Photo above taken just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand.
The drive from Christchurch southbound to Queenstown was perhaps the most spectacular, awe-inspiring drive of my life. It rated up there with the scenic, mountainous drives on the tops of the Austrian and Swiss Alps, two drives I have done back in my Euro-craze days (I was obsessed with Europe in my twenties and have been there over a dozen times, constantly exploring as many places as I could cram in).
After a few hours of intense motion sickness, I accepted my fate and cursed myself for over-indulging the day before on the Waipara Valley Wine Tour. Oh well. The handful of mouth-watering, lip-puckering NZ Sav Blanc’s certainly tasted delightful at the time!
Around three o’clock, exhausted of driving along the serpentine, rolling roads of Southern New Zealand, we saw signs that we were nearing Queenstown, the adventure tourism capital of New Zealand. The verdant fields of white fluffy sheep slowly disipated while signs of life and civilization appeared. About a half hour or so out of town we saw our first sign of New Zealand’s Adventure Playground for adults: The first ever real, live bungee jump!
Bungee jumping hit the world stage in 1986 by New Zealand’s very own A J Hackett, who fearlessly dived from the top of the Eiffel Tower with nothing but a rubber cord attached to his ankles. The craze caught on and there was no better place to offer this kind of adrenaline-pumping extreme “sport” than in the adventure paradise and capital, Queenstown.
The first bungee jump we saw en route to Queenstown is the most famous one and also the most extreme. The total drop is an electrifying 104 meters or 340 feet from a bridge towards a narrow river gorge at “The Ledge” at Bob’s Peak above Queenstown. I took one look at the contraption and instantly said “No f-ing way”! I would try something other than bungee jumping while I was there. For me, there was something dreadful about the thought of free falling 340 godforsaken feet and then bouncing back after a dip in the river. I had never had any heart concerns in the past but now wasn’t the time for me to find out that I was capable of having a heart attack in mid-air. Nope.
If bungee jumping is not your thing, no worries (as they love to say in New Zealand). There are plenty of other “the adults have gone mad” activities to get your heart pumping. There is canyoning, tandem hang-gliding, paragliding, jet-boating, mountain biking, skiing in the remarkable Remarkables, tandem parapenting, tandem skydiving, trekking and white-water rafting to top it off. You could literally spend an entire week going hog wild with excitement and adventure, if you are so inclined. Being childless at the time, of course Paul and I were going to partake in some adventure activities! As for what we would do, you’ll have to wait and see on a future post!
To keep you guessing it involves mountains and high altitudes and think of a bird!
In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure here are a few treasures of Adventureland:
Queenstown is sensationally gorgeous. It is surrounded by the remarkable Remarkables mountains and the aquamarine Lake Wakatipu is absolutely stunning, especially when the mountains are reflecting upon its brilliant azure waters.
We didn’t take a boat out into the lake but it sure was inviting albeit cold!
We arrived in absolute perfection. It was indeed spring time in New Zealand! The sun was sparkling and it was 75 degrees! It certainly made up for the poor weather we experienced in Christchurch.
These two pictures are a panorama of Queenstown taken from the lookout at Bob’s Peak (you can take the Skyline Gondola up and this is where you can do all sorts of fun, adventure things!):
Stay tuned…we’ll see what adventure activities arise!