Stuck in the moment & I can't get out of it!
Trip Start Nov 14, 2008
18Trip End Mar 10, 2009
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Monday 15th December
Today was the original bungy day - however the weather the first half of the week isn't predicted to be great so bungy is off until Thursday at the earliest!
Quality bag shuffling this morning from one of the Japanese girls in the room. Last night she emptied her entire rucsac & repacked it, this morning she did the same thing again - Jackie could have a contester to take her shuffling crown! She seemed to pack every single item in its own very noisy plastic bag & then put them all in a big plastic bag to which she spent forever squeezing the air out of it - thankfully she left today so there will not be a repeat of that ritual every 12 hours! Jackie took the opportunity though to steal her bed so she didn't have to perform weird gymnastics getting up & down from the top bunk.
Had a word with the friendly staff at the YHA to book the first of todays activities - Jetboating! Cost was $109 each & thanks to being YHA members we get a free photo each as well. Made our way into town where Jackie ate herself round Queenstown - first ice cream, then pizza slice & finally a chip butty. Bus picked us up at 2pm and together with a bunch of guys who had done the bungy that morning we set off. Said chaps who had bungyed were dressed in Aussie rules strips & were quite frankly all idiots - that's the polite version - hopefully they were not going to be on our boat as I think at least one of them would have hit canyon wall with a little help from moi!
Hooray - the idiots aren't on our boat! Had to get decked out in a black cape which was a cross between Darth Vadar & a hairdressers cape - yes braw! Add on top the obligatory bright red life jacket & you have one hell of a fashion statement! Got ourselves into the boat - we were at the back. The way the have set up the boats is that they are on a wee slope so everyone has a good view of what is coming up ahead. Our guide was a chap whose name I thought was Kelt - some strange NZ name I thought until I found out that was in fact his surname - the first name of Alexander being not nearly as unusual! We spent the next half our whizzing up and down the shotover river - getting very close to the canyon walls & doing 360spins. It was good fun but not nearly as exciting as I had thought it would be. For the second time in as many days we had a dull group - perhaps if we had been on with the idiots it would have been a better laugh & perhaps even the driver could have been persuaded to go a bit faster!
Decided to be a bit stupid on the photos seeing as we were getting a free copy. These can be viewed at www.shotoverjet.co.nz go to daily photos and enter in these codes: SHJT812151406293 and SHJT812151406294
Girl in the shop was amused when she asked us what we were doing next replied "going for a beer" well it was beer O'clock!! Had another type of Montieths in the cafe - this was their original lager & was a fine as the rest of the range. Also ordered a Scone which the girl behind the counter persuaded me to get as they were just freshly baked - needless to say her memory did the same as so many people over here in NZ does & returns to goldfish, so 15 minutes later I had to go and ask again for my scone - their memories over here are terrible!
Got the return bus back into town & decided to take the Gondola trip. $29 bought a return trip including a shot on the luge. Cost for the return by itself is $22. They also had a dinner deal which was $75 for a 3 course meal, gondola & drinks which I thought was a pretty good deal & one we might do later in the week. Midway up the gondola an air raid siren went off which was very amusing. Views from the top are really stunning - although you really could be looking over any Scottish mountainside. Had a very nice hot chocolate admiring the views & then went to do the luge. Had to get ourselves on a chairlift to take us up to the start of the luge track - Jackie's first time on a chairlift & I must say really odd being on one with having skis attached to your feet, or having to control poles. Unfortunately the luge was overrun with an annoying party of immature Spanish twenty year old who would stop suddenly on the track & then cut you up on corners - there are times when a semi automatic would be an nice accessory!!!
Back down the Gondola & feeling a bit tired from the afternoon lager we decided that the only way to overcome this was to have more alcohol! There is an ice bar here called Minus 5, so we had a wander along & signed ourselves up for the 6pm slot. $27 bought you access into the bar for half an hour & a vodka cocktail. The staff were downright miserable and rude & really if you cant get on with people then don't work in a public facing job! The barman was a nice chap though & made up a mean frozen Kiwi which consisted of Midori, kiwi vodka and apple juice all served up in an ice glass. The place was at around -7 when we got in there & I thought quite refreshing, they should have had it all decorated in Xmas decorations & playing Slade in the background though - that would have made us northern hemisphere people feel a bit more Christmas! Quite fancied another cocktail but as the hands were starting to freeze off we decided to move next door to the warm cosy boiler room. The barman in there made me up the same cocktail but used fresh kiwi along side the kiwi vodka. Was amusing listening the bar staff talk about their staff night out - our chap had a complete memory blank from around midnight & was told that at around 3am he was last seen going off to email his mum!
