Ever have those moments when you forget everything because a memory has flooded your brain?
You know what I mean? You just start to lose all sense of being, you start to smile, you can feel what the air around you was like, your nose can smell all those familiar smells, you can just picture it like you’re there.
Well, that’s just happened to me, it might be because of a conversation I had the other day that the traveling memories came flooding back. I was actually just finishing up a new post for you all when I was transported back to Neverland. (So I’ve replaced that one with this one). My brain works like this sometimes; off the cuff, sporadic, forget what I planned an idea pops into my head and I run with it. I’ll warn you in advance I have no idea what journey I’m taking you on today. So sit back and enjoy wherever this leads to.
So where am I actually talking about?
The country is famous for many things – Dairy, a reputation for having the best lamb on earth, indigenous Maori people, volcanoes, hot-springs, home to the intimidating Hakka and where middle earth came to life. Yes, I’m talking about New Zealand…
However, to find Neverland though, you need to go on a journey, no sorry, an adventure through middle earth to find it.
Neverland can be found in the South Island, so you will have to prize yourself away from the gorgeous Abel Tasman National park and cruise down the west coast.
Pass the western style old town of Greymouth and watch as the clouds descend and seemingly touch the ground when you reach the Glaciers of Franz Joseph and Fox.
You’re not there yet
Once you’ve tackled the glaciers, you’ll be treated to a series of lakes including Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. The lakes will soon be in your rearview mirror as you compromise through the narrow, twisty deep valley roads nestled within the Southern Alps.
You will feel like you’re getting nowhere, twist after twist of valley road, but then just like that out of nowhere, the road opens up and civilization greets you.
Feel the energy.
While heading down Frankton Road you will start to feel it, the energy will start to hit you, it’s mesmeric powers will feel like you’re getting sucked into a bubble. As you head down the hill and see the quaint town below, fumes of coffee, malt wine engulf your nose and the crisp air will encase every fiber of you.
You are now in the bubble, the rest of the world doesn’t exist, you have arrived in Neverland – More commonly known as Queenstown.
Hundreds, if not thousands of tourists pour in and out every single day; no matter what time of the year but some of us are not tourists. We’re the roamer’s of the earth and Queenstown sucked us in and became our sanctuary and playground.
Queenstown is a melting pot of locals, backpackers, tourists from far and wide, nomads and drifters of the world like myself. Many have come but never left.
This mixture of people coming together creates such a unique atmosphere and high energy that I have never felt or experienced anywhere else in the world. When you’re in Queenstown, you’re not just there; you become a part of it.
Becoming a Local in Neverland.
It’s funny when I arrived I was just another face, another backpacker but just after a few weeks, I was seen by the locals as a local. With the town being so small everybody who lives there knows each other; it doesn’t matter if you’re a backpacker living there, a local family, or a business owner. I could walk into my local cafe, not even having to order and there would be a coffee ready for me.
In fact on my route to work, I would walk into the local store without saying a word the clerk would pull out a pack of cigarettes for me, the cafe would have my coffee ready, and the sandwich shop would have a sandwich saved for me. It wasn’t just me, it’s the same for anybody considered a local. Also, locals get certain things for cheaper. (Queenstown has tourist prices and local prices.)
I can feel my traveling memory.
Right now, if I shut my eyes I’m at a lakeside cafe with the mesmeric mountains in front of me, lost in their tranquillity. My hands warm by cupping my coffee as that crisp mountainous air tries to bite my cheeks. I can hear and see tourists all around me, all wrapped up layers, scarfs and woolly hats. Some of them ready for a day up in the mountains for skiing and snowboarding. Some trying to take pictures to capture the perfect moment’s while others wonder what activity to do next. (I’m actually smiling as I remember how it felt to be there.)
The adventure capital of the southern hemisphere.
New Zealand is widely known as the adventure capital of the world and that may be but the epicenter is in Queenstown. What extreme sports can you think of? Bungy jumps, canyon swings and drops, paragliding, skydiving, mountain climbing, white water rafting, quad or mountain biking through the mountains, jet boat rides through canyons, and of course skiing and snowboarding. In whatever way you want your adrenaline kicked to the max, Queenstown has the collection.
If adventure sports are not your thing then don’t worry there is a flip side too.
Take leisurely strolls around the town, there are countless hikes to go on, play Frisbee golf (yes that’s a thing) visit a spa or surrounding towns like Arrowtown. You can just relax by the lake with a coffee or malt wine, eat in one of the cozy restaurants and keep warm by an open log fire. Wow, I sound like I’m selling you a holiday here. (Not my intention)
As I mentioned above, this town is famous for being the epicenter for adrenaline junkies but that’s just through the day – It’s when the sun disappears behind the mountains and the moon takes its place in the night sky that the back streets and alleys light up. Coffee and malt wine is replaced with beers, wine, spirits, and jagabombs. And, the vibrancy and energy are turned up a few notches as Queenstown really comes alive.
Just one more!
Just one more! Is a term synonymous with Queenstown, and with me while I was there. Anybody who knows me from Queenstown knows just what I’m talking about.
You see in Queenstown you can go out in the evening with the intention of having one or two drinks, maybe a drink with your meal but that’s not how it works out.
With the nightlife buzzing every night of the week, people who work during the day want to wind down, the ones who had their adrenaline spiked off the charts are not ready to come down yet and this creates a vortex for partying hard. so when that time comes for when you planned to go home somebody will utter the words ‘Just one more?‘ It’s like those words are spellbound because there is no saying no to it, you’re powerless (or have no willpower) and before you know it just one more has turned into going home at 4 am.
Any backpacker that has passed through or lived in Queenstown will have drunk more than their body weight in alcohol on a regular basis in that town.
Adrenaline through the day, drinking and partying through the night in a magical and picturesque town with the most amazing atmosphere – Is how I spent most of my 8 months there. Even though it’s a small town and due to new faces coming and going every day no day or night was the same.
Oh yeah, that other famous thing!
I’m sure you can see why I’m missing this bubble I used to live in but there is one other thing. It would be scandalous for me not to even mention it.
Before I even stepped into the bubble of Queenstown or even thought about going to New Zealand I was told about this from traveler friends of mine. It actually has It’s place in lonely planets top ten things to do in Queenstown. Not a single soul that has visited Queenstown has left without trying it or taking a picture of it. Put it this way I have witnessed tourists lining the streets just to take a picture, just so they can go home and say they were there, they tried it, they experienced it.
What Am I talking about?
I am talking about the one and only…Fergburger…I’ve seen tourists come to Queenstown not caring about anything else, they came for a Fergburger, This is the only burger joint I know that’s on every Queenstown ‘must do’ list. No franchises, no huge bar, or mass production, just one shop in the whole world, making fresh burgers to order and can only be found in Queenstown.
Now I know there are some people who don’t actually rate a ‘Ferg’ but others will say it’s the best burger they have ever tasted. Well for me while I was in Queenstown I loved them, It’s the only time in my life I have waited nearly two hours for one (it was that busy).
My traveling memories come to an end
Well, I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane, as I mentioned at the top of this post I had no idea how this post was going to turn out, it has just been off the cuff but leaves your thoughts in the comments below.
If you’re looking to backpack through New Zealand Click here for my guide with a twist.
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Don’t forget to pin Traveling memories: Missing Neverland