1st - 4th January (Extreme sports in Queenstown)
Started the year with a bad head that lasted all day. Packed up the tent and used the internet for a while to read all my happy new year messages. We loaded up the car and headed for Queenstown, stopping in Te Anau again for lunch, and arrived at Lakeview holiday park between the lake and the gondola ride where there were a few chalets, several motor homes and millions of tents ($15 per person). The facilities were pretty good but the showers cost a dollar a go and it costs $5 to hire a cupboard in the kitchen, I was of course outraged and refused to eat or shower! Camping hasn't really saved me a fortune as it's only about $6 per night cheaper but it's good fun and makes a change from the hostels. I made a veg stir-fry using green curry paste(about time I did some of the cooking!) and I won at the great card game I have just learnt, called 15's.
The next morning I sat in the sun reading Tom's book 'Shantaram' which is set in India and so far is very good, it's also very big. The others took advantage of the fine weather to sort through all the stuff in the car. At midday Sasha went into town to try to replace a glasses lense that cracked whilst sat in the heat of the car window while Tom and I took a steep 45 minute hike up to the top of the gondola ride to get to the luge (gravity powered go-karts on two different race tracks), we paid for 5 rides and had a great time bullying all of the litle kids off the track. Tom got the better of me but he had done it before. A nice steak and cheese pie from the cafe before walking back down. Sasha beat me at 15's (stupid game), while Tom used the internet then I sat in the sun and read while Tom and Sasha cooked veg tortillas. Sasha then kicked ass at Yanif before I scored a record 413 at Yahtzee, Tom left disillusioned after winning nothing!
Sasha decided to make pancakes for breakfast which nearly took us until lunch. After that we wandered into town knowing that we wanted to do something but not knowing what. At 14.30 Tom and I booked a bungy jump, luckily there was a 15.30 cancellation for us to go on giving Tom time to change into suitable footwear and me time to eat fish and chips (well, it could be my last meal!) but neither of us much time to think about it. At 134 metres, the Nevis bungy is the highest in NZ and one of the highest in the world so it seemed like the one to do! We got fitted out like some kind of production line and in no time at all we were shuffling forwards in our ankle cuffs towards a big drop suspended over a canyon. I'm not trying to sound all butch and hard but neither Tom or I felt any fear, I had a strange sickly feel in my stomach when I prepaid for it but that's normal for me! Everything happened very quickly and there wasn't much time to worry about it. The initial millisecond of knowing my body had leant forward to the point of no return was scary, then an 8.5 second fall which at first felt very strange and then exhilerating. The bounce at the bottom was very smooth, not at all jerky like I had expected. It was fantastic but over too quickly, can't wait to skydive for a slightly longer flying sensation. I declined the pricey dvd but paid up for a combo where I do the canyon swing at a reduced price tomorrow. Bungy $210, canyon swing $60, the look on my face priceless (I also bought the $39 t-shirt). In the evening I cooked bangers and mash for Tom and I, and a ready made veg lasagne for Sasha then went to town to use the internet.
Some death metal from somebody's car stereo around midnight and 06.00 disrupted my sleep. The three of us used the free gondola ride tickets that we managed to blag. Tom and Sasha took photographs and video footage of my canyon swing which is really just a 43 metre rope swing, but almost as much fun as the bungy. There is a cliff jump bungy that goes from the same spot, so we stood in the sun, watched and took photos of other jumpers. Later, Tom and Sasha went into town while i read and sweated in the sun. After a cool shower I joined the others for Sasha's 18.00 hangliding which she thoroughly enjoyed, then off to 'Fergburger' which does great burgers from $9, but I was hungry and went for the massive $14 burger with all the trimmings. Oh yes! Went to burn a cd and copied jump and swing footage from Tom and Sasha's cameras.