I’ve only just come into Queenstown from Auckland, but may I illustrate the difference between these two cities?

For starters, this is the view from my Queenstown hotel room.

Auckland is a big city — beautiful — but big. It’s not unlike Philadelphia. Queenstown is more like, say, Vail.

As I was leaving my hotel in Auckland first thing this morning, I noticed a bar called the “Albion” across the way. They proudly proclaim on signs that all of their bars remain open 24/7. It was about ten minutes to seven this morning when I glanced at the door. Two men tumbled out. They were of vastly different dimensions. Everything happened so fast, so I hope you’ll accept my questionable eye-witness account. One man looked to be about nine feet tall and the other maybe four. The former, it appeared, had a significant height advantage.

The two began shouting at one another (about what, I know not). Then, the smaller man started pounding — gorilla-like — on his chest. All of the sudden the two (ahem) gentlemen began running toward each other. Have you ever seen a science documentary where a pair of mountain goats get ready to ram horns? That’s what this was like. I was beginning to get excited. Then, all of the sudden, a city bus drove by. And stopped. You might not believe me, and I won’t blame you if you don’t, but when the bus moved along, the taller guy was gone. Completely gone. His height advantage didn’t do it for him. Saved by the bus, I’d say.

We will never know what became of him. Although, I’d put a sawbuck on the fact that he’s a regular at the Albion. Or at least he used to be.

But I probably won’t be checking that place out anytime soon. As I said, I’m in Queenstown now. It’s a city of “adventure.” You can literally do anything you’d like to get an adrenaline kick. If it’ll give you a rush, you can do it here. Paragliding, Jetboating, Mountain Biking, you name it. Incidentally, hiking is quite safe here. There are no snakes, spiders, or bears. Just massive cliffs.

The adrenaline rush begins as your plane approaches landing at Queenstown’s airport. For about twenty minutes, you squeeze through mountain passes that extend far higher than your meager window. Then, when you think you’ve still got a way to go, you slam onto a runway built several hundred feet above the valley floor. It was incredible! We taxied back on the runway (there’s no space for a taxiway) and the flight attendant announced that we would be departing using “Ear Steers.”

Ear Steers = Air Stairs.


Now, it’s time to head out and explore this, the last city of this RTW Adventure. There’s plenty of time, though, since the sun stays up until about 10:00 and comes back at 5:45 or so.