Action packed New Zealand was unfortunately drawing to a close as we drove south to Wanaka, one of the final stops on my tour of the two islands. Wanaka is a small town with an absolutely beautiful lake, i really should have spent more time there, its a cool town but i was bored by nice lakes by now, i just wanted to jump of stuff and out of planes. Seriously tho, it was a town that deserved longer, the reflections you get of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps in Lake Matheson are amazing. The best part of Wanaka tho was the morning trip to Puzzle World where i regressed to a mental age of somewhere between three and five and delighted in spending hours trying to work my way through mazes, illusion rooms and hologram halls etc. The "world famous" (www.puzzlingworld.co.nz) Labyrinth Maze is pretty cool but ridiculously hard! Its over 1.5 km long, or as i used to say, a mile and its supposed to take an hour to complete. Not wishing to miss the Kiwi bus for the second time on the trip we gave up and emerged unsuccessful after a mere 1 hour 45 minutes! So after only one night in Wanaka we moved down to New Zealands adventure capital, Queenstown for reunions, bungys and teapots. Everybody ive spoken to who had travelled round New Zealand before, with or without the Kiwi Experience bus recommended a fair stay in Queenstown and most people say its their favourite stop on the bus. Its definitely both adventure capital and party capital of New Zealand so its easy enough to see why. It serves me right for getting miles behind with this journal but Queenstown does sort of seem like a bit of a blur now nearly a month on and its hard to believe i spent nearly a week there, but i'll try to recount the tale of Queenstown as best i can. On arrival we stopped off at the secrets of Bungy museum, where you learn all about the history and origins of this ridiculous activity, so loved by travellers in New Zealand. I had said the whole way through my trip, with utter certainty that i was willing and able to jump out of a plane from 12,000 ft but under no circumstances would i bungy jump. The very thought of it filled me with dread... the longer the jump, the more dread... even looking at the relatively small 40 metre jump off Auckland Harbour Bridge at the start of my trip made me feel sick and i have always been happier with my feet on the ground. For some reason however i had begun to change my mind about 3 days before we got to Queenstown and when they told us at the museum there were two spots left for that afternoon for the Nevis bungy jump, the third highest in the world at 134metres with 8.5 seconds of freefall (!!!) i for some reason thought that parting with stupid amounts of cash to do this was a fantastic idea! Around about 9 seconds later as i walked outside to see some poor bloke do the next highest jump at 45metres, looking on in disgust that i was about to throw myself off something 3 times higher than what looked like a very very high thing i somewhat regretted this move. There followed one of the least enjoyable two hour periods i can remember, culminating in a 45 minute drive to the jumpsite with 12 people in almost total silence! You can see from the pictures and DVD how much im looking forward to the jump, pretty much white as a sheet before i do it and the worst part was they do it in reverse weight order, so i had to go second in our group, while my smug skinny b****** gap year mates looked on in amusement. Bizzarely enough i actually enjoyed as well as survived the experience and would love to do it again. but im not going to go into great detail and be the latest in a long line of journal writers that "highly recommend it" and tell you to do it yourself, the anticipation is pretty horrible and there are probably many more worthy things to spend your money on while travelling than jumping off a ledge into thin air! You cant beat the addrenalin rush tho. After hte bungy thing had been ticked off it was down to Queenstowns supposedly amazing nightlife to try and recapture the buzz and it doesnt disappoint. It had a lot to live up to as it has quite a reputation but teapots in the world bar flowed and it is no coincidence that my memories of the place pretty much merge into sitting in Tardis at about 5.30am chatting s*** with fellow bus people. So Queenstown pretty much was split into nights in the world bar (which unfortunately would somewhat lose their charm after about a week...) and mucking around doing silly activities like canyon swings and luging in the days. A pretty fun way to spend a week but dered more to New Zealand den diss... Such as Milford Sound for example.
Milford Sound is a World Heritage listed area which i guess means its pretty good to look at. It certainly is, its some of the most beautiful scenery ive seen, unfortunately for us Kiwi people you go at 6.30 in the morning and we were booked to go after one of our first nights in Queenstown. So straight from Tardis we arrived to board the bus feeling very up for the 9 hour round trip ahead. The rest of our bus seemed to be in better shape however and we didnt really fit in en route to Milford Sound. So Milford... the book says that there are beautiful waterfalls, mirror lakes, mountain vistas etc but i wasnt able for it that day and milford will go down as a very bizzare day in my travels. We definitely went on a two hour boat cruise through the area, which was quite nice i think and also visited an underwater observatory which was a bit rubbish.
All of which brings me to my final stop in New Zealand, the garden city of Christchurch. It was a nice place to depart New Zealand from. As with Auckland, many visitors tend not to have amny good things to say about the biggest cities in New Zealand but Christchurch has a lot going for it and was a cool place to spend a few days, preparing myself for the sun, sea and sand of fiji. As always there was time for one final very random night out, ending in a Holiday Inn at 5am with an unnamed member of my kiwi bus, a british 40 yr old expat called Jackie and a 55yr old software manager from Auckland called George. Hmmm..... Dont worry folks, this was all perfectly innocent, only alcohol involved.
So on to Fiji and my second emotional reunion with mikey for more kava fuelled adventures...