier. There were high winds, rain, and hail. Originally, we were scheduled to do a full day trip on the glacier, but the weather was not cooperative so the hike was shortened to a a half day. It was pretty miserable and after half a day I was ready to go back to the hostel and get in the hot tub. After the hike, we got some groceries and beer and had a cookout. I got in the hot tub and then hit the bed early again. Others got a little rowdy in the pub. Old man got really rowdy. I woke up and he was speaking gibberish and walking around naked. Too funny.

You’re smiling now

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Franz Josef Glacier – Doesn’t look that bad from here

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Obligatory waterfall picture

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Here we go

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Making our way along the glacier

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That mound in the distance is where the full-day hike goes

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Looking down in the valley from up on the glacier

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Inside the glacier

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A little perspective

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