Where We Be
We packed a lot of fun and adrenaline into our two full
days in Queenstown! Here are the highlights:
At the Kawarau Bridge, home of commercial bungee
jumping, we opted to jump tandem (e.g., tied together),
Kiwi style (tethered by our ankles). We also asked for a
“splashdown” meaning we wanted to get our heads
dunked in the river when we reached the bottom.
The bungee operator connected our safety harnesses
to the bungee cord. Robin and I stood up and shuffled
forward with baby steps because that was all we could
manage with our ankles strapped together. We both
stared down at the water 140 feet below us, then,
without having much time to think about it, the bungee
operator started his countdown, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1!” and we
both leant forward together and sort of pushed off
with our toes, and then there was no going back.
The initial dreadful moment of falling forward was the
worst of it—we both screamed heartily—then it was all
a blur. It happened so fast! I wonder if my mind simply
blanked out the middle part as being too terrifying
because, honestly, I don’t remember the freefall very
clearly. I have a fuzzy recollection of water rushing up
to meet me. What I distinctly remember is when my
head and upper body got submerged and I started
breathing water up my nose. The sound of water
burbling in my ears was weird, and it seemed to last a
surprisingly long time. Then the cable flung us back up
out of the water and we were airborne again. We
boinged up eighty feet and nearly got dunked a
second time before the cable stopped flexing.
We hung upside down, whooping and coughing, trying
to wipe water out of our eyes as blood rushed to our
heads. “We made it!” I sputtered to Robin. We kissed
as the cable was lowered. “I hate to break up a tender
moment,” a guy with a thick Kiwi accent said in the raft
below us, “but would you mind grabbing that pole?”
TANDEM HANG GLIDING!
The very next day we signed up for a tandem hang
glide with a company called SkyTrek. A good steady
breeze blew up the slope so it was perfect for takeoff.
Robin's pilot said “Release” to the young man holding
the front of the hang glider and the glider simply took
off. Sometimes you have to run forward, but with these
wind conditions it simply rose of its own accord, taking
Robin and the pilot along with it. Robin was airborne!
By the time I got started Robin was already coming in
for a landing. We took off and soared straight up! We
immediately caught the thermals and rose higher. I got
into the correct flight position and then got to do
something I’ve always dreamed of—soar like an eagle.
It’s the closest I’ve ever experienced to true flying,
and I absolutely loved it. There’s little sound, little to
distract, and nothing between you and the air. The
scenery is mesmerizing; a patchwork of green fields
alternates with starker mountain views as you circle.
|Jetboating, Go-Cart Luging, & Minus 5 Ice Bar!
|Just moments before we jumped!
|It's not every day you throw yourself off a bridge!
|Are we really going to do this???
|We expected a head dunk but got wet to our waists
|View looking back up at the bridge after our jump
|Looking wet and ridiculous but so happy!
|Scary view from the top of the bridge
|Hang gliding wasn't in Robin's original plans...but she's so glad she went!
|Suited up and ready for her next adrenaline adventure
|Not scary at all, just pure pleasure!
|This is one of the best things I've ever done. I wish it could have lasted longer.
|Robin got to experience twenty minutes of bliss, soaring like an eagle
|This was the awesome view at the start of our hang gliding adventure
|View of Queenstown from the top of the gondola run
|A Shotover jetboat ride is a fun adrenaline adventure!
|Shotover jet emerging from Shotover Canyon
|Gourmet cheese and salami plate at a Queenstown wine tasting bar
|Lovely view of Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown
|Hanging out at Southern Laughter Backpackers
|We took a gondola ride up Bob's Mountain and went luging in go-carts
|Queenstown's winding luge track
|Ordering a drink at the Minus 5 Ice Bar
|Robin looking adorable at the Minus 5 ice bar in Queenstown
|Ice bars are a good excuse to snuggle up with the one you love!