We arrived in the capital of New Zealand yesterday (for ages I was convinced the capital was Auckland, but never mind). This city is growing on me, I quite like it! Its rather small, with a population of only a few hundred thousand, and its surrounded by sea and hills. Plus its LOTR-central here, which suits me quite well!
In other news, I jumped out of a plane! In Taupo, Hannah and I braved our first skydive from a whopping 15,000 ft (which is higher than the limit in Australia for skydiving!). It was a lovely day, a bit cloudy but not very windy - which made for some pretty amazing views from the sky. Once we arrived at the airfield, we were kitted out in fetching red jumpsuits and harnesses by our 'tandem masters' (the skydive instructor you are tied up to for the jump). Of course, I ended up with the craziest person there, a guy called Mickey H from Jersey who was absolutely insane - but you can't really expect less of for a person who jumps out of planes for a living! So we all climb into the tiny plane that struggles up the runway and into the air. For the 20-25 min plane ride up to 15,000 ft, its all nice and cosy in the plane - you basically spend the entire flight spooning the person infront of you. So its all very friendly! At one point they decide we are high enough and the door flings opens, and you are like crap - here it goes. A few others jumped out before me and they literally just fly out. Its insane. So before I knew it, out the door we went (I had no control over the jump out, which was probably a good thing) and we were free-falling down. It took a good 10-15 seconds to realise what I was actually doing. It was an amazing feeling though! You can't hear anything but the wind (couldn't even hear my own screams - but I'm pretty sure I was yelling my lungs out!). Then after 60-70 seconds, out comes the parachute and everything goes dead quite - just the sound of the light breeze, the parachute, and my ears going INSANE! Lol it took the rest of the afternoon before they properly popped and they were back to normal. The parachute part was actually really fun, really relaxing - you just dangle out of your harness, admire the view of lake Taupo and the mountains as crazy skydive guy guides you through the air. Pretty cool! The relaxing ride was followed by a soft landing and voila, $350 well spent I think! lol
We left Taupo the next day to head over to Wellington. Today we hopped onto a hostel-run LOTR/New Zealand Film tour of Wellington, which involved getting driven around the city by an actor (who appeared for about 6 seconds as one of the helicopter pilots in Avatar - even if it took him 3 years of filming!). We stopped at the infamous Weta Workshop and even drove by Peter Jackson's houses. Plus a few random stories about the film industry here in Wellington, it turned out to be a fun little afternoon trip!