Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world – with bungee jumping, canyon swings and sky diving on its doorstep – it is not a hard for your adrenaline to start pumping. Within 48 hours there, I had gone for afternoon tea and played a round of indoor mini golf. Try and slow this crazy bus down, I dare you.
My best friend and I were just starting our little South Island adventure and the weather forecast was not our side. Plus we were on somewhat of a budget. We woke up to our first morning in Queenstown; the sky a murky grey and the ground already slick with rain.
We headed to the hostel’s kitchen to start the morning with a cup of tea.
“Should we able to see mountains from this window?” I asked.
H laughed into her cereal, “I think so.”
“I think there should be a lake as well. This is probably quite a nice view.”
“Who needs mountains when you’ve got big clouds?”
We sipped our tea and contemplated our next move. We weren’t going to let the rain get in our way, especially as we were only in Queenstown for a few days.
H had made a friend during her solo travels in New Zealand and they had a car. The weather was meant to perk up later in the day, so the three of us decided to drive out to Arrowtown, a historic mining town, 30 minutes away from Queenstown. As we were getting ready, of course, it started to rain.
“It’s not a proper British holiday without an anorak!” we joked, as we donned our waterproofs.
“Should there be mountains here?” I asked, as we drove along what I imagine was a scenic route.
“I think so.” Bombay Bicycle Club played as we tried to see past the clouds smudging the landscape.
We arrived in to Arrowtown. In the drizzle we pottered through the town, stopping at a café for tea and cake to wait out the rain. (I think that is quite possibly the most British sentence I have ever written.) Eventually, we could see sunlight trickling through the clouds. We were out of the cafe like a shot, eager to explore and make the most of the sun.
Within seconds, I fell in love.
We had stumbled across a spectacular coppery forest, spread out across rolling hills. Autumn has always been my favourite season and to see it so vividly all around me, with the sun glazing the rustic colours, I felt giddy.
Wanting to make the most of the blue sky, we headed back to Queenstown. This time we could see the mountains on the way back and I couldn’t shake the dreamlike feeling of it all.
It is one my favourite feelings whilst travelling: the disbelief in what you’re seeing is real. You’re actually there, you’re doing it, you’re managing to see this beautiful world with your very own eyes.
On top of Bob’s Peak, looking out at Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables, I revelled in that feeling. We stayed up there for so long, happy to simply stand and soak in the views.
Though not for too long, because rain was on its way again and we literally would have gotten soaked.
Back at the hostel, I quickly Googled ‘what to do on a rainy day in Queenstown.’
“How do you two feel about mini golf?”
“I’m just reading some reviews of this place and a lot of people have said it’s the best indoor mini golf they’ve played in their lives.”
The two looked at me skeptically, neither of them could tell whether I was being serious. Somehow, within seconds, I had become absolutely set on the idea of playing mini golf. I decided to push the idea,”I think it will be fun. I’d rather go out than stay in.”
They shrugged their shoulders, agreeing to go along with it. Once again, we shoved on our trusty anoraks and made our way to CaddyShack City Mini Golf.
And do you know what? It was the best goddamn indoor mini golf I’ve played in my life.
There were sound effects, moving parts, and each hole had its own set design. Personal favourites included the launching rocket and the ski lift for your golf ball. We had the place to ourselves and we were like little kids, unable to stop laughing and whooping with delight at any tiny surprise with each of the holes.
My first 48 hours in Queenstown may not have been the most adrenaline-fuelled of things, but I am more than happy to add them to my New Zealand adventures.