If there's one thing I know to be true about weekends in New Zealand, it is that Queenstown never disappoints. Just look at it:
After my back-to-back call weekends, I was ready to branch out from Otautau. My initial plan was to make my recent 4-day weekend a ski retreat. (Aaron and I had traded a few days for his vacation, leaving me with a 4-day weekend!) Unfortunately (fortunately??? ...mixed emotions), the snow hasn't hit yet, so none of the resorts are really up and running yet.
Friday was a day of rest and planning... and a haircut. I was overdue.
I had pretty much made up my mind to go on up to Queenstown (if for no other reason than the hot chocolate and the views).
Then I found out the Queenstown Winter Festival was going on. So lucky! That clenched the decision, so Saturday I headed on up after booking myself a ticket to a hockey game up there that night!
After a quick visit to Arrowtown to get more of that same yarn to finish making that scarf, I went into downtown Qtown for some lake views, food, hot chocolate, and some live music from local musicians. This is Holly Aerosmith:
She's pretty good! She kept me entertained anyway until it was time to head to the hockey game.
While waiting in line to pick up my standing-room-only ticket (sold out crowd!), I made friends with a group of Irish tourists, and watched the game with them.
I had planned on making a big announcement like "Say Hello to the newest Southern Stampede Fan!", but it turns out I'm not a fan. They got stomped.
After the game was a little more wandering around the festival, where they had a little ice skating rink and more music.
Then it was off to bed, because I had big plans for hiking on Sunday.
This view was very encouraging as I drove to my trailhead.
I did a hike around Moke Lake, which took a couple of hours. A guy is down there in a rowboat. You can see my trail on the far side of the lake, that little slice across the mountain running along the lake.
And when I got 3/4 of the way around, I was greeted by crazy reflections on the water, and the photo shoot began... It was pretty intense..
I don't know what's real anymore.
I finally peeled myself away from the lake when some stand-up paddleboarders ruined my glassy surface... so I finished my hike, but then decided to head out from there on a different trail. This second one was actually a dirt road that goes across a large livestock station that just goes for miles and miles. This one took a few hours, and looked like this at first:
Then looked like this for most of the rest of it:
I only ran into one group of 4 mountain-bikers in about 4 hours.
and I ended up back at the lake, now completely deserted. I had it all to myself, and of course I had to repeat all of the pictures I had already taken.
There's just enough texture on the water to be able to keep your bearings.
I couldn't decide which side was more impressive.
Trippy, right? See what I did there? the second one is actually upside down...
It was time to go when I started in on the diagonal shots.... I had exhausted every possible flat option.
So back to Queenstown for more hot chocolate, music, and food! I was pretty hungry after all that walking in the cold all day.
And these Churros from a street vendor just happened to be the first food stand I walked up to when I got back into town.
Can you imagine the smile on my face? I was so happy.
And as if that weren't enough, I found the German Sausage stand that we LOVE here, but it's only at certain festivals, horseraces, etc. It's called Fritz's Bavarian Style Wieners, and we look for it everywhere there is ever a slight possibility that they'll be there, but we rarely find them these days.
And to cap off my night (which ended super early because I was tired and cold), I listened to a few high school rock/funk bands. they were way more entertaining than the mainstage acts.
This group did a funk/jazz version of a Bruno Mars song, which was pretty rad.
And SAY HELLO to the newest Love Lost Demons fan!!!!
Unlike the Southern Stampede, they totally nailed their performance and won me over.
Monday was a day to settle back in for the week. On the way home, I actually picked up a hitchhiker who was on his way to the funeral of a local lady I knew peripherally, so I dropped him off at the cemetery in Nightcaps before coming back to Otautau to begin the Fourth of July Party preparations!!!!
I hope you're as excited for the 4th as the whole Otautau Medical Centre is!!!