Something a tad remarkable...

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End Jul 09, 2011

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Where I stayed
The last resort hostel

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hello all,

After a wonderful nights sleep in comfy beds we grudgingly crawled out of bed super early to hop on our 7am bus out of Te Anau, onwards to queenstown...

I have to admit we were super sleepy so unfortunately i cannot give you an account of the wonderful scenery we passed through...however when i did open my eyes - wow!! there we were pulling into the most amazing place, the lake was so blue, the mountains sprinkled with snow and nestled at the foot of them a bustling little city.  The Remarkables are the mountain range that rises up steeply on the opposite side of the lake, they provide what we hear is an awesome ski range over the winter and the whole bustling town and nearby villages have a true alpine feel.

Arriving at about 10am on thursday we went straight to our hostel a little stream ran through the front as we pottered up the steps and opened the door and was greeted by a huge husky dog!!! well later i learnt she (named coco) was actually an alaskan malamute, she made sure everyone was ok and guarded the place. just had to remember to walk around with our eyes fully open in the morning to step over a huge sleeping dog where ever she had chosen to lie down!  Too early to check in we dropped our bags and headed off to explore the town.

It was so full of life! we had heard many rumours before we came here and it was most certainly bustling, busy, full of people from countries all over the world, mostly young people and huge posters and shops promising you you were about to jump off cliffs, fly down rapids etc, after all this is the self proclaimed adventure capital of the world!

We popped in and out of outdoor shops (of course - a massive addiction for us now!) bumped into the couple from the milford track!! small world! before stumbling on an amazing place..the remarkalbles sweet fudge much as you liked!!!! the most flavours of fudge i have ever seen! from creme brulee to passionfruit, cookie crumble to kiwi fruit, i wanted to try everything and the guy cutting the samples really wanted us to try everything! i felt so bad, like i should buy something and he just persuading us to try more and more samples "you may as well its all free" he kept saying in his lovely french accent... dam our english politness...we eventually bought two bars of fudge as i felt i couldnt keep trying without buying! haha! oh but it was so good! milling around more shops we ended up at the lakefront, i just had to keep pinching myself with the views, here we were eating fudge in a town at the bottom of the earth and surrounded by the most beautiful places known to man...

Heading back to the hostel we happened upon a very ornate indian restuarant with a lunch menu for a price to low to resist (beautiful curry on a balcony with a wonderful view) before heading back to the hostel and spending the afternoon meeting lovely friendly people, watching films with them and giving our poor aching muscles time to repair from the track...before we headed out to see for ourselves what the party extreme town of new zealand can offer! we headed to numerous bars, one Irish, the one we finished in even had dancing on the bar.  We had loads of fun and giggles, the most nightlife we have seen so far in new zealand!

Friday we had booked to hire a car and this was massive geek day...we were on a self imposed lord of the ring tour! driving up out of the town we headed up into the mountains with the lake on our left and it was just so beautiful, i realise i have a very limited vocabulary im saying beautiful/wonderful all the time but it just was truely spectacular! we didnt get far very fast as we were constantly pulling over (they have created many laybys and many people were doing the same) just to soak up the views, you physically cant drive past them.  We found the areas where frodo and sam peered over the cliff and first saw the oliphaunts and the filming of all of ithilian was done there too, before heading up into the little mountain townships of glenorchy and navigating the gravel roads towards paradise town where the huge flat area of land was used to create isengard - digitally mastered ontop of this - incredible. The mountains and views, farm lands and lakes you just do not get tired of, was rather interesting persuading our little hire car to navigate the gravel roads, the shuddering got a tad ridiculous!! bless it. The last place we headed was arrowtown, a beautiful old gold mining town, all the old miners cottages have been restored and the sweetest homely feel surrounds the village, a river runs along one side (where several scenes of the films were shot!) and cafes, shops and taverns fill the place with atomosphere in their little wooden lodgings. beautiful.

