Just to let you all know that while were in New Zealand the blogs and photos updates are not going to be as regular as they were in Australia as we're living in a campervan that surprisingly doesn't have the internet - don't worry were going to complain!Also we're staying in campsites / fields so our access to the net is very limited.
On that note we've got loads to update you on where we've been over the past week.We flew into Christchurch and had 4 days there.Unfortunately Helen fell ill on the first day so we were confined to the hostel for the first 3 of these days.Luckily she was feeling better by the forth so we set out to do a whirlwind tour of Christchurch on our last day.With this we set out on the 'walking tour of the city' and the first stop was Cathedral Square & the Christchurch Cathedral.As you probably know we're not the most religious of people but we were impressed with the cathedral.The decoration was lovely and I liked the design & architecture of the place.From here we went on our walk and saw a the local tram, people punting down the river, a flower clock and the art gallery.By this time we'd realized that Christchurch was a really small city in terms of the cities and felt we'd got an decent insight into the city & really wanted to check out the Antarctic Centre we'd seen on our way into the city from the airport.This proved a great decision and we had an awesome time.We arrived just in time to see the Penguins being fed which was cool to see them waddle about and dive into to the water for their food.Then we went into the 'Snow & Ice Experience' room which contained real snow and ice and was kept at a constant temperature of -5C.The room had an icy slope, a shelter in the ice cave & a snowmobile you could sit on.You also got to brave the wind chill machine which blasted you with 40 km/h winds taking the temperature down to -18C.After this we strolled around the museum taking in all the information & thinking how cool it would be to visit the Antarctic.
The following day we picked up our camper'van'.We were really excited at this as it gave us freedom to explore what we want, and at our own pace.The camper'van' however turnt out to be a camper'CAR'.It was an old estate car that had fold down seats & a fold out bed in the back & even had curtains!!!!We could also attach and awning to the back to add extra room at night.Despite its size we were still excited and set off on our travels - that was after a quick food shop & adding some car juice!
Our first location was Lake Tekapo - that was after we finally managed to get out of Christchurch.We decided to take the Inland Scenic Route as opposite to the highway.This turnt out to be a great decision with giant mountains forming the perfect backdrop to the green fields & trees.We finally arrived around 5ish and couldn't believe the views.The lake was bright blue with awesome mountains surrounding it, some with snow on just to added to the picture. After a few photos on our way in, we drove to the lakes edge & went for a walk to the summit of Mount John.The walk up was a killer and we were both knackered after just a few minutes walk but we stuck it out and we were glad when we reached the top and saw the breath taking views of the lake and the surrounding area.After walking around and taking in the views we headed back to the car and set off to find somewhere free to park up for the night.After a while I started to get worried as we couldn't find anything but 45kms down the road we came to Lake Pukaki and found a spot looking out across the lake to Mt Cook.Helen cooked an awesome dinner on our 1 stove gas cooker & we set up ready for bed.
We woke up around 8ish and were greeted by the fantastic views we'd gone to bed with.We didn't get the best nights sleep due to having now pillows - we had to roll up our beach towels!After breakfast we packed up camp and set off to Mt Cook.After parking up we decided to take the Hooker valley Track .We set off from the camping ground and first stopped at the Alpine Memorial commemorating all those who have died climbing the mountain - great start!From here we set off taking in the awesome views as we walked.Our first stop was the Hooker River which was made up of glacial remains.We then crossed 2 swing bridges across the raging river and after 2hrs of walking we made it to the end of the track at the Hooker Glacier Terminal Lake which was cool as there were still huge chunks of ice floating in the lake.We then had some lunch before we carried on for a couple of hundred meters over some rocks to see round the corner.We were almost certain we could see the glacier but is wasn't clear due to the rubble that had fallen on top of it.We did however have fantastic views across the lake to Mount Cook.After Helen managed to loose her old sunglasses we set off back down to the car and drove south to Central Otago where made camp for the night next to 'Roaring Meg'.
After I got bitten to shreds during the night we packed up and drove the short distance to Queenstown, again with beautiful scenery on the way.In town we had a moment of braveness and booked ourselves onto a 12,000ft sky dive for the next day.We then drove the very short distance to our next campsitefor the night which actually had toilets and showers - luxury!After lunch we headed to the bottom of Bob's Peak and instead of taking the gondola up we decided to walk it instead.After 45mins of exhaustion we reached the top and had more fantastic views, this time over Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.Here we decided to pay for 5 goes on the Luge track.This was absolutely brilliant and was like being a kid again.The advanced route had banked corners, tunnels and mini hills - brilliant!After a quick walk around we caught the gondola back down and went back to camp for dinner and a very much needed shower - mmm clean!!!!
Today was the big day.We were down at the office for 10:30am and driving to our jump site which was at the foot of the Remarkables (mountain range).Here we had a brief wait due to there being only one plane taking people up, normally there's two.We had to split up as they could only take 3 people at a time.When the time come I went first and was called through to get kitted up.I think I looked like Tom Cruise as Maverick but Helen said it was more like Goose!After a quick safety talk I board the plane and started to get nervous!The journey up was great and it gave fantastic views of Queenstown and the surrounding mountains.I remember looking out of the window and thinking we must nearly be there, but I then looked at the instructors altitude dial and we were only at 4,000ft - still 8,000ft more to go - s**t!We soon reached the height and the door opened and I had to sit dangling outside the plane only attached to the instructor who was sitting on the ledge.After 3 we jumped and looking at the photo's it looks like a said a really naughty word - but honestly mum I didn't!!!! …well maybe I did as your stomach just goes and you realize what your doing!!!We free fell for 7,000ft at a rate of 200kmph which we did in something like 45 seconds!!!!!After the initial stomach drop it was fantastic and you didn't realize what you were doing.The views were awesome and the only problem was remembering to breathe through your nose as it was impossible to breathe through your mouth.At 5,000ft they opened the parachute and we sailed down to the landing area.The whole experience was over really quickly but brilliant fun and well worth another go if we had more money - lots of it!!!!We've got some photos, 1 each of which we've added in our photo section but the rest we'll have to show you when we get home.After landing Helen was next and had exactly the same experience.
After all our crazy exploits we spent the rest of the day lazing in Queenstown Gardens having a picnic - hardcore!!!!We've got another night here and then were heading south tomorrow so we'll update you when we have our next chance!
Hope everyones well
Gavin and Helen