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Puzzling World and Queenstown – Day 52
Wednesday 18th May 2005
Today I was travelling to one of the most talked about places in New Zealand, and probably one of the most popular places. I was off to Queenstown, but first I would pay a visit to Puzzling World in Wanaka, for a bit of fun.
I had made the decision to leave today, and to my surprise, so had my travel buddy, Stu. I made the decision to head for Queenstown, and so therefor, so did Stu. Naturally I would be giving him a lift. We set out with a clear sky all about us, and I knew it would be a nice day – weather wise. I had already booked my place to stay for the next night – unlike Stu – so I knew where I was headed. First, though, we made tracks for Puzzling World, a place full of puzzles and games.
This place is so much fun, a great place for old and young alike to play games and study illusions. The rooms are designed to disorientate you, and to think you are leaning one way, when really you are leaning another. I fell over a couple of times. There is also an outside maze, which is quite difficult. I kept at it and managed to finish it within 30 minutes. Stu, on the other hand, decided to crawl underneath the maze and give up, as he wasn’t enjoying it. I, on the other hand, loved it. I felt like a big kid, and found myself pushing other kids out the way to get to the finish first.
There were plenty of photo opportunities everywhere, and this picture had to be taken. The toilets are interesting as well. Worth a visit even if you don’t need to go. All in all it was a lot of fun, but by now we were finished, so we decided to carry on towards Queenstown. I think this pleased Stu who was bored by now.
We arrived at the hostel – Butterfli Lodge – where I checked in. Unfortunately, I had the last bed, and as Stu had not pre-booked, there were no other beds available for him. This meant I had to take him to another hostel in the hope they had a spare bed. We found a place and Stu checked in and paid. Stu wanted to see the room while I was here. But surprise, surprise, he didn’t like it. We came back to the front desk where Stu asked for a refund. He was refused and an argument followed. I felt very awkward and embarrassed, but Stu got his money back in the end. We drove on to another hostel, with me thoroughly enjoying myself being a chauffeur, driving Stu around Queenstown in search of the perfect hostel – not to be too sarcastic – and eventually found one that he liked. He checked in and all was sorted.
Stu wanted to go straight into town, so I gave him a lift there too. He announced his plans to follow me for the next week at least – which was something I was not even considering. So I needed a plan, and fast.
He had planned to do a hike, and this sounded perfect. I could drop him off there, then go on my way. But of course, now, he wanted me to do the 2 day hike with him, so then I could drive him there then drive him back again, and to drive him about for the next week or so. A hike was not on my itinerary, though, so I refused, much to Stu’s disappointment. We spent the next hour or two walking about town, going here, then there, then back here again, whilst Stu made up his mind what he wanted to do, and which shop he wanted to go into. All the while he tried to convince me that a hike would be the best thing I could ever do, and that I was stupid for not wanting to do it. I guess I must be stupid if that’s the case.
I was finally able to take him back to his hostel and relax a little in another hostel. At Butterfli Lodge, Catherine and Claire showed me around and made me feel welcome. It is a very nice hostel and I like it already. I sat down and breathed a huge sigh of relief.
In the evening I went into town for some money and to book my next place in Te Anau. It was just out of season here, and as such it was very quiet all about. The numbers of bars, clubs and other activities made me realise just how busy it does get here. It was a shame, as I wanted to see this place in season, and to be a part of the vibe. I wanted also to try my hand at skiing. Unfortunately, though, I was here a little too early. A siren sounded which took me away from my thoughts momentarily. A fire had broken out somewhere and the emergency vehicles sprung into action. In smaller towns all fire crew are volunteers, the siren being their alarm to get themselves down to the station quickly. It is quite an eerie sound on a quiet evening.
I got back to the hostel and had dinner. By now the hostel was filling with people, and I had my dinner just in time it seems. There seems to be a large group of people here who all know each other, and they spent the evening in high spirits laughing and joking with one another. I was chilling out on the sofa talking to a lovely couple from England – Jo and James. They gave me lots of useful information about travelling, as they have been to many places. We shared stories and talked long into the evening, long after everyone else had gone to bed. Once we realised what the time was, we also went to sleep.
It was a great evening to end a frustrating day. I hoped tomorrow’s trip to Te Anau would begin another good chapter in this trip.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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