Tag Archives: South Island

Shotover

We did this shot over jet boat ride in New Zealand and it felt like we could almost feel the rocks thumping below us it was so shallow. Our Driver did a bunch of 360’s and we got SOAKED!! It was our first real fun adventure to start our trip. Then came bungy jumping and so on.

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AJ Hackett Bungy Jump

I can’t believe I bungy jumped in Queenstown!!! Dad, Sebastian and I discussed the day before that I would be bungy jumping first! I was a little nervous but, I am the daredevil in the family. We had just gone to the shotover jet boat ride the day before and Sebastian and I wanted to go bungy jumping right after it. I have no idea what I was thinking then but it was pretty stupid because myself right now, would NOT go bungy jumping. So we finally got to the bungy jumping spot in the morning and dad couldn’t go because of the “hole in the van”. Also because it was around $200 for an adult to go. Sebastian and I got our forms filled out and blah blah blah. I was going to pee in my pants because I was so nervous! I went to the restroom and believe it or not, the sign to the restroom was a bungy jumping person instead of a person standing up which made me a bit more nervous! So here I am, about to bungy jump, and the front desk guy tells my brother and I that there are NO refunds. So, if we go out there, on that bridge, there is NO chickening out! I am outside now, thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OH MY GOSH!” Finally, the guy is getting me geared up and I have to do a little hop shuffle jump to get to the platform where you jump off because they tie your feet together. I wave to the cameras that you can pay a fortune to have a few photos of yourself bungy jumping and to my family of course. I am scared to DEATH now but I keep thinking I have to be strong!! The guy goes so fast, 3…2…1…BUNGY! I jump off and the next thing I know I can’t even hear myself screaming REALLY loud. And I know it’s really loud because of the GroPro attached to myself. I am spinning round and round so fast that all I see is a blur of green and blue and brown and I feel kind of dizzy. Luckily, I love roller coasters so, I was pretty used to it with loopty loops and such. Now the raft boat is coming to get me and I grab hold of the pole. They bring me down and I’m so excited and happy I did it! I jumped down 43 meters (140 feet)! When I get up to see my family, my dad says, “You now have bragging rights!”

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I watched my brother bungy jump and he DOES NOT like roller coasters. He lifted up his head during the bouncing of the bungy and yelled “Yoha!”. He liked it! I was happy that he liked it and I could talk about any part of the bungy jump and he understood. Plus, they gave us free T-shirts! They’re pretty cool!

Sebastian and I did the AJ Hackett zip line next because it was only $20 more instead of paying full price. This zip line, was a special kind of zip line. It was freestyle. You could do superman, forwards, upside down, two people, etc…Because I was so awesome to bungy jump, I decided to go zip lining upside down. I have to say, it wasn’t the smartest of decisions. Blood was rushing to my head and it felt big. I felt alright though. When you zip line there, you hit this big stopper kind of thing and let me tell you, IT HURTS! Our legs were up because we wanted to go upside down and I had to almost put them down! It hurt my calves and they were sore afterwards. I felt like I had accomplished a lot though!

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About to Bungy Jump in AJ Hackett

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Louisa

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Sebastian

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AJ Hackett Zip line

 

Farewell New Zealand

Our last week in New Zealand has been nothing but full of adventures. I certainly need to dedicate a page to Wanaka and Queenstown, just as our guidebook NZ Frenzy (highly recommend it, from travel writer Scott Cook) correctly dedicated an entire page to both towns.

Wanaka – we were fortunate to stay 2 nights with the Turner family, who moved from the US to NZ 6 years ago. Sleeping in beds was a very nice break from our campervan, not to mention the 2 fantastic dinners with our friends. Wanaka is a mix of beach town and ski destination, very charming and surrounded by Lake Wanaka. The houses are very pretty, added by the natural beauty of mountains and lake. We spent a day hiking up the mountain and then visited Puzzling World, quite an interesting place that all 4 of us enjoyed.  Kids loved playing at the Turner’s trampoline and with their 2 cute dogs, Chloe (golden retriever) and Rosie (black lab). We miss our dog Tinka!

Queenstown – from Wanaka, it is a short drive to action-packed Queenstown, located on Lake Wakatipu. Spectacular views, a wide variety of restaurants and shops, lots of activities to choose from, Q-town certainly made us feel that we are in an international ski and adventure destination. Our first activity was the Shotover Jet, a jet boat ride through a river canyon. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got to experience it on their last trip to NZ, so we figured it was quite safe to do it too. Needless to say kids had a blast and I think both needed a dose of crazy activity after almost a month traveling in an RV.  Well, if that was exciting, wait to read about their bungy adventure…Sorry grandparents back home, but we trusted our judgement and it felt pretty safe to let both kids experience the original bungy jump in New Zealand, AJ Hackett at Kawarau Bridge. I think my kids are pretty awesome and fearless! We all agreed that we would like to go back to Wanaka and Queenstown and wished we could have stayed longer in both places. Oh yes, almost forgot about the tree that caused a hole in our campervan…it happened while we were parking in Queenstown city center to go have a walk and dinner. Good thing Chris got extra insurance for the van so we were all covered, phew.

We had originally planned to go from Queenstown to Dunedin but we wanted to get to Christchurch at a decent time as kids needed to catch up on their studies after so many days of action-packed activities.  We stayed 2 nights in a very comfortable duplex (anything is heaven after 30 days in a campervan) – Colombo in the City Motel – just a few minutes walking to Christchurch’s downtown. It is impressive how much was destroyed by the Feb/2011 earthquake. We learned that 1300 buildings were destroyed, 185 people died. It is one big construction zone in downtown, with several streets still blocked from traffic and pedestrians. The city is undergoing a $25 billion rebuilding project.  We walked around a lot and went to Re:Start on Cashel Street, which is an area of colorful shipping containers adapted for use as stores and cafes after the earthquake. Quite creative! Another interesting site is Quake City, an educational experience of how the earthquake happened and how much it affected the city, a good testimonial for every visitor.  The Christchurch Cathedral got destroyed so the city built a Cardboard Cathedral (it is real cardboard!). We lit a candle for our family inside the church. To close our day, we met with Venezuelan/Italian friends of our dear friend Andrea, who live in Christchurch and had amazing tales of the earthquake that they experienced first hand. Always so good to meet locals when we travel, it certainly makes our adventure even more special.

We are off to Sydney tomorrow. Farewell New Zealand, it’s been a blast!

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Queenstown

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Sunset in Queenstown

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Louisa getting ready to bungy jump

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Sebastian at bungy

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Re-Start, Christchurch

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Christchurch

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New Regent Street, Christchurch

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with Daniela’s family, Christchurch