New Zealand Part I: Wellington and Queenstown

September 15, 2009 - Queenstown, New Zealand

In Brisbane airport my flight got delayed for a couple of hrs due to a technical fault with the plane - so everyone had to get off the plane and wait in the departure lounge - it was about a 8 hour delay but we got free food vouchers and I was able to read my book! So I wasn't too stressed out. I arrived the following day in wellington and was greeted by my friend Meghan who has emigrated there to work along with her Husband Mike - I stayed in there house for a few nights - but on my first day there I came down with some sort of stomach bug/illness and I wasn't sure how i'd got it (might have been them prawns in the Noodles I got in Brisbane Airport with my free vouchers...). The drop in temperature was quite noticeable after being in the heat of Cairns and Brisbane (in a heat wave for the time of year) and also getting slightly sunburnt a few days earlier on the beach just outside Brisbane!

So it wasn't the Ideal start to my time in New Zealand - and I wanted to shake the illness quickly as myself and Meghan where going snowboarding in Queenstown (Meghan was taking a week's holiday from work to join me on my travels and also to see another part of her newly adopted country New Zealand - Mike couldn't get time off work though - an engineering project building a Dam north of Wellington).

Although I brought over a customary bottle or two of Alcohol as presents to Megs and Mike's house I also brought an unwanted present - megs caught the same stomach bug I had - so when we where leaving for queenstown neither of us where feeling in top form! We decided because of this to give snowboarding a miss for the first day - and we just had a look around queenstown - went up in the Gondola above the town, had a run on the Luge track, did some frisbee golf in the town park (which is a cool idea) and some ice skating which I hadn't done in years. The next day we hit the slopes and a vigorous day of exercise knocked any notions of a dodgey stomach out of me as I was absolutely starving by the end of the day - so it sorted me out (new medical breakthrough I rekon: snowboard or ski to boost your immune system). That first day back on the slopes I decided to get a lesson again to get my confidence back as the last time i'd seen a snowboard was when I was carrying one down to the doctors office after breaking my collarbone from bouncing at speed off the side of an Austrian mountain (which made me miss out on the first 4 weeks of my South American adventure! But I really wanted to try snowboarding again as I enjoy it and I didn't want that accident to be my last experience of it! The Instructor was good and I definitely got my confidence back pretty quickly! (he explained some of the basics again better than my bulgarian instructor had thought me when I first learnt to snowboard!

Snowboarding was class for the few days - very tiring on the muscles for the first few days but by the end of the week I was flying it - I absolutely loved the M1 trail/piste down the mountain at Corona Peak - you could really get into your rythmn as you bombed it down! Other than the snowboarding we just had a few drinks most evenings but hit the sack early enough as you'd be completely knackered from the day. We took one day off during the week to have a proper night out and give the muscles a rest!

Queenstown is a class little town very touristy mind but beautifully set on the shores of lake Wakatipu with three ski fields near by (and the plus sides of the fact it is touristy is that it has a great selection of restaurants and bars to choose from). It is also the self proclaimed "Adventure Sports Capital of New Zealand" and true enough you can do most kinds of adventure sports imaginable - skydiving, jet boating, white water rafting, canyoning, white water rapid surfing, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding and the list goes on and on... And of course bungee jumping (it's the home of the first commercial Bungy jumping site in the world - the AJ Hackett Bungee at Kawaru Bridge! - It is a self proclaimed title but i'd dare to say it is the adventure sports capital of New Zealand and the World even!

Doing a Bungy jump was a must for me and Megs whilst in Queenstown - I especially wanted to do a jump where they can judge it so you dip into the water - not many places you can do that! Plus its alot more beautiful setting to do a Bungy jump over the emerald green waters of the Kawaru river in a gorge in the picturesque southern Alps - instead of doing one over a tarmac carpark at your local funfair or something like that... if it goes wrong and you die it might as well be somewhere scenic eh!

Meghan did her first bungy jump without hestitating at all just like she said she wanted to do it and she loved it and was talking about doing the higher Nevis jump as soon as she finished! I did my jump and got dipped into the icey cold river (fairly waken you up in the morning I tell you) and got some good photos of it to boot - And think I might do the Nevis jump (which has a 8 seconds or so free fall) when I land back in queenstown after touring around the South of the South Island. After the Bungy jump Meghan jumped on a plane back to Wellington and back to work (well someone has to keep the world ticking over and make up for the fact some of us are floating around the world dossing away). Meanwhile I just chilled out for a few days then jumped on a bus bound for Dunedin!


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