Our flight arrived in the beautiful Queenstown in the early afternoon, luckily the sky had been clear and we had an amazing view of Milford Sounds and the surrounding area- saves getting a heli- tour! At the airport Gwenno was again selected at random for an explosives test, and we had our tent scanned for any micro-organisms that we might bring into the country so it took quite a while to clear security in the end. By the time we got to Queenstown we were starving so we stopped at the famous Fergburger for a huge burger each before trekking up the hill to the accommodation we had booked online the night before. When we arrived tired and breathless the receptionist informed us that their Internet was down and they hadn't received the booking! Luckily there was just one room left and though it's not what we booked we were just pleased to get in and have a sleep for a few hours. After a little persuasion Gwenno eventually got into some warm clothes to explore the town- which is quite similar to the lake district. Having found that most places were now closed we had a warming hot chocolate before some more sleep.
We slept in the next morning until 10 missing our planned early morning run around the lake so instead we headed out for a big breakfast and exploration of the town. We hastily booked ourselves on a canyon swing for 1:30pm, not giving ourselves much time to think about the latest NZ craze and back out. We went shopping for more warm clothes and 2hats, a pair of gloves and a fleece later we were back at the tour agents heading up to the canyon watching safety videos in the back of the van. At this point we were beginning to wonder if we had made a mistake but it was too late and we accidentally found ourselves at the front so couldn't turn back. We were the first to do our tandem jump and we decided that we would just walk off the platform, with a mere 60m free fall before the stretch of rope kicked in with a total of a 109m drop with speeds of 150km p/h. Unlike a traditional bungy this allows you to enjoy the scenery as you swing across the canyon after the initial free fall. We were stupid enough to film ourselves doing this and it now makes quite embarrassing viewing (we have uploaded- there is a little bit of bad language do don't watch if you will be offended!). It was really scary and completely unnatural to step off a cliff into midair but was great to do together in incredible scenery.
As it is turning into low season we both got a free single go with the caveat that we had to leave the platform in a different way. Gwenno went first choosing 'the chair of death' where she was strapped to a garden chair and forced to topple backwards off the platform into the abyss. This was incredibly scary and most of the people present ears are still ringing from the screams! Ben decided to try 'gimp goes to Hollywood' which involved being winched upside down and released into the canyon head first. He was going far too fast for any screams!
Though we both had an amazing time we were happy to get back onto solid ground and needed a few drinks to calm our nerves at the end of the day. We had booked to go to the Below Zero ice bar which has loads of ice sculptures and the glasses for the drinks are also made from ice. It was great to visit but even with the huge coats and gloves we were too cold after one drink and left for a warmer bar.
The next morning we picked up our hire car and unfortunately we weren't upgraded this time so we have a little red Mazda 3. It took us a little while to get used to driving with a gearstick again but we soon got into it and headed out to Moke lake for a walk. The scenery of the mountains and the lake was amazing and the place was pretty deserted save for a few ducks and a huge eagle. We returned to Queenstown for some wine tasting and packed up the car ready to leave the next day. For our last adrenaline activity in the Queenstown area we decided to hire some downhill bikes with a pass for the gondola. The tracks are meant to be some of the best in the world and we had lots of fun winding down the mountain trying one or two jumps on the way. The gondola cable car was also quite handy as it meant that we didn't have to do any uphill sections! Some parts of the trails are very fast and winding but we managed to leave with only one fall from Gwenno and only a cut elbow to show from it! We had one last Fergburger (our third by that point) before leaving Queenstown for our next destination in the glacial north west of the southern island- we can't wait.