The adrenalin capital of New Zealand

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Besides Queenstown's remarkable beauty it's also has enough adrenalin pumping activities to keep you busy for weeks. Needless to say they also all come at a price and doing them all would cost a small fortune. Some of these activities include bungy jumping (since it was invented in Queenstown), sky diving, jet boating, paragliding, canyoning, sailing, luge, canyon swings, mountain biking, helicopter flights to glaciers, and white water rafting. Since we'd both bungy jumped before we decided on the Shotover jet boat trip and the white water rafting.
The jet boat which only requires a few inches of water and skims across the river narrowly missing the canyon walls was great fun. The jet boat is powered by 2 massive turbo charged engines and apparently weighs close to 3 tons. I could not believe how responsive and nimble they were once they got going and were lucky enough due to some clever manoeuvring off the bus to get the front two seats. The ride was great fun and Inge-Marie had white knuckles throughout the ride as she clung on to the front hand rail. The ride got a lot more exciting when we found out mid way through the ride that a boat hit a rock the previous day which resulted in some shocked and bruised passengers.
The white water rafting promised a thrilling ride on the same river with grade 3 to 5 rapids. We were kitted up with two piece 5mm wetsuits, waterproof jackets, helmets and life vests and were expecting some raging rapids to warrant all this gear. The drive to the launching point was along a narrow, winding mountain top dirt road. At times this was quite scary was the bus driver who obviously does this trip every day wasn't sparing the horses getting down the hill. Once we arrived at the river we were given a 30 minute briefing on all the safety procedures and techniques to be used in the event that raft should flip, every one listened intently and there were a few nervous faces in the group.
I'm not sure what grading system the Kiwi's used to rate their rapids but I've seem more rapids in a shallow bath. With all the anticipation and preparation we were expecting to spend more time fighting for air and swimming rather than paddling. It turned out to be a leisurely 3 hour paddle with a few bumpy bits but we were treated to an interesting history lesson on the gold mining industry that previously operated in the Shotover River before it became protected. At the casual pace we drifted down the river we were able to take in a lot of the scenery in the canyon which at times was really beautiful, especially the waterfalls and tall cliffs.
Next up was our eagerly waited 3 day walk on the famous Routeburn track.
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