Published: August 23rd 2007August 23rd 2007
Lucy in the sky with diamonds!
Kia Ora and Welcome to the final chapter of our New Zealand adventure.
After a mind numbing drive, we arrived at Dunedin and for once quickly found our Accomodation. That night consisted of a quick dinner then me falling soundly asleep very early.
Awoke to Lucy issuing the days itinery to me (as I'd fell asleep whilst discussing it previously). So off we went to the town, with our first stop being "The Worlds Steepest Street"! It's Called Baldwin Street, which we found ironically "normal" for a world record holder! It's probably one of those things that wouldn't impress most of you, but its kind of amazing when you're actually there. Apparently it has an average gradient of 1 in 2.86 (35 degrees), or "Mucho Steepo" in simple terms! It's a bit of a common challenge for people to attempt to run up the street and once a year they even have a big race. As some of you might know, I pride myself on being resonably fit and healthy, and considered the challenge as a mere walk in the park. So, I streched my legs a bit and charged like a rampaging bull. The rampaging bull quickly turned
into a sweating bull, followed by a gasping bull, followed by a collapsing bull! I'd love to tell you that the collapse happened at the very top, but I'd only managed half way before almost suffering a heart attack! I'm not joking, I was almost sick and had to sit down for about 10 minutes! Moral of the story - "Know Your Limits". Lucy was not even close to stupid enough to attempt such an idiotic feat!
With me still flushed red and breathing like a pipe smoker, we left Dunedin for the Otago pennisula. The Otago penninsular is one big area of wildlife preservation and scenic coastlines. Our first itinery item here was an "8 wheel Nature tour", a combination of off road fun and wildlife watching. This turned out to be great, particularly the unique transport that took us over landscape most vehicles would give up on. Got a close encounter look at baby seals (Lucy wants one of course!), Penguins (Lucy wants one of those too!), and various birds (Lucy can live without birds!). Didn't get to see a promised Sealion, but made up for that a little later when we were lucky enough to spot
Worlds Steepest Street
Lucy, smartly deciding to sit it out rather than attempt a stupid run like me!
a huge one on the beach on our way to the next location. An over zealous Japanese guy almost got massacred by it, which made for some extra entertainment!
Item two in Otago was the Penguin Sanctuary. Lucy thought this place must be good because Prince Charles had visited it; shes not sure if he managed to insult anyone! Although we did alot of frustrating waiting around, we did get to see loads of Penguins, including a few landing on the beach and heading to nest. The sanctuary has this great system of tunnels which allowed us to sneek around and get good views. It felt just like my peeping tom days all over again! As a bonus, we also saw some more Seals and a couple of Sealions (but only from distance). We left comments in the vistors book and noticed Charlie had also left a comment. However, I'm pretty certain that he does not have the intelligence, nor the motor functions to have written it himself!
With overall time in New Zealand slipping away, we were forced to get moving the next day. Loads more things we wanted to do in Otago (As usual), but Queenstown
Found Champagne gully, but coudlnt find strawberry fields!
The morning drive to Queentown took us from amazing scenery to godsmackingly fantastic scenery, via awesome sights!! We must have stopped about 15 times on the way, to take photos and gasp at the landscape. This turned a potential 3 hour drive into a 6 hour saga! We were amazed to find out we had taken the NON-scenic route; can't imagine how good the views are the scenic way!
Arrived at Queentown in the late afternoon and checked into a decent lodge called "Aspen". Eager not to waste a second, we immediatley got changed and set out for ride on the moutain Gondola. This took us up high enough to soak up the picture perfect views of the area! It also gave us the chance to try out the downhill "Luge" rides; kind of like the olympic event but sitting up! Our luge experience slowly developed from fun and giggles to a competitive, dog eat dog, clash of the sexes! Overall I probably won, but a side of Lucy came out that I never knew existed! Continued the competitive theme with a quick game of crazy golf, which didn't send Lucy quite as insane.
All these hard choices!
that evening at the cosy "Pig and Whistle" pub chomping on a Roast dinner! Suitably full up, we headed to bed ready for more action the next day. This was to include a Jetboat tour and.....a......SKYDIVE (oh my god!!)
Woke up mildly early and headed down to the lake for our Jetboat Adventure. We were both unsure about how good this activity was going to be, but had all our doubts dispelled once we set off. Although it was face freezingly cold, the ride was a blast, especially the "spins" and "jumps". There was apparently some nice scenery too, which I kind of missed on account of being seated exactly where all the water decided splash! Lucy said she was grateful to have me as her spray sheild. Grrr....
Shortly after, we nervously entered the "Nzone" Skydive centre ready (or not ready) to chuck ourselves from a plane at 12,000 feet!! Leaving us angry, but secretly relieved, the Dive was cancelled due to weather. This did not surprise us, given our luck with tours in New Zealand so far. Determined not to loose out, we re-booked for the next morning and hoped that it would go ahead without
8 Wheel Nature tour
Oh no, a woman driver!!
There we were, the next morning, all pysched up and prepared for a once in a lifetime skydive which, remarkably, was looking a safe bet not to be cancelled. From that point on we faced our fears and took part in an incredible skydiving morning. I suppose, the overall success of the Skydive is measured by the fact I'm writing this blog and not squished on a field in Queentown somewhere! Oh, and Lucy is also here alive so don't worry. The actual event is easier than you imagine. It's all so well handled and processed that you're kind of hanging out of plane before you even know whats hit you. The dive itself is nothing like we imagined and nothing like we've ever experienced before. the intial "jump" is disorientating, then the freefall almost blows your mind, while the final parachuted descent is almost relaxing (almost!). Immediatley after the Skydive, we were both kind of shellshocked and then, as we had time to soak it in, both decided it was great! However, neither of us have any compulsion to go and do it again; once is enough I think...for now!
[Anyone wishing to see complete photos of
Let battle commence!
the experience, drop us a message and we'll give you the website details]
And well, that was Queenstown. We drove straight from the Skydive site to the Airport and took a short flight up to Auckland. Queenstown keeps people busy for months and years, so our couple of days was nowhere near enough. That said, the time we had was amazing, as was all of our time in New Zealand. Here in Auckland we've been checking out the city and taking a trip up the famous Skytower.
New Zealand we will be back (sinster laugh!)
Our adventures take us next to Fiji, where we plan to top our tans back up, and generally relax, before heading HOME!!! Arrrrrrgh home, real life, job etc etc etc. Speaking of jobs, anyone who knows of a role for a well travelled railway planner.......
Until next time, bye bye
Dan and Lucy
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