New Zealand

Day #3: Glenorchy

Journal #3: Glenorchy
Date: 3/4/16
Cover Photo: “A Sunny Day in Scotland”
Sheep Spotted: ~200

Actual Conversation in Glenorchy today:

Me: (Looking at gloomy sky full of dark clouds) “Look’s like Rain”
Scottish Tourist: “Son- In Scotland, we call this a beautiful sunny day!”

Today I drove to Glenorchy- where I ran into the Scottish tourist mentioned in the quote. He and his wife had rented a camper and were driving to various hikes- a very common thing out here (basically half the vehicles on the road are small “campers”- basically large vans).

If you’re travelling here as part of a group, I would recommend that route- otherwise, definitely try to rent a car with 4-wheel drive. A lot of the hiking trails are only accessible on unpaved roads and I’ve discovered the hard way that my sapphire blue Toyota Corolla is not the best on these roads!

On a related note- there’s a huge diversity in tourism here-which is surprising to me since New Zealand is basically close to nothing (even Australia is over 1000 miles away at the closest point). From a rough break down (and only from my time in Queenstown), the nationalities look something like this:

35% Chinese
30% European
20% Australian
15% American

Philip (my Airbnb host) says the Americans are the easiest to spot because they “wear white shoes with white socks” and “wear rain pants.” I asked him what Kiwis wear in the rain (if not rain pants): “Just shorts mate.”

Anyways- I digress… Glenorchy is roughly 50 minutes northwest of Queenstown- here’s a map that shows the rough area (including yesterday’s drive to Wanaka):


Near Glenorchy is also an area called “Paradise” which is where today’s image came from (and also 90% of the sheep I saw today). It’s basically just a single road running through a bunch of farms, but a lot of big budget movies have shot scenes in Paradise- including Lord of the Rings (obviously), The Chronicles of Narnia, and that one terrible Wolverine movie that Fox (literally) erased from history.

You’ll also notice that I included sheep in today’s photo! I was looking through my last two posts and I realized I had talked about the roads and sheep but showed neither- so here are both in one shot!

No clear agenda tomorrow- I will likely explore Queenstown some more because I head to Mount Cook on Sunday, and after that I’m camping for a few days. I will also dedicate some space to the food and beer here- honestly I’ve just been chasing happy hours that past few days to save money, but I will come prepared with full commentary.

Post Script:

One last thing- since I skipped my initial “fly-in” day- I realized I never talked about the actual flight to New Zealand. This was a huge concern of mine before traveling and I know others feel the same way- primarily because it seems very long.

I am happy to report that this part of the journey was extremely easy. I flew coach on Air New Zealand from San Francisco to Auckland (12.5 hours) and it could not have gone any better- the seats are huge, the overheads are huge, the service is great, the food is decent, and the movie selection is solid.

If you’re carrying an American or Western European passport, customs is very easy and done 90% electronically on a touch screen. Everyone else goes through a kiosk. The remaining 10% is a machine scan of your bag- they are very concerned about food (and basically nothing else) given the agriculture focus of the NZ economy.

From Auckland, I took a Air New Zealand flight to Queenstown (1.5 hours). This was also extremely easy- in fact, you board super quick because Air New Zealand uses two boarding ramps (one in the front and one in the back) with your seat number determining which route you go (i.e. 1-15 boards in the front, 16-30 boards from the rear). The flight was also cheap- I believe it was $120 USD.

Finally the time change is basically negligent, since you are basically a full day ahead of the United States (I am 21 hours ahead of San Francisco). I have yet to experience any jet lag and don’t anticipate it being a problem on the return.

All in all- definitely don’t let the flight discourage you from flying to New Zealand. Let me know if you have any questions, but from my experience it has been extremely easy!



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Categories: New Zealand, Queenstown