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April 16th 2012
Published: June 23rd 2017
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Geo: -44.6987, 169.133

After leaving Franz Josef (the town and the glacier) we stopped in to see the nearby Fox Glacier. Along with Franz Josef, it is unique in descending 13 kms from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level, amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest. Although retreating for most of the last hundred years, both have been advancing since the mid 80's but we won't be getting into a global warming debate here. DH had satisfied her need to hang out with helicopter pilots for at least a while, so we just hiked up to the leading edge of this glacier where, at the fence line, we were met by a bulletin board containing reprints of newspaper articles detailing the deaths of people who had jumped the fence to pose underneath the imposing shelves of ice only to be crushed when chunks broke off. Personally I'm not sure I would have put up the boards- just view it as nature emptying out the shallow end of the gene pool and set up some viewing stands.

After that we set off for Queenstown, running the gauntlet of more beautiful landscapes (or at least that's what DH tells me- since being unceremoniously terminated as navigator in favour of talking cyborg GPS, she's been free to relax and take in the views and, usually on a hairpin turn, tell me excitedly to “look at that” all the while eating copious amounts of natural black licorice). We did stop at a recommended roadside stand to experience a NZ delicacy called Whitebait- although even DH could cook this. It seems to be a ladle of stringy almost translucent baby fish mixed in with eggs and then fried and served on a piece of bread. The entire fish, head, guts, and all, is eaten so it's not a visual feast but it didn't taste too bad.

Our final planned stop before Queenstown was Wanaka which is a quaint town with a beautiful lakeside setting. One of the locals suggested that only tourists stay in Queenstown and travelers stay in Wanaka (and day-trip it to Queenstown)- she clinched the sale when she suggested that the local campsite had free WiFi and the parking was free in town (unlike Queenstown). It wasn't exactly a lottery win, but the mere suggestion of good value in NZ had us settling in for a couple of days. We did rent mountain bikes and attempted to circumnavigate most of Wanaka Lake which, in hindsight, without bike shorts or any recent bicycle seat time, was probably a bit ambitious- we were both walking like bow-legged penguins for a couple of days but it was a great mountain biking track!

Our first stop on our day trip to Queenstown was the Kawarau Bridge Bungy , the site of the world's first permanent commercial bungee jump. I wanted to give this a try strictly for historical purposes but surprisingly DH wanted no part of this- apparently she had promised God, while descending after skydiving out of a plane some years ago, that she would never again flaunt her life in front of him again. She was also surprisingly upset that I would want to do this…but apparently that was because she didn't know where the passports were, and that I had all the money, the onward plane tickets, and the keys to the van! After showing her where she could find my will on the laptop and turning over all relevant documents and money, she became surprisingly supportive of my need to jump off a bridge even suggesting a couple of spin moves that might heighten the thrill. The start of the jump experience is a somewhat humbling public weigh-in (I'm still stinging from those hurtful comments from Carol C on the last posting!) although in KG's it doesn't seem as bad, and then the harness and straps are applied (in this age of space travel is a bath towel the best you can do for an ankle strap??), and you are nudged to the edge like a pirate walking the plank. I assume the jump boys are on commission- they don't give you a lot of time to contemplate your fate and while they don't push you, they do give you a fast countdown that would put your masculinity into question if you didn't take the plunge. Once you've left terra ferma there's not much to do but enjoy the ride and hope that the attached elastic band and bath towel do their respective jobs. Once the bouncing stops, DH seems happy to see me walking up the steps and immediately stops the transfer of funds from our joint account. To be honest, the jump was a great thrill but for sustained excitement, I much preferred the SkyWalk we did in Auckland earlier in our trip to NZ.

We spent the rest of the day in Queenstown and while it is very much the town of tourists, I can see the appeal. It has a chilled out feel to it and a very picturesque setting. By just spinning around you could see jet boats, parasailers, paragliders, and hang gliders in action all around the town.


Additional photos below
Photos: 32, Displayed: 25


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26th April 2012

PUSH IT Deb !!!These are not the hills in Tottanham. Now push it girlfriend !!
26th April 2012

I want to fly like an eagle To the sea Fly like an eagle Let my spirit carry me I want to fly like an eagle Till I'm free Fly through the revolution Lyrics by Steve Miller "Fly Like An Eagle"
26th April 2012

Well Vic you are one brave man! I am very impressed that you took the jump. I was with DH when she made that promise after jumping out of that plane and I can understand why she wouldn't do it!
26th April 2012

So beautiful, and peaceful looking....
26th April 2012

Ya Think ?....
26th April 2012

Much nicer picture than the first "Posing in front of glacier"! Have you ever thought of a modeling career?
26th April 2012

....and yet STILL, they die.....
26th April 2012

This photo actually looks like a painting!
26th April 2012

Amazingly calm :D
26th April 2012

God Bless You for having the energy to keep on going....and on a bike too!!
26th April 2012

Did you bike through that? On those roads? Ugh :(
26th April 2012

Well, that counts me out.... :(
26th April 2012

....any last rights ?
26th April 2012

Holy crap! Really?
26th April 2012

Freedom death wish..... :0 I can't watch.
26th April 2012

OH MY GOD! As I said you are a brave man!
26th April 2012

Hey! DH, that's a good place to leave him if he misbehaves !!! LMAO !!
26th April 2012

Love it!
27th April 2012

I do hope that we'll always have the good sense to never, ever, chow down on something with 'bait' in the culinary delight's name!
27th April 2012

There's such confidence on this jumpers face that you hardy notice the bulky Depends underwear!
27th April 2012

Great shot! Son, you've got style!
27th April 2012

UR out of your mind...
28th April 2012

AAAAhhhhhhhh! Beautiful!
28th April 2012

You crazy man!
1st May 2012

Beautiful lighting. A meditation.
1st May 2012

14. A death wish. I'm with Deb...
1st May 2012

Artistic impression: 9.9

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