Sunday, November 24, 2013

Queenstown - The happy place

Not a bad view of the Ernslaw and the Remarkables
As long as I've known Thomas, I've known that its been his dream to live in Queenstown with his brother John. So off we went. Thomas and I went into life in the south knowing that we wouldn't even bother with jobs, but instead happily being true ski bums. Life in this little town tucked in between the Remarkable mountains and the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu was simpily amazing. With a balance of outstanding scenary and skiing adventures to a vibrant nightlife, of which we knew of every local or happy hour special, made for fun filled days followed by sociable evenings. For the lives of full time snowboarders, full time frisbee golfers and full time happy hour goers, Queenstown was the place to be. We lived in the flamboyant 'Rainbow Cabin,' and although it was tight with the four of us, we had an unobstructed view right across the lake to the the Remarkables and it looked right round to Coronet Peak too. It was a million dollar view and your soul couldn't help but shine taking it all in.

The self proclaimed Rainbow Cabin

As he always does, Thomas got himself brewing. He and John ended up making quite a few brews, and even sourcing the water right from Lake Wakatipu itself. Brewing right on our deck, with the mountains all around him, was definitely a nice place to be making some beer, and drinking it too. We became quite good friends with one of John's work mates, Henric (from Sweden). Soon beer became our currency, as we did an exchange where Henric would often drive us up to the ski field and we'd repay him with homebrew and some food after riding. Henric loved Thomas' homebrew and definitely didn't mind being paid in beer instead of money! Good thing too because we had way more beer than money at this point in time.

It became nearly ritual for Thomas and I to play frisbee golf once we got back from snowboarding. The course through the botanic gardens was right on the lake and since it was free and entertaining, we were all over it. It was so much fun, and the boys in particular were serious about keeping score and recording their averages and fought to become the best frisbee golfer in the family! We should have been getting better, but it seemed like the further into the season we got, the worse some of our scores became. The weather wasn't helping though, as it was very difficult to throw a frisbee with gail force winds blowing. Often frisbees landed in the lake, rolled down hills and Thomas did have to wade out into the lake a few times to retrieve frustratingly wobbly throws. Our favorite spot was after the ninth hole perfect for a mid round rest, you could just step out of the trees and it was like you were standing in the most remote corner of the country. Looking up Lake Wakatipu in two directions, flanked by jagged untouced snow and tussock covered mountains, with wind clouds and sunsets, how could anywhere be more beautiful. It was a romantic spot too, appropriately chosen by Thomas for a surprise gift, a beautiful New Zealand necklace.

Thomas showing off his frisbee skills 
Feeeling the heartbeat of the lake
Taking after Uncle Thomas
At the end of August, we had a Deverson family reunion of sorts in Queenstown for Thomas' sister Charlotte's 30th birthday. A whole flock of Deversons arrived from all over and never had all of us ever been together. Such calamities and good times it was. Thomas and I were stoked to babysit Elliott one night, and we loved every minute that we got to spend with him. He is the most intelligent two year old and we loved talking to him and playing with him. All together, we spent time in Queensown itself and even visitied historic Arrowtown. The highlight had to have been watching Thomas' mum bungy jump. What a lady, she didn't even hesitate! 

Living in Australia for the first two years of his life, Elliott had never seen snow, so the whole family headed up Coronet Peak and let Elliott play in the snow! We made snowballs, a little snowman, and he even got him strapped into a snowboard. No doubt he will follow in his crazy Uncle Thomas' footsteps in the future, hitting 20 meter jumps and cliff drops like a pro!

Thomas and Elliott from Coronet Peak with the Remarkables Ski Field in the background

Just walking through town you might not know what you were going to stumble across. Often a cash strapped backpacker would be busking or occasionally a dude with a piano on wheels would be sitting right at the lake playing music almost as beautiful as the scenery surrounding us. One day we stopped and watched as they filmed the TV show 'Jono and Ben at Ten' right on the shore of the lake. Some days there would be slacklines strung up between trees, with friendly travelers and locals walking or attempting to walk the tightrope, or even doing tricks! 

Thomas trying to walk the slackline 

Thomas at Sunshine Bay

John and Thomas paddled across the lake to Kelvin Heights one sunny day in the canoe that came with our cabin, and played golf on other days. And after fine weather Thomas also snuck in some downhill mountain biking from the top of the gondola. We walked the tracks along the lakeshore to Frankton and out to Sunshine Bay, but to be honest we didn't need anymore exercise. It was the middle of winter, and we lived Queenstown up to the max, but hang on, we haven't even talked about snowboarding yet!

Devo Bros enjoying life