Published: January 12th 2012December 25th 2011
• Jamie: OK, so what I want you to do – is run as fast you can and jump off that cliff.
• Me: What?... THAT cliff? *shock in terror*
• Jamie: Yes.
• Me:… no, no… I can’t do it… *silently thinking of backing out of this*
• Jamie: Come on, you need to put more commitment to it. Run, and then jump.
Is that man crazy? No, I’m the crazy one. Because I paid that guy 176 NZD to push me off a cliff (it’s already early bird discount price, btw – from original of 199 NZD). It’s New Zealand after all. You’re bound to do something crazy at least once. I admit I don’t have the balls to do skydiving, or bungee jumping. So I chose the “gentler” option – which is Paragliding. Tandem, that is. With the “pilot”. That’s Jamie, in my case.
But who would’ve thought, that apparently – it’s the “victim” and not the pilot – that have to carry the team and jump off the cliff. Because, I’m the one who have to run and face the cliff, while the pilot will run backwards and ensure the parachute is fully opens. I’m scared. I will
admit that. I’m scared. Those couple of minutes before jumping – felt like a lifetime and the whole time I was thinking “What have I done to myself? What have I done to myself????”
It doesn’t help either that the paraglider right before me, got his parachute tangled. Lucky they stopped him before his off the cliff, and hoist him back. Well, to be fair, the other 3 paraglider went smoothly. So it’s just that one guy before me. I’m terrified. And my first attempt was actually a failure. It got aborted after few steps.
How can you fight your natural instinct of survival? We all learn from early on, don’t put your hand on fire, don’t give your hand to a wild animal, don’t accept food from total stranger, DON”T JUMP OFF A CLIFF as another example. But I can’t back out. I already paid. There’s no refund.
So it’s the “cheap” in me that finally push me over the edge. Literally. Ok, here goes the 2nd
attempt… So I started to run towards the edge of the cliff. As I was running, I still remember in that split second I was thinking whether I should
keep my eyes open or just shut them? But before I can take any decision, I was already up on the air! I can’t believe it!
When we were walking uphill, I already told Jamie that my apology in advance – but there’s a big probability that I will scream. And I did. I screamed on top of my lung. Long. For like solid 2-3 minutes or something. Jamie said that I woke up the whole Queenstown.
But don’t get me wrong. The scary part about it (for me) is just the “jumping off the cliff” thing. The rest is actually great. Fresh air, bright blue sky, stunning views, quiet. Well, the only thing that was noisy is me, screaming. And surprisingly, it wasn’t painful. No wedgy or anything.
I can’t bring my big chunky SLR above. But I was allowed to bring my pocket camera, although actually the pilot also have a mini camera to take pictures and it’s part of the package. He’ll take video as well, but that’s another 30 NZD to pay. The flight felt long, but apparently it only lasted 10 mins or so. We landed on a field near the base
of the Skyline Gondola – where I can take the ride back up to where we started. Wow! That’s an experience of a lifetime! If you’re interested to paraglide as well – can check out at this website: http://nzgforce.com/queenstown-paraglidng-packages
After the paraglide, I went around to explore the sites at Skyline Gondola. The view is iconic. A bit touristy maybe; because most tourist groups visit this place. But it’s gorgeous, nevertheless. And if you’re willing to walk around just a bit outside – you can find gorgeous lupin flowers on hillside, a nice picnic place at the top, there’s also several walk routes for you to explore, etc. Then we did luge. It was so much fun! Very scenic as well. I did luge when I went to Great Wall China, but this one is more fun because of the views.
I actually would love to stay and linger around. I even already have plans to do one of the walking routes as well as do the Ziptrek (flying fox). I was even ready with my 20% discount voucher print off for the Ziptrek. But M insisted we have to go down. We have to. Or else. It
breaks my heart as I sit down in one of the picnic table for only just 5 seconds. FIVE SECONDS! I would love to sit there for an hour and enjoy even a simple brunch… (which was already in my bag as well)
I remember taking a glance of the view for the last time, and realizing – this is probably the last time I would ever see this…. Or be here. M is already planning to go back to Queenstown in 8 months time for snowboarding trip with his friends. But realistically, due to financial limitations & other priorities – I might never come back. So that was my chance. As we went down, I drowned myself in silence – rather than saying something I will regret. We still have a week of travel ahead to endure together. And then when we went down, apparently he misread the info and there's no reason for us to rush in the first place (boooooooo!!!!). Deep down inside, I understand that it was an honest mistake from his side. I try to remember the nice things M did for me, to keep my perspective in balance. But still, booooooo!!!!
try to cheer myself up – if it bothers me so much, I’ll perhaps just kill other itinerary for tomorrow and just go back up again. Yes I would have to pay another 25 NZD for the gondola; but so be it.
After that we went to Glenorchy. This might be a bit controvertial, but I think Glenorcy is overrated. There are cows with snow capped mountain as background, but I felt flat. The lakes have turquoise water with this lonesome walkway, but it felt flat as well. There’s a cute small fur shop with Texas style, but I can’t gather my will to pick up my camera anymore.
My friends who’ve been to NZ before have been raving that Glenorchy is the highlight. But for me, somehow it doesn’t stands out. Perhaps it also had to do with the fact that I’ve been in NZ for over 1 week. I’ve seen a lot of awesomeness already – so my standard is already very high. We were only there for a very short time, then went back to Queenstown. After that we split for a much needed break. I was secretly thinking to go back to the top
of gondola on my own; but the weather already gone bad. It’s cloudy and starts to drizzle. Perhaps tomorrow.
Anyway, we went to Arrowtown which was a nice surprise. Many small shops, but they are all closed because it was Christmas. It sorted has this British feel to it – if it make sense? There’s a stonewall cottage with giant roses and ivy growing on the wall. And the pubs and restaurants also have that feel. There’s even a red telephone booth! So English! I was surprised though to see this maple tree which turns red. What season is this? I thought this is summer? And maple tree only change colors in autumn? That’s so out of the ordinary ha ha… Found a small candy and chocolate shop but it’s closed as well. Too bad.
We still got time afterwards so we went to Wanaka. Suprisingly, the drive via Cromwell range is more scenic than Wanaka lake itself. Perhaps the weather also plays a part. It is, a bit more challenging to enjoy the view if half of the mountains were covered by clouds. No more sparkly blue water. We got good sunset though. It’s different. But nice
as the sun went down among these rolling hills.
I was saying to M, hmmm – so rarely we see rabbit ya? I saw a couple yesterday by accident. I said – I wish I can take picture of wild rabbit. And before I finished my sentence, I screamed. Aaaa! There it is, there it is! Rabbits! And not only one! Many of them! There are at least 7-10 in this one empty field… It seems like it’s a family of wild rabbit who lives there! M said it’s another of my chain of luck. Perhaps it is!
So at least the day starts and ends with a high note. The middle part is a bit of a mixed bag – but that’s life.
To view more of my travel pictures – pls go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariyanti_p/sets/72157628705874019/