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Published: December 18th 2011
Next stop was Queenstown. The home of adrenalin fuelled activities. This is where Bungy was pioneered and we had come here to do just that. On the way to Queenstown we stopped off at ‘Blue Pools’ as recommended by Rob’s skydive master. There were suspension bridges built over the beautifully blue waters. I jumped and rattled them as much as I could until I got scared. We walked down to the water side and discovered there were loads of perfect skimming stones, so we had a skimming match. These waters are amazing for skimming, we were getting 8’s and 9’s and even all the way over to the other bank.
On the road again as we neared Queenstown we came across Puzzling World. This is a place I have read about in other travel blogs so I was really excited to be here. We paid for the Illusion rooms and the Maze ($30). We started in the Maze which had 2 options for completing it, the easy way which involved finding the 4 coloured corners in any order or the hard way by reaching them in a particular order. So we chose the hard way, quickly going
our own ways and therefore desperately trying to beat each other. Unfortunately for me, Rob won after 34 minutes and I started to get enraged as I could not find the way and could see Rob sitting at the finish. I finished after about 45 minutes. It was great fun though. Then we went into the illusion rooms. One of the rooms was built at a really steep angle but the room looked flat, it was so disorientating. My brain would not accept that it wasn’t flat so I would stagger down the room fast hard. It was all very funny.
We got back on the road and reached Queenstown. We found the AJ Hackett Bungy shop straight away and after humming and hawing for a while we decided on the ‘Thrillogy’. This was 3 a bungy combo. We chose to do the Kawarau Bridge bungy (43m), which is the original bungy invented in 1988 (the year Rob was borned) and the Nevis bungy (134m) and Nevis swing. This came in at $465 each (£232). Not cheap but it had to be done. We would do the Kawarau Bridge that day and the others the next. So we headed
to the bridge and as we approached you could see people jumping off, we began to feel the fear. We got checked in for our jump which we had decided to do tandem. The one thing I did not like about this process was that they weigh you and then write your weight on your hand for everyone to see! So we headed out to the viewing platform and watched for a while as person after person jumped. When we decided to head up we asked one of the girls from our bus if she would be kind enough to take pics of us with our camera and she obliged. They took us onto the platform and told us to sit side by side as they attached the bungy cords to us. We stood up and were ushered to the edge. They told us to put our inside arm around each other’s waist and hold onto the harness and to keep the other arm out. 3, 2, 1 BUNGY!!! We both jumped and screamed all the way down. This is the first time I have heard Rob scream for real. It was actually quite manly and no one else heard
him because I scream for Scotland. Boing, boing, boing and it was over. We were supposed to touch the water with our finger tips but we both missed. It was so cool. On the water below were two guys in a dingy with a pole for us to grab so they could pull us on. The one problem I had was that the straps around my legs were very tight and it hurt quite a bit but Rob felt nothing so I figured it was my thin trousers and planned to wear jeans for the next day. We headed back up, full of adrenalin and thanked the girl for taking our pics. She did a good job considering. The official pics were just too expensive to buy so were thrilled with what she managed to get. The one thing we realised from the pics was that as soon as we started to fall I grabbed Rob with my other arm that I should have had stretched out, grabbing him like he could protect me or something. We watched the DVD of our jump and could hear the guys at the top saying ‘oh Robert is going to need a new
pair of ears, that’s some scream Catriona has there’. The jump came with a certificate and a free T-shirt. I love stuff like that.
We headed back to town and then to our campsite for the night. Over the past few days we had done some adrenalin producing activities and I had come to discover that adrenalin makes Rob go silent. It’s really weird because I am all excited and talking about it and he barely responds. When you don’t know why he is being like that it can be a bit worrying.
