Drive to Queenstown...

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 31, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, October 28, 2012

We woke up this morning to partly sunny skies which gave us hope that we would finally get to see some scenery. After breakfast with our hosts at the B&B we packed up and headed back to Wanaka as Gina wanted to try and get some more pictures by the lake. The views were much better though there was still a few low hanging clouds around getting in the way. After the pictures we decided to head out to the airport to go and do a scenic flight of the area. Luckily we could get in right away and after a short wait we met the people going with us and we were off. The views were spectacular all the way up as we flew over Lake Wanaka and the mountains around us. Once we hit 12000' the side door on the plane flung open and we were off. It seems that I forgot to mention we would not be returning to the ground in the airplane that brought us up. That's right it was more of a skydive scenic flight. It was awesome. The views were great, the free fall lasted about 45 seconds and the parachute ride was very pleasant. Being that it was our second time we both enjoyed it way more than the first one we did in Namibia as we knew what to expect. You still get butterflies sitting on the edge of the plane but you relax much quicker once you jump and can enjoy the fall and the scenery. We initially were thinking about doing a scenic helicopter flight instead but good thing we did the skydive as you still couldn't see the mountains in the distance. After a safe landing we headed off down the highway towards Queenstown. We stopped for lunch at Cromwell next to the raging whitewater of the Kawarau river. A perfectly good river to go sledging in so that is what we did. We met the group we were going with, got suited up in our wetsuits and off we went. Sledging is like whitewater rafting except you lie on a little sled with your legs in the water and steer by kicking with fins on. After some basic instructions and practice, we started off down the river. It was hard work kicking to try and line yourself up right. You could tell right away that most of the group was not having fun, I don't know if most though this was going to be a gentle float down the river but the brochure clearly says it is intense. It kind of took away from the experience as Gina and I had to exert a lot of energy to try and slow ourselves down to keep with the group and we didn't get to take the harder lines through the class III rapids. We finally made it to the end of the run and as luck would have it they drove us back up to where we started and we could go again. Five of the eight people who did the first run dropped out so on the second run there was just Gina, me and one other girl which was great. Gina debated dropping out too as she was spent after the first run but got talked into it by one of the guides and she was very glad she went. Because the group was so small we didn't have to work as hard and we could hit the wild lines through the rapids. I was doing barrel rolls off the tops of some of the bigger one and trying to get air off some others. I really liked it. Gina was having fun too riding the whirlpools like a pro. The water was freezing when we first got in but with the wetsuits on we stayed warm throughout which made it that much more enjoyable. After drying off and getting change we continued our journey to Queenstown. We checked in to our motel and headed off for a walk in town. Queenstown is beautiful set on the side of a lake surrounded by snow capped mountains on all sides. It is like the Banff of New Zealand. The lighting was good as we walked into town so Gina was in a hurry to get some of the pictures she wanted. We walked to the main park in town as it is on a peninsula so she could get pictures from all angles. We then walked through town (which isn't very big) looking for somewhere to eat. We went to a South African BBQ restaurant. Gina had the lamb chop which she said were delicious while I had the mixed grill. My supper had beef ribs, lamb shanks, a sirloin steak and borewors (sausage). Just to be healthy there was three baby potatoes on the side and a few chives across the top. To drink, Windhoek lager, the same beer we lived on in South Africa and Namibia. Needless to say I was full after finishing everything and the meat sweats we not long to follow. After supper we wondered around some more checking out some of the shops that were still open before heading back to our hotel.

Since we had so much fun lugging in Rotorua we are planning on going here in the morning since we heard that the track here is both longer and faster. After that jetboating and hurling ourselves off a perfectly good cliff on the world highest swing.
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