Mon Feb 23 2009: Queenstown (Bungy and other stuff)
Blue skies at last! Riding to Queenstown today.
Spent the day in Queenstown, where tourists pay good money to risk their lives and also get a picture and T-shirt to remember it by! Quite the adventure town, offering everything from jet boating, white water rafting, sky diving, and of course, bungy jumping! It was originally invented by a Kiwi, AJ Hackett, and he set up the first permanent tourist bungy jump on Kawarau Bridge, about 20kms away.
Well, if it all started here, I might as see what all the fuss is all about! :)
My fellow bungy buddies waiting in line for their turn. The girl on the right is afraid of heights. She came the day before but was
too scared to jump. She returned today and did amazing! She only cried a little. Neda gave her a hug, which really helped.
The Leap! I think I Kakapo'd my pants right here.
AHHHHHHH! There's another Bungy facility nearby that lets you jump from a cable-car suspended over a 134m canyon, which takes you 8 seconds to fall. Try screaming for 8 seconds, you can't... AHHHHHHHH...< deep breath >... AHHHHHHHHHH!
A lot of you have seen this already, but if you haven't here's a short video of the jump:
This couple went right before me, they did a tandem jump. They were from India, they just got married and came here for their honeymoon. I thought it was very metaphoric that they took the leap together - putting absolute trust in each other, and facing the fear and the unknown together.
And yes, I do write Hallmark greeting cards on the side...
Mendhi on their hands. Ceremonial decorations in henna ink. Very cool!
We rode back to Queenstown after the bungy jump and had lunch at a great restaurant called Pier 19 over looking Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown is geared towards the apres-ski crowd who flock to the 4 ski resorts around the area during NZ's winter season. I think it's one of the few places in the Southern Hemisphere that offers commercialized ski packages, and draws a lot of the endless-winter-types who want to keep the ski season going all year round. Neda and I snowboard out of necessity (nothing else to do in the winter), but really we're the endless-summer-type. The plan is one of these days to ride around the world year-round, following the summer as it moves from northern to southern hemisphere, back to northern, etc. One day!
Queenstown is situated by Lake Wakatipu
Cruise boat taking a tour of Lake Wakatipu
Lunch by the lakeshore. um, wow... evil...
During our stroll around Queenstown, we saw a BMW F650GS Dakar parked on the street. As we were eyeing it, the owner, Rob, came out and starting chatting with us. He lived right in Queenstown and was an avid off-roader and we remarked that the F650GS was the perfect bike for a RTW (Round The World, for those in the know) trip. Light enough to move rapidly through crowded, congested areas, yet powerful enough to take on the superslab, the suspension is perfect for off-road use and the Rotax-produced engine has proven to be bulletproof over the years. Rob showed us some good roads to hit during the next few days, can't wait to try them out! It's nice talking to locals because they always provide great info on roads and weather, where to go, what to avoid.
Still no good pictures of sheep, so this will have to do.
Not a ski-run, it's a gondola that takes you to the top of the hill overlooking
Queenstown. There's a restaurant up there with great views, and surprise: another
bungie facility which lets you jump over the city. They even run at night so you jump
into the darkness towards the city's lights. CHOICE!
We found a replacement digital camera for the one I drowned! This one we're going to try to keep dry. The weather is starting to co-operate, it only rained on us a few times today!