When Andy and I checked into the hostel in Queenstown on Christmas Eve, they told us they were having a barbeque for Christmas dinner at the beach the next day. It sounded like a fun way to celebrate the holiday while being social. It was also our first Christmas together, and enjoying the views of the water and the mountains of Queenstown with some food and a couple drinks sounded relaxing.
We weren’t expecting a ton of food, so we went to the store to buy some potato chips to go with our sausages. We also thought alcohol would be a nice compliment to a beach meal. However, when we went in the grocery store, we found out they did not sell alcohol on Christmas day. This seemed odd for a town and a country well known for their love of drinking. No big deal, we’d enjoy our meal and find a bar afterwards for a few drinks.
Once we got to the lake and found the grill, we secured our sausages and sat down to enjoy our classy Christmas dinner on the pebbly beach. We noticed quickly how much older we felt in comparison with all the other backpackers around us. They definitely knew about the alcohol situation ahead of time and came more than prepared. They were chasing each other around on the beach, throwing water on each other, throwing each other in the lake, wrestling each other to the ground, and passing out drunk on the beach hours before the sun went down.
Sausages and potato chips consumed, we headed into town in search of a few drinks. It turns out the bars were closed, so we had to find a restaurant. We enjoyed Hell’s Pizza the night before, so we went in there for drinks and ordered some fries. Success! Gin and tonic for Andy, and rum and coke for me, in cans. Andy went up to the counter to order our third round, but he was denied. The guy behind the counter told him, after having to check with his manager, that in order to serve us alcohol, we had to be eating. Technically the fries we ordered weren’t even enough, it had to be a full meal. Some rule about alcohol being served on Christmas must be accompanied by a meal. Strange.
Defeated, we returned to the lake to relax and watch the sunset over Queenstown. So, a piece of advice to any of you planning on traveling to New Zealand at Christmastime: buy your alcohol on Christmas Eve!