A Short Trip to the South Island
Last month, my half hour domestic flight between Auckland and Napier had a seven-hour delay. Two weeks ago, my flight home from Sydney couldn't land in Auckland and diverted to Christchurch, where we sat on the tarmac for three hours before finally landing back in Auckland.
I joked to my grandparents as I headed out the door towards Auckland Airport last weekend; "What if I'm delayed again, then I'll know that I really do have a plane curse".
Thankfully, my plane wasn't delayed, I jumped on board, took my seat headed smoothly down to Queenstown where I was meeting my good friend Sym to celebrate her birthday.
As my plane approached Queenstown, the ride started to get a little bit bumpier. We began our descent through the beautiful mountains, heading slowly and shakily towards the runway. All of a sudden, the plane swooped away from the runway and high into the sky. After flying around in circles and attempting to land again, an announcement came over the speaker saying that because of the weather conditions we wouldn't be able to land in Queenstown, so we were headed back up to ... AUCKLAND!!!
Okay - it's official: I'm cursed.
At Auckland Airport I was told that I wouldn't be able to fly until the following evening because all other flights were fully booked out. So, I headed home to my perfectly made bed that I had not expected to be falling asleep in that night.
My flight the next day was delayed by an hour, by this point, delays had become something that I was quite accustomed to - I just kept working on my laptop and shoving my face full of the free food in the lounge (which I managed to talk my way into).
Later that night, we started our descent over snow-topped mountains, which stood out against the pitch black of the night. As the plane sunk below the city lights and clunked onto the runway, I almost wanted to be that loser who claps when the plane lands. It was an ordeal, but I'd finally made it. The pilot's voice blared over the speaker "Welcome to Dunedin, everybody". "You've got to be kidding me," I muttered to myself, and thankfully, he was!
Every time my flight has been stuck in the air or delayed, the air hostesses have fed us Cookie Time cookies. I have eaten too many to count in the past month - to the point where I swore I'd never eat another one of them in my life. That didn't last very long at all though. The first place that Sym and I headed was the Cookie Time Cookie Bar on Camp Street. As much as I tried not to like Cookie Time cookies, they are just so good! Especially warm ones with hokey-pokey ice cream.
After gutsing out on sugar, we decided to get something a bit more substantial to eat. We headed to Devil Burger (which I reckon is better than Ferg Burger) for some Curry Cheese Chips.
Just a few hours of sleep later, we were up and out the door again, driving in the darkness to the pretty little town of Glenorchy for the sunrise over Lake Wakatipu. OH MY GOODNESS! I don't think I have ever seen something so beautiful in my life. Photos don't do it justice at all. The sky lit up like fairy floss.
From Glenorchy, we headed back down one of the most beautiful roads you could ever drive, back to Queenstown. We were booked in to do the AJ Hackett Ledge Swing. We rode the Skyline Gondola to the picturesque platform that we were about to swing off. Perched in the hills, the gondola and the swing look out over the town, the mountains and the lake. As fun as the Ledge Swing was, the adrenaline junkie in me didn't quite get her hit. I think next time I'm in Queenstown I'll try one of the bungy jumps or go skydiving.
I am a bit of an overexaggerater sometimes, you've probably figured that out if you know me personally or read my blog. When I told Sym that Milford Sound "was like my favourite place in the entire world" she said "everywhere is your favourite place in the entire world". Milford Sound is about a four hour drive from Queenstown but because of the amount I'd hyped it up, Sym was determined to check it out. Milford Sound is definitely worth the drive - the only dilemma we had was that after my 36 hour plane delay, I had just over 24 hours in the South Island - if we were to go to Milford Sound, eight of them would be spent driving. "Are you sure?" I asked Sym "we could just go to Wanaka and Arrowtown, they are beautiful too". But she managed to, somehow, twist my arm into going.
We brought a friend, who was also visiting Queenstown, along for the drive and we entertained ourselves with every kind of car game that we could conjure up. As always, the drive to Milford Sound was completely worthwhile. Even though the tide was right out, I still held by my word that it was "my favourite place in the entire world".
From Milford Sound, we drove four hours back to Queenstown in the dark, cracked open a bottle of wine and ordered room service. It was the perfect end to a perfect half of a weekend.