Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Great Kiwi Road Trip - Day III

Queenstown --> Wanaka
131.0 km
20th December '07

By the time I woke up on Thursday morning I was thoroughly grateful for the early start we'd had to our trip. We'd already done about as much as you could do on a short stop. There was no time for a meaningful trek to anywhere. The para-sailing and hang gliding were pretty much variants of paragliding. The million other jet boat rides were only copies of Shotover Jet (which was apparently the first in the world to do this) and the cruises on the lake were just too tame.
But there was still that monstrous insanity. The Nevis bungy jump. 134m of free falling from a little station suspended over a bare trickle at the bottom of the canyon. There were other options too, the Kawaran Bridge, the original bungy jump, and the Ledge, over Queenstown. It wasn't just the free fall, (trust me, I have proof coming up) but the fact that for about 8 seconds, my life would not be in my hands, but in my feet :|.

John of course, had needed major persuasion for even the paragliding the previous day and had come screaming to us upon landing claiming that he'd nearly died :D. But Anu had been raring to go even before any of us had landed in New Zealand. Yes, it is safe to say that th guys chickened out and the chick went for it :-<. (If you think that was crazy, we met this American girl in Christchurch a few days later who'd jumped the Nevis, then figured she had to do it again! And actually did it again an hour later!!! Mad. There's no other word for it.) Oh well, so while Anu went off to get slung upside down on the end of a glorified rubber band, John and I had to entertain ourselves. We figured the car had been sitting on P for long enough and took it for a ride up to Coronet Peak. This time we actually took the time to see what had gone by in a blur the previous day. On the top there were even more spectacular views and on the way back we took a detour through Arrowtown, one of the centres of the Kiwi old rush. It didn't take long for us to start getting hyperventilating text messages from the Nevis :). I mean it's 8 seconds, how long can you spend trembling on the edge? Okay I'm just trying to sound jealous here. I must say i was actually quite surprised with myself for not feeling even the slightest bit of regret for not giving it a shot! But that obviously did nothing to stem the gloating :|.The plan was to head off to Wanaka further up north, on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka. While checking out of the YHA earlier, I'd noticed a rather eye-catching activity there. It was right up Anu's alley, and I was psyching myself up for it. There was only John left to convince.
We took off for Wanaka with everyone still on a high from the action packed Queenstown experience. The route we picked took us right through the Crown Range and I had a real tough time splitting my attention between the super tight curves of the road and the spectacular view (and drop) along the sides. (A somewhat near-offroad experience on day 1 had gotten me a ban on going shutter-buggy while at the wheel :-<.) Needless to say that once again, we stopped often. However, as soon as we were through the pass and back onto relatively straight roads, I noticed two heads lolling at eccentric angles, I was the only one awake :-<. It was tough, but I resisted the temptation of delivering a rude wake up swerve :P. Barely a half hour later, we were at Wanaka! The Mountain View Backpackers was pretty much at one end of town. But that still put everything within a 5 minute walk :). Yet another spectacular lake, and even more snow-capped mountains. But the first thing we did before heading out was check out in greater detail, Skydiving at Lake Wanaka! Unlike the Nevis, this is from a wee bit higher, at 15,000 feet. Yes, three zeroes is correct :D. And it gives you almost a full minute of free fall!!! We almost bulldozed John into agreement. But I guess by now, between paragliding, jet-boating and my driving, he was getting used to neat death experiences :P. That done, we set out for the lake, and once there, I could just not resist the temptation and jumped in for a quick swim. Again, not the brightest idea. No, not the swim, the jumping in. While you do get used to the cold, it is a better idea to go easy. Unfortunately, this particular piece of wisdom hit me with full force only while I lay in the water, half sinking. The intense temperature change had knocked the air out of me and was making it impossible to get any more of it back in as I temporarily lost the ability to breathe :|. All the drama went unnoticed apparently, but I did eventually recall how to swim, and thereafter had a fabulous time. The really good thing was that afterwards, once out of the water, I was feeling nice and warm while the other two spent a bulk of their time shivering. In their jackets :P.

(was) Feeling: tough /:)
Listening to: Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway

1 comment:

Anu said...

Gloating?!?!

And yes, it's great that we were shivering while you "felt nice and warm" after...

*shaking head in bemusement*