Had dinner at Winnie's - thankfully no dragonflies this time! Didn't want to go home so had a wander around the town looking for a suitable hostelry and not finding what we wanted opted for Pog Mahones. Yet again one pint turned into around five! Had a very entertaining evening sitting beside 2 Israeli boys. The younger of the 2 Ben (21) had been in the army & fought on he Gazza strip, he spent a good deal of the evening recording videos to his girlfriend back home. His pal found all this highly amusing & put this down to his immaturity - rich from a 23 year old! Both of them told us that there are a lot of scare stories about Jerusalem and that the place is safe to go to.
Tuesday 16th December
Due to the mucho alcohol we didn't get up until midday.
Pouring with rain outside which is apparently the forecast tomorrow as well - great!
Booked the Bungy! AAAAHHHHH! 11am on Thursday is the time of doom, so 10pm Wednesday night for you UK people.
2 Days until Bungy!
Today we just pfaffed around town; had breakfast tin Aspire - very nice, then off to do some shopping in the supermarket. Bought myself an Icebreaker top & then back home. Decided an evening mountain biking might be nice so wandered back into town; unfortunately we would need to do a half day hire which wasn't really good value. Wednesday will be biking day instead. Had a walk up to the yoga centre on industrial lane which is off gorge road at the end of Shotover street. They do Bikram yoga so am going to go to my first 40C yoga session tomorrow night. Nice wee place and no appointments are required. The woman who does the Bikram yoga has been thinking of starting up a bikram business in the UK and has settled on either Glasgow, Edinburgh or Ireland somewhere. May have persuaded her she wants to come to Glasgow!
Back at the hostel now - very busy tonight. Had tea here - with Jackie managing to explode her tin of beans on herself. Jackie has just come back from the big computers wittering on about Milford sound & me not getting my facts straight about getting up on the last day. I'm also having to endure her brushing the dried in bean juice form her hair bedside me - boakarama!
Wednesday 17th December
1 day until Bungy!
Up this morning to grumpy Jackie who had been woken at 4am by some rather inconsiderate Germans who thought that chatting loudly, texting & eating biscuits was acceptable behaviour for that hour! Needless to say I didn't hear anything. I did wonder though why Jackie was talking about space invaders & towels - all became clear when she explained that one of the girls had put her towel over mine when there was no need & lots of space elsewhere. So Jack grumped all morning until she worked it out of her system. Had a skype chat with the parents - nice sunny day (not forecast) so could show them the views out over the lake & the Remarkables mountain range in the background.
Back up in the room getting ready to go biking (noisy German have moved out thankfully!) and some tiny kittens plus 1year old mum appeared just outside the bedroom window. They scarpered as soon as Jackie went out to say hello, but soon reappeared when she came back in. Really tiny wee things & dead cute. Breakfast for them was half a banana that mum had found so needless to say our task until we leave is to feed them some tuna! (update - have bought a couple of tins from the supermarket!)
Had lunch in Vudu a fabulous café on Shotover street. Lots of nice choices & café that could possibly challenge the Fat Dog up in Rotorua. Had a very pleasant toastie & took a couple of cakes out for the trip.
Hired our bikes in outdoor store on Shotover street; $60 for half a day for both bikes. Bikes are pretty decent as well - brand new specialised with disk brakes.
After a bit of navigation trial & error we ended up on the right track - a nice gentle lake side track that passed by some really rather nice houses. Crossed the river and ended up on a narrow track often having to cycle through long grass/bushes etc. Path was good but due to lack of practice had to get off & push the bikes on some technical bits.
Just typing this up before we head off to a Bikram yoga class - well looking forward to this although I don't think I will be particularly flexible!
Back from yoga & I really enjoyed it, it was really hard work though & I don't think I have sweated so much in my life! Jackie wasn't so keen but I think I might try & get to another class before we head off to Sydney.
By the time I write my next entry I will have conquered the Bungy!
Thursday 18th December
Just uploading my photos in bed before getting dressed for the big jump. Very nice German girl in here (who is reminding me of Corina!) is amazed that you can bungy off the bridge & get dunked in the water - how someone who is in Queenstown didn't know this I think is amazing, but then if you're not looking at all the adrenaline madness here then I guess you may not know the full details of each activity!
Before I sign off to get dressed I must put down into words the extreme shuffling that went on this morning at 5.30am FOR AN HOUR!!! I had my 32Db earplugs in and could still hear it! There must be something with the Japanese culture that means they feel this inner need to pack each individual item in its own sandwich bag (of the very noisy variety) and then get up at a stupid hour (when on holiday come on??!!!) to take all the bags out of their bigger bags and examine each of the contents before putting them back into the original bags. This woman this morning was on old Japanese woman who must have spent at least 10 years of her life doing this. Please don't let us have another contender for this hour long shuffling record! What is Japan going to be like aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!
