Well I got here in Queenstown. After a bad night sleep from excitement, my alarm went off at 5:10am for a quick black tea and toast with ham and cheese and that was all I ate until two bites of airline lasagna and a plastic cup of apple juice until .... The FERG at 6:20pm.
(That’s the suspense in this blog).
After two flights - both delayed - my Sydney to Queenstown leg had a lovely tail wind and I landed at Queenstown airport against a bumpy head wind at 4:10pm. Only 40 min late.
I had the obligatory check by the lovely NZ Quarantine staff of my hiking gear and a quick shake down of my sleeping mat and tent. Then I left the airport by foot to walk 20 min to Pac N Save to buy some supplies for routeburn and of course, I have too much food. Oh those pack of cashews are only $2.50, on that jerky is $10 for a big packet. At least it is good practice for weight carrying on those multi day hikes.
Then I hijaked a campervan with friendliness to get a lift back to Queenstown - thank you to those two UK people I didn’t get catch their names :( you saved my long walk back!
As soon as the above mentioned lovely brits dropped my off around the corner from Shotover st, I rounded the corner and ... there was Nora, my German new tramping acquaintance who will be hiking routeburn and Kepler and TA with me. We said a very surprised “hello” and set up to meet later for a beer.
In the meantime I checked in to my accommodation at adventure HQ - soooo good to be back after almost 10 years - and yeah Ok I had a fergburger - yep a coconut chili and lime tempura tofu burger and it was marvelous. I also met another German - Stella - who is on holiday from Frankfurt and we had burger and beers together and then met with Nora, grabbed more beers and corn chips (because I was still hungry!) and sat on my balcony chatting while the sun set over the hills surrounding Queenstown.
Afterwards I focused my attention on packing this and fell asleep by 9:30pm. So hello NZ in typical tourist fashion, while Nora and I set off to walk Routeburn.