Our First Trip After I Stopped Travel Blogging – 4 Present Days in Queenstown

Me and Dave in Glenorchy smiling under snow-capped mountains

As things start to shift in mine and Dave’s lives, I’m looking back on some of the amazing travel adventures we’ve had over the last two years. We’ve explored the East and South Coast of Australia, The North Island of New Zealand and some of the South Island too. It’s safe to say that these last two years have left me feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. It’s also been 24 months full of discovery and realising what I really crave in my life right now. Being on the road for almost two years has been incredible. That said, I can’t ignore my feelings that are telling me that I’m ready to feel a little more grounded and little less spontaneous.

I’m ready for a permanent home and somewhere I can come back to after a thrilling adventure. 

After a year in Australia filled with travel, work and then travel some more. In August 2019 we found ourselves ending our New Zealand North Island Road Trip and standing still for the first time in over a year.

It gave us a chance for reflection and to really listen to our souls in every area of our lives. It wasn’t until we stopped that we could actually open our hearts to whatever might be coming next. If you follow me along on my adventures you’ll know it was at this point I stopped travel blogging relentlessly. I said goodbye to the cycle of blogging that I’d got caught up in.

It was time to start travelling a little more intentionally and a little less for my travel blog. 

Cue the best 4-day break I’ve had in a long time! In November Dave and I celebrated our 4 year anniversary and I couldn’t be happier that I found the love of my life at twenty-one. It’s also a miracle that he’s put up with me for all of these years and extravagant ideas for our life together. So, what a better way to celebrate than with a mini-break to the mountains? 

After road tripping the North Island of New Zealand, we were yet to set foot on the South which I was itching to do. So when dirty cheap flights to Queenstown became available there was no way I wasn’t booking them! So, off we went like two excited children on Christmas Day we headed to the airport to get out of the city and into the mountains and boy were we READY for that! 

The Road from Queenstown to Glenorchy
The Road from Queenstown to Glenorchy

The South Island of New Zealand is a funny one for me. Although both islands make New Zealand the unique country it is, I can’t help but feel like they are worlds apart. New Zealand as a country is expensive. Everything is a little pricier than Australia and that does make it difficult to travel between the two islands.

Perhaps it’s my stiff British roots or sensible money head but I really don’t want to spend $400 on return tickets south for just a few days. But after visiting only a tiny inch of this island I would urge anyone to sod the money and just do it because the South Island really is something else entirely. 

I would also urge anyone to fly if you can. Even though we sat economy on Australias most popular budget airline company I felt like I was on a scenic flight. If you do fly from Wellington to Queenstown make sure you bag a window seat, you’ll be so glad you did. As you leave the North Island behind and start hovering over the South you find yourself flying high above some of the worlds biggest mountains. There’s something so grounding about looking down onto snow-capped mountains from above. It was a moment that honestly made me feel so alive. By the time we reached Queenstown, I think my jaw was aching from smiling the whole way. 

I will just mention that my smile faded pretty quickly as we began our descent into Queenstown. That was bloody scary. You’re reading the words of a girl who, despite having travelled far and wide, has only ever touched down at mainstream airports, not the smaller airports hidden in the middle of mountains on a windy Wednesday morning. Cue my very sweaty palms as we headed for the runway in the middle of the Remarkable’s Mountains Range! Kudos to the pilot who did an amazing job. 

As soon as I stepped out of the door of that plane I felt the mountain air fill my lungs and I just knew there was going to be something very special about this break. 

First up though, I want to tell you about hiring the car!

Don’t roll your eyes. This isn’t the average story of who you should hire a car from and the average price. This is a simple story which shaped the rest of our break. As we hopped into the shuttle bus provided by Go Rentals to pick up our little whip for the week. We were greeted by a more than familiar accent. I knew it was British, I knew it was Yorkshire but damn it couldn’t be the accent shared by the whole of my village at home, could it? Immediately I began questioning our driver where she was from. Turns out she lives down the road from my blooming Grandad in the village next door the one I grew up in. She attended the high school that ‘rivalled’ mine and boy did it make me smile.  It certainly set a precedent for the rest of the week. The world really is a very tiny place! 

The remaining four days of our trip went by magically. This was the first trip in so long where I hadn’t created a plan. Sure, we had a brief idea of what we wanted to do during our trip but we kind of just rolled with it. I seriously think that it was this mindset that made this such an enjoyable trip!

We just kind of went with the flow and of course the weather. Because we hadn’t set in stone exactly what we wanted to do it didn’t matter if the weather didn’t play ball. I just felt so much calmer and relaxed during the whole trip. It was definitely the most present I’d felt on a trip in so long. Again, I put this down to not worrying about creating content for my travel blog too. Whilst I love creating for my online space, this trip proved that it wasn’t bringing me joy anymore. I felt so much more joyful just being away and not thinking about the blogging world and I’m sure Dave would agree I was much more joyful to be around. 

The Wanaka Tree in Queenstown
The famous Wanaka Tree – I must admit I found it slightly underwhelming, anyone else?

This whole trip made me realise something so important and that’s it’s okay to change your mind. I know I talk about this a lot but it really is so important to listen to your thoughts, feelings and intuition because they are probably right. I knew that my travel blog was no longer make me happy on my travels which goes against everything that the best travel bloggers stand for. It’s uncanny the amount of joy I now get form writing my blog now. I’m writing it out of a place of passion and true purpose. 

So even though this isn’t your traditional ‘How to Spend 4 Days in Queenstown post’ I thought I’d still give a few tips. If you are visiting this gorgeous town then some of the things you have to do are:

  • Drive to Glenorchy – It’s simply beautiful 
  • Gondola and Luge Ride (get more luge rides than you think you’ll want)
  • Hike Queenstown Hill
  • Visit Wanaka 
  • Eat a Fergburger – Yes they are worth the hype 
  • Walk around Queenstown Gardens 

We actually didn’t visit Milford Sound (March 2020 for us) but a lot of people do that as part of their time in Queenstown too! Queenstown is a gorgeous ski town full of charm, great places to eat, adventure and adrenaline. Queenstown isn’t a crowd favourite amongst Kiwis as most find it too touristy but I loved it. The surroundings were beautiful and I think it’s my favourite town in New Zealand by far. If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand then put it high up on your list. 

Until Next Time, 

Alicia x 

Some of you may know me as a Travel Blogger. But a few months ago I gave up my place in the Travel Blogging Hamster. I found my new passion in the online world and couldn't believe the difference it made to how I felt during my first trip that I wasn't seeing myself as a 'Travel Blogger'. Click the pin to hear more. #travelblogging #travelbloggers #traveltribe #queenstown #newzealandtravel
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Alicia is a travel obsessed Registered Nurse who is on a mission to help other unfulfilled nurses reconnect with their purpose, passion and joy for life. Alicia has suffered from countless bouts of burnout in her nursing career and now wants to help other nurses too. Alicia is a huge advocate for travel and travel makes up a huge part of her life and this blog! Join her on her adventures nursing around the world and helping others to live a happier more positive life.

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