A memorable evening began with an equally memorable morning: I finally got a chance to add crème fraîche and chopped seaweed to my version of Gordon Ramsay’s Sublime Scrambled Eggs:



Because we got in a day early, we spent the entire today finally without a plan. Mary went to do a helicopter ride over the valley, some of us tried to do skydiving (alas closed due to wind conditions), and others headed out for various watersports by the bay:



Me? I tried to be a lake monster.



Or pretend to be thoughtful.



The highlight meal was getting a cheat code and avoid the lines to grab a Fergburger. Repeatedly been told that it is “one of the best burgers in the world” (I’ve been told it’s always #2 for some reason), we avoided any wait by simply calling ahead for a pickup, which only took 15 minutes to get 4 of the best burgers of our lives.



The recommendations were on point.



Afterwards we finished a viewing of one of my favorite travel movies, Before Sunset, before driving out in a failed attempt to find Bob’s Peak for sunset.



Whatever we found wasn’t Bob’s Peak, but it was good enough.




For the record, the next day Rachel was able to find and hike up to Bob’s Peak on her own:


Photo Credit: Rachel Xu


At around 11pm we drove out 45 minutes away to Glenorchy, farther south of New Zealand’s Dark Sky Preserve of Mackenzie Basin. Here light pollution is minimized to a degree where you can get the darkest skies in the world. Thanks to Taylan’s tripod, I was able to get these magical shots of the night sky:



We even had a little bit of fun with our phones on the long exposure:




Rachel even attempted to draw a kiwibird:



After an hour here, we drove back into Queenstown at 1:30am where half the group (Ann, Mary, Rachel and myself) went out on the town to dance while the rest slept in early. Tomorrow’s our last full day where we board an 8:30am Kiwi Experience Bus for one of the most beautiful fjords in the world: Milford Sound!


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January 2018