Bungy, Bar Crawls, Hiking, Canyon Swings, Jet Boating... Just Being Extreme
18.03.2012 - 22.03.2012
On Sunday we arrived in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world! and I planned to make some good use of my time here. Queenstown is very picturesque, but has loads of bars, shops, cafes, adventure companies and backpackers crammed into about 3 streets; like a busy Wanaka. Although it promises loads to do in the area, there is also a vague promise of Bankruptcy as everything is so expensive! luckily I haven't done too badly!
My first brush with adventure was courtesy of the Guernsey Psychology team, who gave me a Kawarau Bridge Bungy Jump as my leaving present. So with half excitement/half terror the first activity I booked to do in the area was my jump. The company drives you out to the bungy site on the bus, where you can almost feel the tension of all the jumpers (everyone was a lot more psyched on the way back, due to being on a adrenalin high...I'm pretty convinced no one like jumping off bridges, they just like the feeling you get when you've done it!). Once we arrived it was surprisingly efficient, they weighed you and wrote your weight on your hand (so if your self conscious of your weight, bungy is not for you as it takes a day or two to come off) and then sent you out to the bridge. I was expecting a bit of a wait and a faff, so I wasn't entirely mentally prepared when I walked onto the bridge then got beckoned out to the edge straight away. I then got sat down where they wrapped a towel round my legs and a couple of straps (with me sat there trying desperately trying to avoid looking over the edge thinking "Is that it?!!". The guy tries to get you to chat whilst you get strapped in, but unfortunately i wasn't giving very sensible answers to his questions, because I was too damn scared. Then after far too short a time you have a hand held up in your face, you high five it, then you shuffle out towards the edge (after you have your "NO WAIT IM NOT READY" moment and a bit of encouragement) and then you jump into thin air (dont think about it too much, as you get your brain saying things like "there's something not right here...I'm sure your not meant to jump off a bridge...NO WAIT...stop...THIS ISN'T RIGHT) then the river is speeding towards you, then the bungy catches you, you bounce around a few times, and its over! Then you get lowered into the boat, untied and let off to attempt one of the hardest things; walking back up the stairs with your legs about to collapse from shaking because of all the adrenalin. Once you've got your photos and dvd and watched a few other terrified people jump off the bridge, the bus drives you home and you can feel awesome for the rest of the day.
The bar crawl of that evening is also worth a mention, not to bore you with the details (as a bar crawl in Queenstown is pretty similar to a bar crawl anywhere else, other than the fact your with 50 other people from a hostel, and you get to go to some cool places like the Ice Bar; a bar made entirely of ice, including the cups, where you are given coats, boots and gloves before you are allowed in) but it is important in the grand scheme of the story as half way through the crawl we were asked to play a game of fetch; the first to gather a bra, a pair of boxers and a condom would be the winner, and I won. One guy was randomly stripping off in the background because he was drunk, and I think was intending to swim, so I made full advantage of that, took his boxers, performed the bra trick every girl knows to take off your bra without taking off your clothes, got a condom off the nearest boy next to me, then ran to claim my prize. Subsequently I was given a $200 canyon swing as a prize, something I had mixed feelings about winning after I saw how scary it looked; 60m free fall (my bungy was 43m) and 200m arc, still it was free, so really I had no choice and attempted to muster up excitement rather than terror. more on that later.
The next day was a lot more chilled out with no real important activities to mention (which may have a little to do with being hungover) the main event of the day was wandering round the Queenstown Gardens, watching people play Frisbee golf and enjoying the beautiful views...
After having such a chilled day, the next day I felt like I needed to do something more active. So when Heather and Katie (my two American friends from the hostel) asked me to come on a 5 hour hike with them up a steep peak I agreed. The three of us set out, joined by a guy called Daniel, a friend of Katie and headed towards the gondola. We took the gondola up the first section of hill (with beautiful views of Queenstown), headed past all the commercial stuff (Paragliding, Bungy Jumping, a Luge, Mountain Biking) and started on the Ben Lomond track. 3 grueling uphill hours later we arrived at the top of the peak feeling pretty proud of ourselves, and another 2 hours of almost equally grueling downhill later we arrived back at the Gondola, on the brink of collapse. It was a pretty awesome walk with beautiful views of Queenstown and the Lake on one side, and a Mountain range on the other, plus because it was so hard we felt a sense of achievement on completion. The only negative bit (other than the sore legs) was the fact we ALL ran out of water at the top of the peak, so had to do the two hour walk back in the sun with no water, which was pretty difficult (though water had never tasted so good when we finally arrived back at the gondola, especially after you sprint down the hill jumping down decorative rocks to get to it). So a good day, but knackered! leading to an exciting early night, in preparation for tomorrows adventures (the Canyon Swing!)
I Started off the next day feeling a little nervous, and it only got worse; I got the bus to the Canyon around 11.30 and my composure steadily declined. For the Bungy I was pretty scared, but luckily I didn't get out of hand scared as it was over before I had a chance to think about it too much. Unluckily for the canyon swing I stood there close to the edge watching 3 other sets of people go first and steadily made it worse and worse for myself. I blew the whole thing out of proportion in my head and got into a panic state (I knew it was safe, I just felt friggin terrified!) and was close to giving up and walking away. In the end with A LOT of coaxing (and a short bout of terrified crying on my part) I was convinced out onto the edge, and step by step suspended out over the side. After that I sat contemplating life and maybe coming back in, but the guy pulling my rip cord had other plans, and let me go without warning (probably best). Obviously it wasn't as bad as I built up in my head, and felt really pleased that I had done it afterwards. I even managed to convince myself to go again in a tandem with another girl (we went much faster with two of us, and although it was scary, I hadn't been panicking like before so i enjoyed it a lot more!). A good experience I think, but DEFINITELY done with scaring myself half to death for a while!
In the afternoon that day I had also planned to do Jet Boating, which was enjoyable, and even though they did there best to make it exciting (lots of 360 degree spins and speeding super close to trees/shore line), for once I wasn't the slightest bit scared (In fact I have been much more scared sitting in my family's tiny boat in choppy water on the way to Herm, at least it the Jet boat I got to sit on a seat) so that was a nice break! That, combined with the plan of getting a Fergburger and hitting the town for the night, wraps up the excitement filled week in Queenstown! It's been emotional.