We arrived in Queenstown, the centre for extreme sports and activities in NZ and home of the Bungy jump! We booked in to a massive campsite right in town and had a look at our options. Just down the road was the Kawarau Bride, the site of the first commercial bungy jump founded by AJ Hackett in 1987.
We couldn't resist a look at the mad people throwning themselves from the bridge and actually spent two hours watching. It was fascinating and by the end we had convinced ourselves that we couldn't leave NZ without giving it a go. We booked a jump for 10.30am the next morning GULP!
After a sleepless night we arrived back at the bridge and before we knew it we had our legs tied and we were shuffling our way onto the ledge. We both felt quite calm, resigned to the fact that we were about to leap 43 meters. We had talked about going on the first count... not to delay the agony! Then came the count 5,4,3,2.... and the words "I don't think I can do it..". I am sorry Steve said, remembering that he was terrified of heights. After a few calm words from the jump team we were ready to go...it wasn't graceful but hey we did it and we have evidence on DVD!!!!!!!
Lucy is sure that she blanked out on the jump and came round again when the rope was bouncing, which was the fun bit. The sense of achievement after was immence, we talked about it all day and we haven't stopped smiling since....but that doesn't mean we would do it again!
On our last morning in Queenstown we went to see the Rugby Seven's. A national tournament involving New Zealand's top 16 teams. It was great to see the Hakka perforned at the opening ceremony by all the players. We took a picnic and watched about 3 hours of rugby but had to drag ourselves away to continue our travels in the South.
We drove down to Te Anau and then onto Milford Sound the next morning. Everyone had said that Milford is a must see destination, and it is one of the most visited places in NZ. The weather there was misty and wet, which is apparently usual for the area, they get at least 6meters of rain a year! We had booked a two hour cruise through the fiord (a valley created by a glacier, filled with sea water). We got to see seals on the rocks and a pod of dolphins swimming around the boat.Milford Sound was impressive but no more impressive than other places we had visited, a little bit of an anti climax as we had travelled so far out of our way to get there.
We travelled back up through Queenstown and through the Kawarau valley, where there are lots of vine yards and wineries. We stopped when we saw a Cheesery and Winery together..what a winning combination!!
Our last activity planned in NZ was the Otago Rail Trail, a former railway line between Clyde and Middlemarch that had been converted by the Department of Conservation into a 150km rail trail for bikes and walkers. We loved the experince and felt that on our bikes we got to see the real rural NZ, away from the tourist areas. We did the trail over three days, covering roughly 50km a day, stopping on the way for lunch, to see the scenery and to stamp our rail trail passport at the old stations along the way. We had decided to treat ourselves to a bed after breaking our record of seven consecutive nights in the tent! Our first nights accommodation was in a tiny township called Lauder at the old school house...Steve felt very at home staying in the 'Detention Shed'. Our hosts Nikki and Ralph were lovely who told us all about the local area and even gave us a lift to the local pub in Becks where Gary the local landlord was very chatty, even ferrying us home at the end of the evening.
The second nighth we stayed at an Art Deco Hotel in Ranfurly, a slightly larger township on the trail. After a basket meal, a pint and a hot spa we had an early night with very sore bottoms! The last day of the trail was overcast which was a relief from the previous two days when we were cycling in 90 degree heat. We covered over 60km to arrive at the end of the trail in Middlemarch. We felt proud of ourselves, it had been a very relaxed but challenging few days.
Last few days in New Zealand....on up to Kaikoura for a fishing trip and whale watching and back down to Christchurch to catch our flight to Bali.