It doesn’t matter where New Zealand you are, LOTR (Lord of the Rings) is omnipresent. One of my favorite references was on a grocery store billboard that read, “You shall not pass! … on these ridiculous savings”. This is Gollum in the Wellington airport.
The South Island in New Zealand is, to compare it to the U.S., a bit like going to visit Wyoming or Colorado for the full rustic outdoor experience. There are 1 million people living in the south island and roughly 20 million sheep. This is possible because NZ has no natural predators so every living thing on the island thrives and is basically a plush toy.
NZ is heavily promoting it’s South Island to the film industry. Easy to see why because it’s incredibly scenic down here: (That neon blue is the real color of the water) [Lake Tekapo]
I drove 9 hours from Christchurch to Queenstown with a few others I met at the airport. There’s a lot of scenery on the way but it’s an extremely empty territory with towns of just a few hundred residents along the way. These towns exist because they were created for construction projects and the gold rush in the 1850′s. When both of these projects were finished, everyone just stayed… why not?
Finally to Queenstown – the adventure capital of the world for adrenalin junkies seekingbungee jumping, sky diving, jetboating, canyoning, sail planing and hang gliding, dirt biking and mountain biking, ATV’ing and mountain luging, and on and on… This town is 99.9% inhabited by tourists who never left. It’s also where they first invented bungee jumping. I’ve been skydiving before so I decided against the bungee jumping and opted for mountain biking. Anyways, easily the best views I’ve seen so far:
In this photo I’m with Jack who’s been traveling to various vacation spots all over the world to work/live in whatever location. He’s 27, from England (Cockney English – think Brad Pitt’s accent in the movie Snatch). He’s got a PhD in the travel lifestyle.
There’s one more experience in Queenstown that deserves mention: The Fergburger – a burger that’s so good – [readers in NYC turn away for a moment] – so good that I’d say it’s even tastier than Shake Shack. Like many of the high quality things in this country it’s dubbed with the popular local phrase: “World Famous in New Zealand“.
Off to hang out with the kangaroos in Australia…