Next day we were at the Bungy shop early to use their internet. Our charger had once again blown up and we had to order a new one online. Rob ordered one from an NZ company and arranged for it to be sent to a post office in Invercargill, where we would be in 3 to 5 days, same as the charger. The time came to head out to the Nevis bungy so I cut Louise off mid sentence on Skype with ‘got to go bungy now, bye
’. Now this bungy is much higher than the day before but I figured it wouldn’t
make much of a difference to the fear because if the cord was to snap at Kawarau Bridge or Nevis, I would die equally as horribly, so I shouldn’t be any more afraid than I was for the first bungy, right? So we got our harness on and a group of us were ushered to the viewing platform. Yes, it certainly was a much higher drop and was a little disconcerting watching them jump. This bungy is not from a bridge, it has been specially made and consists of metal cables and a type of cable car in the middle. In order to get to the cable car you need to go on a little open air tram that takes 6 people at a time. This in itself was pretty scary. We reached the cable car and each person was called one at a time to jump. I quickly realised it was in weight order when I was called to go after the big fat guy! It was the same guy from the day before that attached the cord and I had explained that it was a little sore on my legs. So all attached I was told to make
my way to the edge and this is when I freaked out. I inched myself to the edge shaking my head and involuntarily saying ‘no, oh, no, oh, Jesus Christ, no, no no no no’ I sounded like Edward Woodward at the end of’ The Wickerman’. Rob was at the side laughing and taking pics. 3,2,1 BUNGY....’.no, no, I can’t’
, I said but in my head I’m raging that I have paid this money and I’m not going to do it. I can hear the guy vaguely saying ‘come on now Catriona, don’t think about it, you need to go on my next count’
. 3,2,1 BUNGY, I had planned to swan dive off the edge so I looked just like Lara Croft but I basically just fell forward, screaming before my feet had left the platform and all the way down. It was a 6 second freefall. That’s really quite long! Boing, boing. At this point you are meant to lean up like you are doing a sit up and pull part of the cord so you are no longer hanging upside down and they can winch you back up in a sitting position. This probably scared me the most,
I couldn’t quite get the cord free so I freaked out more, then when I managed to free it, the cord connection made a big clunk
noise and I really crapped myself. Clinging on for dear life as they hoisted me back up. Rob told me I couldn’t get back on the platform quick enough and that he had never seen me so scared. I quickly came round as Rob’s name was called and it was his turn. Stood at the edge, 3,2,1 Bungy and nothing. He chickened out just like me, so I felt instantly better that I wasn’t a total loser. 3,2,1 Bungy and off he went along with his manly scream. When he came back he was predictably quiet until the adrenalin wore off and then he wouldn’t shut up. We headed back over and straight on to the Nevis swing. We weren’t too sure what to expect from this. Again, we did this tandem. Sitting side by side in a harness. The guy pressed a button which manoeuvred the swing forward a little and then he told me to count down. 3,2,1 whaaaaaaaaaaaa. He hit the button and we freefell for a bit and then went
into a swing over the canyon. We swung for what seemed like ages as the swing was hoisted back up. Rob then told me he was done. No more adrenalin for him, he had decided he doesn’t like heights! For me the swing was nothing compared to the bungy which was quite frankly traumatising. We watched the DVD of our jumps and Rob found mine hilarious, we would have loved to have bought them but they were just too expensive. Again, the jump came with a free t-shirt and the swing came with a free cap and our certificates.
We headed to our campsite for the night and were up early the next day with a plan to go to Milford Sound. This place has amazing scenery and we planned on a boat trip but as we had spent so much money the last few days we decided to miss it out. So we went straight to Invercargill which gets a terrible write up in the Lonely Planet but this is where we were picking up our charger. We received an email from the seller telling us the delivery would actually take 7 to 11 days which is totally
useless so spent the day trying to sort that mess out with the post office and pay pal. We had been worrying about our budget, which is a disaster and decided to head straight to Christchurch and get the van up for sale. Not only this, but we have also, sadly, decided to miss out Oz. It is just so expensive and the fares to South East Asia shoot up over xmas and new year and don’t come down again until late January.
We bought a new charger from a shop and while charging the net book we stopped for a toilet break and the van would not start again. Dead battery. We bump started it and were on our way but we couldn’t have this happening. I had literally pressed submit on our gumtree ad, which stated ‘Starts first time, every time’
then the van started to stall as well. We found a garage and they got to work. After a lot of crying on my part and waiting around they declared that it needed a new alternator and had nothing to do with charging the net book. Instead what they did was refurbish our alternator and £111
later we were on our way again.
We arrived in Christchurch the next day and headed to the centre. The plan was to hang around the backpacker hostels with a for sale sign in the window but every street we turned down was cut off. Rob had asked me a few days ago if we would still be able to see damage from the earthquake, I said yeah, here and there but we did not expect this. The whole city centre is closed, the city itself seems to be a ghost town. There are buildings with rubble all around them cordoned off by fences but they look like it happened yesterday. Maybe there is so much damage it’s impossible to keep up but quite frankly it looks like they just aren’t doing anything to fix it. So this put a kink in our plan and so we decided to head to the Backpackers Car Market. Here you rent a space from them for $85 for 3 days. People come and view the vans/cars and you do the deal. We decided to go ahead and book our flights (£363 each) to Bali for the Friday and if the van hadn’t
sold by then we would pay $300 to keep it there long term and they will sell it for us, hopefully. The staff there are extremely helpful and friendly and we made so many friends with the other travellers selling their cars. They let us park at the back of the building the whole time so we didn’t need to pay for a campsite which was a major bonus and they also let some of the other travellers sleep in the other campers if they had nowhere to stay since the earthquake had made accommodation so scarce. So this meant we had some friends to camp with and we had a good time.
We came so close to selling ‘Donkey’ on the last day but they our negotiations collapsed as neither we could not agree on a price. It’s not even peak season there yet, so we aren’t worried. With one last hug for ‘Donkey’ we went to the airport to catch our flight. We change planes in Melbourne so at least we can say we have actually been to Oz.
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