Saturday morning we got up thinking we were going to have a lovely day, walking around seeing the sights, soaking up the town...little did we know both of us would be diving of huge heights that afternoon! In the morning we found a little internet place with good skype technology so it was lovely to call home and see my family and properly catch up, we then wandered across to ferg burger. Now think how big the brand name ben and jerrys is in the uk...ferg burger is like that here, you ask people whats the best thing to do in queenstown..always in the top 3 things anyone says is have a ferg burger..there are queues outside at all hours.  So we pottered along, looked at the MASSIVE list of options, i had no idea you could have so many kinds of burger. all different meats and so many dressings, sauces extras... well not being able to choose we went for the classic ferg burger, you queue, pay, give your name then wait (we were lucky to get a bar seat - its a bar too!) 10mins later "pippa" was called out and thee biggest packages came our way. we peeled the wrapping and it was amazing, wondering how to eat it, the meat the sauces the salad, just fantastic, fresh fresh fresh and tastey, not like any burger I've had before!

Recovering from the big eat we slouched around town and ended up walking into one of the extreme sports booking office...not sure it was the most sensible thing after lunch but before long i had shakely entered my pin and that was that, i had bought a hangliding experience, steve - a bungy jump...what were we doing i asked steve!! haha! both slightly terrified of heights we knew we just had to do it! mine wasnt for a couple of hours so i went back to the hostel to distract myself with washing machines and books while steve headed up the gondala to the top of queenstown hill...i will let the photo do the talking but suffice to say i was soon meeting a very wide eyed buzzing steve who was on such a high and telling me every little detail and proudly showing his photos and video...totally mad! he chose to do the ledge bungy which looks out over a massive height and you are tied at your waist - not your ankles, means you can do more stunts and a run up as opposed to having to hop to the ledge and then jump off when you can see the height! he decided he needed to run and jump so he couldnt dither at the top and chicken out...crazy man!

Before long i was waiting at the pickup point, a girl named annie was also doing it and a van pulled up with really long things attached to the roof.  2 men and a lady inside were really friendly and we all had a good laugh as we drove out to a nearby mountain and started to wind up the road to the top.  trying not to think about the massive drop on one side of the road that was getting bigger and bigger, the others began to laugh at my nervous talking and i could feel my palms getting sweaty. we stopped on what felt like the top of the world, the valley was spread out beneath us, a long way beneath us, forests and farmland, the remarkables on the otherside, queenstown in the distance. The men started to set up the gliders and the lady got us into our cool jumpsuits and harnesses and helmets..we took photos and i just couldnt believe what was about to happen! before i could think through anything one of the guys said right pip do you want to come with me, i dont think i managed an answer before he laughed at my nervous face and said right lets get on with it.  We showed me where to hold onto him, his hip and shoulder, and we practised the run across the carpark holding on like that.  He said "right all im asking you to do is something you know how to do, you've done for years...lets just take a run, thats all you need to think about, you just cant stop running, after that whether you or I like it or not physics will take over, it just will you cant stop it.." bless him he was amazing. before i could think it through he lifted the HUGE glider to the edge, all around were other people in different groups for paragliding (parachutes) and behind me was annie getting ready for her jump. they clicked my harness into place, we lay down as they showed me how we were suspended underneath it, me just diagonally to the side above him a few centimeters above the ground, right time to get up then he looks at me and says are you ready to go... we're running down there i asked?? yup was the answer (he had said it was a little slope we were running off - liar!! it was down a steep mountain side!!!!!) pip i need you to say your ready...ermm yep...right...i swear i can have only run a couple of steps before my feet werent touching the floor and the wings took over, i felt the rush, the solid stability they gave and then the silence of the air, we were up! completely forgetting to be scared i was just so overwhelmed ...i then needed to unhook the pole over my arm and get my feet into it then it felt like we were really flying..he then told me that thats the hardest scariest take off they do because of the steepness! haha!

Flying over the valley i was just getting used to it when he asked if i wanted to play...a quick squeak he took as a yes and he turned us up to the sky before plumeting down and banking around up and down, speeding round corners and at other points feeling like we were suspended in the air not tummy moved to my head my finger tips and toes, it was incredible, the sudden rush of air, a quick blinding of the sun as we tumbled and flew around the valley...unbelievable!!! too soon the field came into view and we were whisking across the top of it skimming through the daisys before sliding to a stop, he presented me with a flower he picked at the end and we finished with a hug, wow.  Before long annie came down screaming on everycorner (funny that she was the one totally calm beforehand!) totally bizzare to watch their tricks and turns and speed and landing knowing i had just done that!!!!

We spent the evening watching eachothers dvds not quite believeing what we had just done we were buzzing!!!

Next morning early bus to next place =) queenstown is beautiful, bustling, crazy, partying and touristy, i had such a fab time but was ready to move on and breathe!

Lots of love to everyone xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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