We Three Queens (?!)

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Where I stayed
Aspen Lodge

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, August 13, 2009

On the way to Queenstown, Philipp decided to hitch to Wanaka from Cromwell, a town about 50 km from Queenstown, because there was a snowboarding festival going on. I liked Philipp all right, but I can't say I was sorry to see him go. On top of there simply being more much-needed room in the car, he was the one who made most of the suggestions that ended up being, in my opinion, a waste of time, like the peninsula. Before he left I had decided I was going to break off from the group after Queenstown, but when he left I decided to stick it out a little while longer.

Queenstown was pretty great. It was a fairly small mountain town that was full of people since it was the height of the ski season. It reminded me of Gattlinberg, Tennessee, and had all sorts of adrenaline activities to do. We started with luging on the first full day we were there.

To get to the luge area, we took a gondola to the top of a mountain; it afforded great views of Queenstown and the surrounding areas. We were then able to take a chair lift from the bottom of the luge course to the top. Luging involved piloting little platic sled-like things down the side of a mountain around steep curves. We bought the pass that let us do five runs and set off. It was great fun, and I won two of our unofficial races down, Dom won two and Sebastian, only one (and barely at that). I also crashed off the course into a fence, but wasn't hurt (although that was one of the ones Dom won). Afterward we took the gondola back down.

The next day we did the other big activity we chose to do in Queenstown: the Shotover Canyon Swing. This was brilliant. It combines bungee jumping and what it sounds like, a ridiculously huge swing. You get harnessed up and then fall/jump/tumble off the platform into a 60 meter free fall, then instead of slowing down and bouncing up like in a bungee jump, you actually accelerate into a 200 meter swing, going more than 150 km/hr at the fastest point. I chose to do a backflip off first, which was really fun but didn't really let me see much on the way down. Sebastian and I chose to do another jump, and as one of the conditions of going again is that you have to do something different (although I would have anyway), I chose "Gimp Boy Goes to Hollywood." I was hooked into the harness and let out into the air where I leaned backwards and hooked my feet around the rope above me. I dangled straight upside down, and they dropped me. It was an amazing feeling to shoot straight at the ground head first. I loved it.

A side note: Dom bought photos and Sebastian bought a DVD of his jump, but I didn't buy anything because it was so expensive. However, when Sebastian checked his DVD, it was Dom's jump on it, not his. They redid the DVD for him and let him keep the other as well, which he of course gave to Dom. Is that fair? Why couldn't it have been my jump? Oh well.
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