Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Days 9-11: Queenstown to Wanaka

On Sunday, we decided to get our butts in gear and start planning for the fundraiser we were to do in Queenstown.  We went around to the local businesses, asking for prize donations for a raffle.  We didn't have much luck because it being a Sunday, all of the managers were away and we were just told to come back on Monday.  So, we decided to do just that, and try out our luck at just sitting in the park and asking for donations. 

Juggling in the Park
The Queenstown crowd may not have been the best people to ask for donations.  It's very much a backpacker town and there are lots of people going around trying to get free stuff.  One couple even thought that we were just trying to make a few extra bucks while throwing out the name World Vision... I guess some people might do that, so good for them I told them, for asking questions and not just giving to anyone who says that the money goes to charity.  We tried a few different ways...juggling, shaking the container, singing, etc.  But in the end we only raised about $30 in the park. 

On the Monday we decided to combine with an event that was already going on and do the raffle there.  We found out about a live band playing at the World Bar, and when I went and met with Gary, the manager there, he was really excited about the idea was more than happy to have us do the raffle there.  So we went out looking for more prizes and we have to send a huge thank you to all of those who made their generous donations for the raffle prizes:
Beautiful Queenstown
The British Sweet Shop
The Remarkables Sweet Shop
Small Planet Outdoors Shop
United Video
Wine Tastes
We made up a beautiful prize with all of those donations, took it over to World Bar, and started selling raffle tickets.  We didn't think it would be very hard to sell a $2 raffle ticket to some people coming in to have some drinks, but it was actually quite a challenge!  It was easier selling a bag of nuts!  But we were still happy to be out and enjoying the great music by the band MOJO.  The band was not only very talented, but also really friendly and bought 10 raffle tickets!  They actally ended up winning the raffle, and generously offered to auction off the prize!  After the bidding, the winner was Gary, the manager of the bar!  So we want to give a huge THANK YOU to Gary, the World Bar, the staff there, and Mojo, for all your help and support, and for just making it an enjoyable evening!  We raised about $180 in Queenstown.

Starting up the Mountain!
The next morning, we were back on the road, headed to Wanaka.  There were 2 ways we could have gone.  We could have gone over the mountains (The Crown Range) or around in about double the kilometers.  We were recommended by our Couch Surfing hosts to go over, because although the other route is flatter, it is not flat.  So we figured if it was going to be a challenge anyways, we might as well make it a shorter challenge.  And a challenge it was!  There was about 20kms of straight uphill, with different inclines, but basically we were exhausted for about 3.5 hours, trying to make it up this mountain, biking as much as we could, but we did have to resort to walking it up a few times.  I now know why they call it a 'push bike' :)

Thanks Mark and Ella for the Avocados!
When we were almost to the top, a guy drove by and told me as he drove by that we were only halfway... I guess it was a joke, but I didn't know how far it was, so I was about ready to cry, and then the wind picked up, and then the rain started!  So we threw on the rain jackets, turned the corner and we were relieved to see a sign saying that it would be downhill for the next 4kms!!!  That was probably the best feeling of the day!  We didn't even mind the rain pelting our faces as we screamed for joy down the hill.  Then the rain stopped, the sun came out, and we had a nice downhill ride for the rest of the way until Wanaka. 

In Wanaka we stayed in a big Couch Surfing house, with lots of random people from all over, so we had a great time chatting and making new friends, and the didn't seem to mind how tired we were :)  We are looking forward to having a day of rest before heading off along the west coast on Thursday...

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