Wanaka and Queenstown

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
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11
15
Trip End May 10, 2008


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Where I stayed
The Purple Cow Backpackers

Flag of New Zealand  ,
Friday, March 21, 2008

So where did I leave off....

We left Franz Joseph and worked our way down the coastline.  With thick rainforest on the left and stunning ocean scenery on the right, the three hour drive was nothing short of breathtaking.  About half of the drive wound us through the mountains until we got to our destination, Wanaka.  This small city sits on a beautiful lake spotted with all sorts of recreational activities--skiing, wakeboarding, sailing, fishing.  We find our hostel right away, "The Purple Cow Backpackers".  The rooms are just as cool as the name.  Again we stay in a little cabin like room with its own kitchen and bathroom.  There are two bunk beds this time, and our only other "roomate" is a lovely English girl with an awesome name--Sarah  :)  She was on a round-the-world ticket and had just come from the states before New Zealand.  Soon she was heading on to Vietnam.  We've been so lucky so far to have shared rooms with such interesting and friendly people

There's not much to do in Wanaka, it's more of just a stopping point for us before we get to Queenstown, our main stop.  We took a drive around the city and chilled by the lake.  After seeing many tourists and backpackers fill the sidewalks during the day, we figure there might be a bit of a nightlife in town so we went out to have some drinks, only to find the place almost completely deserted.  Somehow, we still managed to have a good time.  (of course!) 

The next day we drove an hour and a half to Queenstown, considered New Zealand's adrenaline-activity capitol.  There are so many things to do here:  bungy-jumping, caving, rafting, sledging, jetboating, skiing, skydiving, hanggliding, luging, and more.  The scenery is amazing, Queenstown also sits next to a lake, Lake Wakatipu which is thousands of feet deep formed by the glaciers millions of years ago.  (sorry for the vague number estimates). 

All morning our stomachs have been turning (and no, it's not from the beer the night before, haha) we are preparing ourselves for the third largest bungy jump in the world at 440 feet!  We've scheduled a jump for later that afternoon.  The time comes and we hop on a bus for an hour ride out to the site.  We see the platform hanging on a cable out in the middle of this MASSIVE canyon with rocks and a wee little river hundreds of feet below it.  What are we THINKING?!!  In groups of 5 they take us out to the middle, about 20 of us in all.  One by one we get harnessed up and freak every time someone disappears over the ledge.  Everyone is coming up with smiling faces (the best part--they're coming back up).  We're getting really pumped up and nervous all at the same time.  One girl is practically bawling out of fear and sobbing uncontrollably--this is not helping.  Out of the two of us, I was the first to jump.  In two minutes I'm hooked up  "um, you wanna double check that?  maybe triple check it?" ....   I waddle my way to the edge, apologizing to the guy leading me for grasping onto his shorts.  He tells me not to look down, yeah right buddy, I would like to see the ground i'll be heaving myself towards, thankyou. 

Three...two...one...

I don't even give myself that extra second to look like a wus, on three I go and for 8.5 seconds freefall into thin air.  I can't describe what that feeling is like, but I've never felt that way before.  The rebound up was smooth and graceful, not a whiplash like you would think.  On the second bounce I pulled a cord and from there was flipped upright in a sitting position and was able to take in the majestic view of the valley and the river rushing below me.  It was such a high.  I would definitely do it again and again!  Stacie enjoyed her jump just as much as I did.  We have a good video of her jump, mine didn't really turn out.  The world's highest jump is located in China--bring it on!
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