After a quick stop overnight in nearby Wanaka we arrived in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. What better way to get acquainted with this than to jump off something? There are so many options to get your adrenaline rush going in Queenstown; Skydiving, Nevis bungee and swing, canyon swing, paragliding, ledge bungee, luging, snowboarding and skiing, jet boating, downhill mountain biking. The list is pretty much endless, and that's just the adrenaline things to do! There's also countless walks and hikes and beautiful scenery to take in.
Queenstown is one of the most popular cities for travellers due to all the above and as a result a huge percentage of our kiwi bus was stopping here for an extended time, all of the people that had working visa's in New Zealand were trying to get jobs here. So i decided i'd stay for a bit too. It was the best decision! Queenstown is so much fun!
The first day we had a choice to do the Nevis swing or Bungee, or both! I decided i couldn't stomach the bungee as you're not allowed to be pushed off and i just couldn't imagine being able to throw myself off, which would be a big waste of money as you don't get a refund! One of the girls on the bus was tempted to do one of them but was chickening out so i said what if we did the swing together, as you can do it in pairs. After a lot of convincing she finally agreed! Emily and my nevis swing was scheduled before the bungee jumps so we headed up the the massive canyon that the swing and bungee dangle over. The actual jumps take place from two pods, one for the swing and one for the bungee, both at the same height just further along the abyss. In order to get to the pod you have to walk along a rickety wooden slated bridge suspended by wires. Emily and I could hardly get over this bridge without crying so we figured we weren't going to do very well on the swing!! Emily was definitely the more nervous of the two on the lead up to the swing however when it came to our turn and we were being strapped into the swing Emily went silent whereas i freaked out completely! We decided to jump together one behind the other so we could kind of hug on the way down, i was in front and Emily was behind. This meant that once i was strapped into the swing i had to sit into the harness and basically dangle over the edge 100's of metres above the ground. This didn't go well, i started saying i don't want to do it over and over again and in the end the guy had to pull me back onto the stand and calm me down. He was really nice and assured me it did get fun and this was the worst bit. eventually i was coaxed back and sat into the harness. in the video you can see my hands physically trembling and can hear me hyperventilating. It was worse than the skydive because you had time to comprehend what was about to happen. The last part of the swing we had to be winched out from the stand right over the valley waiting to be dropped. This part was absolutely awful, you knew there was no going back and you knew you were about to drop but not exactly sure when. In the video i scream "Emily, i don't want to d....." and then we dropped!! It was actually kind of painful as the wires actually drag you down so you go even faster than a free fall. Then there's huge G force as you reach the bottom of the swing and start to go back up the other side of the canyon. The adrenaline rush was huge, and it was pretty fun and i felt elated after i'd done it. I'm still not sure i would do it again though!! Emily and I both greed that this cemented the fact that we would never be able to do the bungee and we were really glad we had picked the swing. Still, give me a skydive any day!
So I stayed in Queenstown for almost a month in total, it was great fun. I helped write CVs for people and search for jobs and in the end a bunch of us from the bus moved into a house which was on a hill overlooking the stunning Wakatipu lake. We spent our days playing frisbee golf, and hiking on one of the many trails up into the mountains which were great. They were really steep and hard treks but at the top you were rewarded by views of all of Queenstown and nearby Frankton, you could see the mountains where the ski slopes were. Some people went skiing but i decided not to pay the money when i knew the slopes would be slushy as the snow was melting with the approaching summer. My favourite place in Queenstown was definitely Furg Burger, an infamous burger shop which never has less than a 30 min queue and is open 23 hours a day! They are literally to die for. I put on a lot of weight and it is solely due to these burgers. It was nice to be in one place for a while after non stop travelling for 6 months but after a month i realised if i didn't leave and head to Oz, i would never go! So with a heavy heart i got back on the kiwi bus (no where near as good as ours) and headed towards Christchurch for my flight to Sydney. All in all New Zealand was one of the best countries i've ever been to and i think i owe a lot to the people i met there! Luckily it wasn't all bad news as Amie, Jamie, Mark and Fin were all going to be in Sydney in the coming weeks so we could have a reunion!