Completed at 11am this morning & how utterly brilliant fun was it?! Well it was once I'd left the platform as to be honest the platform is awful! Really felt quite sick as the jump master told me to scoot forward to the "AJ" sign on the wood right at the edge - thankfully he was holding onto my harness so I wasn't going to faint off the platform! In the end he told me to look straight forward & keep moving forward until he said stop - so that's what I did! Then came the infamous on the count of 5,4,3,2,1..... and off I went in a perfect dive into thin air & towards a river gorge 43 meters below- utterly brilliant! Even managed a Danjeroooouuuuussssss on the way down! You don't feel the bounce back at all on the joints & bouncing around was fabulous fun - was quite disappointed to be pulled into the rescue boat below I could have swung around all day! Did manage to touch the water - just, so all ambitions DONE to quote Mr Ramsey!
Had to climb back up the stairs to get up to Jackie & the rest of the crowd - bit tiring after yesterdays biking but I think I grinned like an idiot the whole way up! Bit of a bonus is that a couple who we had been talking to before I went off on my walk of doom to the platform had taken a whole set of photos. He is a professional photographer & was using a nice wide angle lens to fit in the entire bridge. He's going to email them to me when he gets back to the UK in 3 weeks time so I look forward to them. Obviously had to purchase the video/photopack & a whole load of souvenirs so all in all have spent a small fortune on what was really 30seconds of swinging around! Have just tried to look at the photos online & they aren't on yet however the codes are: www.bungy.co.nz Kawarau Bridge, then codes, AJHK812181096106, AJHK812181096107, AJHK812181096108.
I think the first photo sums up my feelings quite nicely- Jackie said I looked really scared from the viewing platform!
Oh, how could I forget! In a fit of madness & stupidity I decided that the pen/crest/lip gloss would also bungy so they were taped to my wrist for the whole experience - they got fully dunked! Was quite tempted to do another bungy but decided to save the cash. Only $60 for each other bungy that day. I do however have 20%off any bungy for the rest of my life!
Hung around for a while and watched other fellow jumpers. I think I was the only person out of the folks I saw to hit the water, I also seemed to be the only person who dived off the platform, most people seemed to stumble or jump off - that cant have been good when the bungy chord needed to flip you over! Very amusing was an 8 year old chinese boy whose 21year old sister was jumping, he was too young to jump. When she stood on the platform he just kep shouting "thats my sister, thats my sister" to everyone! As we were leaving the KIWI Experience bus pulled in & loads of young folks got off to do their jump. Cheers after cheers as they all did their jumps - quite cool. At the top of the stairs there was a video of live footage & this poor girl was on the platform crying her eyes out she was so scared, she stepped/stumbled/fell backwards saying she wasn't going to do it which was a shame as the platform is the scariest bit. As we got to the car an enormous cheer went up & she had obviously gone for it - good girl I think she deserved something from AJ Hackett just for conquering that fear - amazing!
Now back at the ranch - I'm about to go to Glen Orchy for a walk - apparently loads of Lord of the Rings stuff was filmed there - Jackie has had such a tiring day that she is having a sleep!
OK back from Glen Orchy - short trip as the petrol light came on half way along the road which seeing as I left on a quarter tank was disturbing. Drove on to Glen Orchy only to discover the only petrol station was closed so had a nervous drive all of 47Km back to Queenstown where I almost kissed the petrol pump! So didn't do a walk & only managed to take a couple of photos - so productive! Have to admit though that coming out of the forest & rounding a corner to Lord of the Rings view was pretty spectacular, I think this view down the lake is the classic of some baddies tower than was digitally put in here. Not a LOTR saddo so no idea what the baddy was called or indeed what his tower was called - no doubt Boyle will fill in those details!!!
Had our first night out for a while last night & stumbled upon all the office christmas parties - everyone dressed in their summer best with tinsel - all very weird! The band were very good in the Pig & Whistle & for the first time since arriving in NZ heard music from this century! Was amazed that this particular bar sold Tennants lager as well - although stuck to the Montheiths Pilsner as I'm guessing I wont see much more of that very fine lager! Today we took our lovely bluebird back - she has been a great car & aside from the howffing boot I think we got a great deal. In total we did 2980Km and spent only £120 on petrol! Car hire cost including top level insurance was £380 for 24 days through Jucy car hire www.jucy.co.nz. This also included the ferry crossing so all in all very cost effective.