Apologies for what is likely to be the longest post so far :O! I've not done one for a little while and have been super busy, plus I'm half using this blog as a record for myself so while i try to keep it relatively short its nice to have some details too. Anyway you can all just shout at me for wittering on if its too long.
Right so this is what I've been doing:
14th Did an acrobatic flight in a stunt plane. This has gotta be the most mental thing I've done to date! Basically you get in this tiny plane, with 2 massive engines and of course a pilot, fly up to 5000ft over queenstown lake where you are first treated to some stunning views over the area with endless mountains going off into the distance. Then they start the action, for the next 15 mins they throw everything they have at you, going in every direction you do flips, barrel rolls, massive loops and mixing it all togethor so you do upside down loops, whilst rolling all the way down etc. etc. They only stop every now and then to check you're not about to be sick, which you kinda do feel a fair bit to be honest, as they take you from -3 to 6 g's which is pretty high since apparently in competitions they only go up to about 7 or 8. The result is you get an adrenaline rush and at the same time all your senses are disoriented as one second you're being forced down into your seat and the next you're dangling upside down. And the after result for me was as well as feeling pretty excited I was still kinda shaking and recovering my sense of balance for the next 20 mins. I think for the bigger instant rush I prefer the bungy but this was great fun and an amazing once in a lifetime style experience.
From the 15th - 17th I left Queenstown to do another 3 day walk. This was the Routeburn which is what they label a 'great walk' i.e. one of the best in NZ and I can understand why now. I really enjoyed malborough sounds but this area is one of the most beautiful in the country (and thats hard to achieve) and topped it and then some. It seems the further I go south the better it gets, especially in terms of everyone being laid back, the variation, scale and beauty of the landscapes and the activities available. The walk was just awesome, I was bombarded with stunning views around every corner, varying from tranquil forests and lakes to roaring rivers, giant waterfalls, sunny open plains and snow/glacier capped mountains and all in such a short time. I think the nicest thing about it though was how quiet and tranquil it all was. I didn't know anyone else doing the trek and whilst I could easily have tagged along with some of the other people on the way, I was actually pretty glad to have the chance to enjoy doing this one on my own and really soaking in the atmosphere. In particular the forest on the first day was just amazingly silent with only a distant roar of the river, wind in the trees and birds flying around to be heard. I had a lot of time for the walk each day so could really potter along, explore and do side tracks to get some extra views. Although they don't look so impressive in the photos I've really enjoyed some of the (rain)forests in NZ as much of the rest of the views. Highlights of the walk were climbing a steep short side trip up to the summit for awesome 360 views far into the distance, a 'friendly' robin that started following me on the path and when I stopped was even bold enough to come and have a good peck at my shoe laces, drink pure cold water from streams/waterfalls, enjoying the views from our 1st hut over a massive valley and swimming in the 1000m up 6 degrees celcius mackenzie lake by the 2nd hut. All in all a gorgeous walk which I would definately recommend oh and once again I was lucky with the weather having the first 2 days really clear and sunny.
After finishing the 3rd days walking early by 11am I was picked up by bus to do a cruise on milford sounds. The pure scale of the sounds impressed me, you can really see why they filmed parts of jurassic park there, if you look at the photos labeled 'waterfall zoomed out' and 'waterfall zoomed in' you'll see what I mean. My 2hr cruise probably didn't do milford sounds as much justice as it deserves, as it really was serene and stunning. But 2 days later I spent 2 days kayaking on doubtful sounds which made up for it and some.
Doubtful sounds has a similar landscape to milford sounds, but its on a much vaster scale and is harder to get to meaning that its a lot less busy. Again the views were stunning, although it was pretty windy, wavey and a bit hazey on the first day making it pretty hard going. We then camped overnight in a rainforest and when we set out the next morning it was so flat and clear with just wisps of cloud around and the sky reflected in the water. For the whole trip it was really just the 8 of us in kayaks our guide and nobody else, making it really quiet and peaceful and experiencing it in kayaks on the water just meant you took it all in, really cool. Both the canadian girl (Sam) and our guide (Will) were really good laughs and the rest of the group were all really nice to so we all had a really nice time. The only down side, doubtful sounds = sandfly heaven, so I've added to my bite toll.
I'm now back in queenstown and just chilling, resting and returning from the dead as all my activities over the last 10 days combined with socialising in between have tired me out some what. Anyway no to much rest for the wicked I'm doing a thing called the canyon swing (I'll explain later) 2moro and then going to mount cook with Ben (I've bumped back into him and Paul again already) for the following 3 days to do some walking.
Cheers for the messages:
Mum/Dad: Happy easter! Hope you have a great one. Still having an awesome time as you can probably tell. P.s. how much did it cost you to airmail me my giant easter egg ;)?
'Cleveland': Cheers dude, it was awesome, I certainly won't be forgetting that one anytime soon and bungy was even more fun. Hope to continue the makinbg you envious thing... sorry.