As I sit here on this bench with my legs burning, sun–drenched, in black jeans, it’s impossible to think of this picturesque surrounding as anything less than extraordinary.
I hear the playful chirps of birds, water lapping against the shore from the gentle breeze, an occasional aircraft, and the intermittent sounds of construction off in the distance (an indication this place is always attempting to improve). I see people pedalling along gravel trails, luscious green flora, and expansive snow-capped moutains in the not-too-far distance.
It’s peaceful and idyllic here. If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘Yes, I know, I’ve been to Aspen,’ you might be surprised to learn I’m writing from another place in the world entirely.
I’m currently sitting on the Kelvin Penninsula, looking out over Lake Wakatipu, with both Frankton and Queenstown, New Zealand in view.
This place is clean, healthy and active. If I didn’t know better I’d think someone just dropped a huge lake in the Roaring Fork Valley and called it a day.
This is my first time off the North American Continent. It was an attempt to experience something different, although in that respect I may have failed entirely. Aside from the accents, a larger Asian influence, and the use of kilometers and centograde, not much is terribly different here. Not that I’m complaining, there’s a reason I live in what I consider to be paradise in the States. I wouldn’t consider visiting another paradise a bad thing.
That’s not to say Queenstown doesn’t have its issues. It was only a matter of time before the world caught wind of this barely accessible gem nestled in one of only two mountain ranges in the world situated North to South vs East to West (the other being,…you guessed it, the Rockies).
This wonderful outdoor playground is also facing maximum capacity, while just now beginning to understand its potential as a
destination resort. This realization is driving up housing and living costs, an issue all too familiar to those of us eking out an envious lifestyle in the postcard-worthy remains of Ute City.
For those that want to visit Aspen before all the millionaires get displaced by the billionaires, I suggest making your way to Te Wai Pounamu (Maori for, ‘Waters of Greenstone,’ New Zealands South Island) sooner rather than later, as it might be too late for the Silver City.
There was one other thing that initially impressed me about New Zealand. Their driverless technology is far superior and ubiquitous. I rarely see anyone sitting in the left-hand seat of cars here!
Josh Ganz, AVSC Devo Two Head Coach, & Freelance Writer, Photographer, and Videographer. After 10 years in the Roaring Fork Valley, some might not consider him a local, but he considers it home. He still has a lust for travel and adventure which has resulted in spending some quality time in Queenstown, getting to know and experience the local culture and flavor.