Trip Start Jan 22, 2008
101Trip End Sep 30, 2008
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Friday morning brought heavy rain and emotions were mixed in our slumber filled room when it was announced that our glacier hike would go ahead after all. Once up at the 350 metre deep glacier, we were all pleased that the hike had got the nod, although it literally rained from start to finish during our nearly eight hour hike. The existence of the glacier in a fairly temperate environment will remain a complete mystery to me until my dying day and I refuse to believe that it is not a creation of the Kiwi tourist board. There were only there falls in our advanced group throughout the day - predictably one was provided by Darren and two by yours truly, the second as I tried to describe the first to Darren and instead rolled past him as my crampons gripped into the ice but my momentum carried me irreversibly forwards
The post glacier hot tub was as huge and welcome a contrast as I could have dreamed of and the session in the hostel bar rounded off a career day, with NT finishing the night shirtless at 3 am having got a little carried away on the bargain wine offers.
Yesterday took our Kiwi bus down to the picturesque Wanaka (I'm pretty sure that's what a few people were calling me after I decided to dye my hair bright red on arrival). I managed a run up Mount Iron, which offered majestic panoramic views for miles around the stunning recently glacial region
The previous couple of days activities had caught up on us and we hit the sack early last night in our Shining-esque hillside retreat - a move for which we were all grateful this morning. Today started with Puzzle World - "The World Leader in Puzzling Eccentricity" (surely a fairly dubious claim to fame) - just outside Wanaka. It was actually a really amusing experience, especially the 'Great Maze', where the male competitive spirit was in full effect and James won courtesy of cheating (quite a low thing to do in a maze) whilst Darren and I barely managed to find our way out in time for the departure of the bus.
Our coach brought us into the magnificent surrounds of Queenstown by 2pm, but only after two of the group had stopped to complete a 50 metre bungy jump. I had been fairly geared up to take the plunge myself until watching them, and a video of the 'History of Bungy', both of which scared me to the point of shaking legs and sweaty palms, even on the safety of solid ground. We shall see...
We have already particiapted in one of Quennstown's alleged 600 activities however as we caught gondolas (cable cars) up a small mountain for some luging - effectively just plunging downhill at surprising pace in a primitive plastic go kart (already done in Singapore, but much more fun in race mode with several young testosterone pumped men). The racing was fierce and I was the second man to crash, spectacularly hitting the side wall and flipping off the track onto a grass verge, leaving my car cracked and driver-less on the track. Unfortunately, I landed on my glacier hip injury and my left hip is now swollen and purple and making walking quite difficult but it was all worthwhile (I think - I am sure that my reputation is now cemented as a thorough liability in any event).
Tonight promises to be eventful in Queenstown and who knows what tomorrow will bring???