We got on the road faily early so that we could check out the glaciers on the way down to Queenstown. We stopped at both the Franz Josef (the largest in NZ) and the Fox and took a walk to the viewpoints. They were ok but nothing compared with the ones we had seen in Argentina.
We stopped for lunch in Wanaka which is a beautiful alpine town by the side of a lake and surrounded by snow capped mountains. The skies were blue and we had our lunch next to the lake.
We arrived in Queenstown mid afternoon and found a place to stay. We had a look around the town which is touted as the adrenalin capital of New Zealand. It is rather more built up than Wanaka, but still only 7000 people live there. It is situated next to a large lake and the 'Remarkables' mountain range tower behind. This is one of the best places to ski in NZ, but unfortunately this year had been a bad year for snow so we decided that skiing was out.
The next day we got up and did a bit of shopping in town. We asked about doing a skydive and were told that we could go at 2.30pm ! Nick had to have a weigh in as the official limit was 100kgs. Nick weighed in at 102kgs but they said this was fine. We headed over to the private airfield with some others and waited as the plane went up and people fell from the sky, 3 by 3 ! The nerves had definately started and it didnt help that we were the last group to go. Our turn came and we got in the small plane with a glass side door. The views were amazing as we started climbing. We had a guy with us who was training and he jumped at 4000 ft. We then carried on up to 12000 ft where we could see Mnt Cook. Monica was first to jump. You have to sit at the edge of the plane, legs dangling and look up. Then suddenly all you feel is the world tumbling around you for a couple of seconds. A small stabilizer parachute is released to slow you down from 240kph to 200kph ! The feeling of the freefall was amazing. In the freefall position we had about 50 seconds, taking in the sights, trying not to open our mouths (which was difficult because we kept smiling all the time !) and enjoying the feeling. The parachute was then pulled and we sailed down back to earth, doing a few twirls on the way !
It was an amazing experience and one that we would reccommend anyone to do. Scary at first but worth it !
The following day we did the jetboating which was good fun but nothing special. They take you in a jet boat down small rivers doing 360 degree turns. The jet boats can operate in as little as 10cm of water and go quite fast. We did a total of 43km over the lake and over to Shotover canyon.
After some more shopping we headed out to the Canyon swing. This is 109m high and is a freefall ending in a gentle swing across the canyon. Nick was up first and did a backward jump. The guys try to worry you all the time making jokes about the ropes not being secure which was a bit nerve racking. The hardest part is throwing yourself off the cliff ! Monica was fairly scared and when she jumped her legs and arms were flailing about all over the place !!!! once she realised that there was nothing she could do she relaxed though and enjoyed the ride ! We both did a backward jump and then a jump called 'Gimp boy goes to hollywood' where you hang upside down and then one of the guys lets you go and you fly towards the river below head first ! When Nick was hanging upsidedown they asked him if he was ready as they pulled the release. As Nick was going down all that was heard was 'Not noooowwwww' ! Everyone on the platform was laughing !
In the evening we treated ourselves to a meal out (bangers and mash !) and then met up with Jo and Leigh who we had met at Nikki and Kents. We had lots to drink and Nick and Leigh ruled the pool table for the night ! while the girls chatted in the corner.
Skydive with N-Zone - Expensive but boy was it worth it !
Shotover Canyon Swing - Like a bungee jump but without the up down up down after the initial freefall.
World bar - Good food for a cheaper price compared with other restaurants