It’s Rich’s birthday today and it’s our duty to embarrass him as much as possible. We all changed our home screens on our phones to funny and very unflattering pictures of him to start.
Today it’s “bags to Ernie” at 8:30 am after another incredible breakfast from Chef Laura. OMG the bacon is NZ is soooo good! So are all of the fruits and vegetables.
Before we left, another Active Adventures group had arrived. In retaliation for the book that was hidden in Tess’s pack (who knows if these guides were even involved?) Guide Laura put a large “wheelie bin” inside their trailer. Later, we found that wheelie bin in the middle of the narrow road right when we were trying to leave.
Today we have a 3-4 hour mountain bike ride. All I can say is thank God because I could not climb one more hill today. I had a hard time just climbing into Ernie after yesterday’s hikes. I need to give all of my hurting parts a break and hurt some other parts now. I do spin classes twice a week, but I can’t remember the last time I rode a bike that moves, so today is sure to do me in.
Tess told us to meet at the half way point which was by a bridge. She brought a New Zealand Power Point presentation (laminated pictures stapled together) which showed pictures of the trail so we knew which way to go. Very useful! It was a picturesque trail with, you guessed it, undulating hills!
Before we left, Tess said, “Why has my small pack been so heavy?” and she found a giant rock wrapped up at the bottom. These Active Adventure guides just don’t quit!
At the “half way point” Tess told us that we had just over two hours left to go.
“How long have we been riding for?” asked Hubby.
“Just under an hour.” replied Tess. That’s kiwi math, because we are on the other side of the equator and all.
We came to part of the lake where a dog was having the best day ever. No one told him how cold the water was. The best part of our bike ride was watching that dog in the water because we are all dog-starved. That didn’t come out right. Let me explain: There are very few dogs where we’re traveling within New Zealand, because they are not allowed in any of the National Parks. So when we actually see one, we need our fix!
By the end of the ride, we were all exhausted and many were sore. Tess and Laura had a picnic lunch waiting for us and then they surprised Rich with champagne and chocolates. We all sang as LOUD AS WE POSSIBLY COULD! Just to be obnoxious. ‘Cause we love Funcle Rich!
Now we were heading to Queenstown for an entire free day tomorrow! My body soooo needs a day off. Or a month. Laura passed around the brochures so we could choose which adventure, if any, we want to do on our one day off. Queenstown is the “big city” around here and there are a hundred different ways you can choose to kill yourself from bungee jumping to skydiving to river rafting and everything in between. Marleen and Borut both chose to take a true day off. Rich, Laura and Griffin chose River-boarding while Steve and Kellen were going off-roading on quads. I was set for a day at the spa.
We did a quick stop at the “bra fence”, yes, that’s right, an entire fence of women’s brassieres. There’s a whole story as to why the bras are there, but really who cares? It’s a BRA FENCE! The men on Ernie couldn’t be bothered but we women had a great time!
Driving into Queenstown was as beautiful as ever.
We had no idea where we were staying, but when Ernie pulled up to the super nice Crown Plaza, we were giddy. At least I was. I was very ready for a nice hotel with LAUNDRY machines and a fluffy bed with too many pillows.
We showered and walked through the quaint little waterfront town to dinner. I snapped a quick shot before heading into the restaurant.
Even thought Tess and Guide Laura technically have one day and two nights off away from us, they met us at The Blue Kanoe for dinner to celebrate more of Rich’s birthday. We had a fabulous chef’s tasting menu dinner and sang a few more rounds of “Happy Birthday” at the top of our lungs to finish off his day.
Back to our hotel a luxurious night’s rest. We have to get up fairly early to get over to the activity office in the morning. Oh, did I say I chose a day of spa? Nah. I can spa anytime. I’m only in New Zealand once. I chose quad riding with Steve and Kell.
Wheelie bin- trash can
Two things you never ask Tess:
How much longer is the drive? It’s always 20 minutes, no matter what.
How hilly is the hike? It’s always undulating. Which is perfect because there is no defining how big the mountain is. You just know that there are many ups and downs.