Sunday, May 14, 2006

And now time for Canyon Swinging,,,,

May 14th. Yup - another early morning after another late much longer can we do this folks? OK OK .. just kidding. All is well, apart from the fact i just saw a video of what the "Canyon Swing" actually looks like - and it seems alot more like a bungy than i first thought! Not that i dont want to bungy - i just dont want to lose my new eyesight....but i digress (just slightly this time folks!).

Martin, Marieke, Laura, Julia (birthday girl!), Louise and I were the Canyon Swing gang! We headed out to the site on a wee shuttle bus... the weather had finally stopped even trying to be nice.. it was absolutely freezing and hailstones started as we got off the bus! Hmmn... not exactly the type of weather you want to jump off a platform and go "canyoning" down into a very steep valley in, ill tell you that much!! (I can hear you out there saying "and what weather would be conducive to that sort of behaviour? Seriously - dont knock it till you try it!!!)

We all got fitted with our harnesses - after the public humiliation of being weighed! Good news - here these kind souls draw a fun graphic on your hand (which sneakily includes your weight number, but not so that it SCREAMS to everyone....."oh she's had one icecream too many, that girl"... but again i digress!

I was last to go... why???? Wanted to check out everyone else's form/style first! Basically, you can jump any way you want, but they do have over 10 jumps they have named - or you can go forwards, backwards, upside down with ‘The Elvis Cutaway', backwards on ‘The Chair' or any other way you can imagine. People have even jumped in kayaks, bikes and skis! Once you ‘depart' the platform (which is 109m/360ft above the river!) you freefall 60m/200ft down into the canyon until the ropes smoothly swing you into a giant 200m arc at 150kph. You then complete a couple more big swings before you slow down and stop - easy as that!! And yes - i LOVED it!!! First time i jumped off backwards - second time upside down with my legs in the air, face first going into the canyon!! WOW - just fab!! Check out the "platform team" - they were great fun, and hammed it up for every photo!!

After that leisurely morning pursuit, we headed back into town to warm up basically and had a fab breakfast at the Vudu Cafe - highly recommend it! Then the girlies pottered around the shops and we all met up at 1pm with some new crew members to go white water rafting - and we were excited because all the rain meant the rapids were really really BIG!! So it was a real bummer to find out they were now TOO big and that meant too dangerous for us to raft - AAAH! We were all very disappointed.....add to that the luging that was to come after rafting (yes, no holds barred on our activities here in Queenstown!) was also cancelled due to stinky weather!! What can you do! Go for coffee and chit chat for hours.. yup, that's what we did....and thoroughly enjoyable too!

Said my fond farewells to the Stray Gang -South Island! - very sad; so weird how attached you get to people so quickly when you are traveling! I know i've probably said that before but its really true! Florian, my "leetle Swiss-French" friend said "You 'ave been like a mother to me, Stefanie, and I will never forget you!!" Now come on - how can you beat that compliment!! I was quite chuffed!! PS forgot to mention my "snog" with Johnny..... Depp that is.. that would be me in Queenstown Cinema - I couldn't contain myself!!!!

Seriously, without sounding so corny its sickening, my whole trip to New Zealand has been amazing.... the scenery is obviously incredible, the New Zealanders - both European and Maori (politically correct terminology thank you!) have been so kind and warm and just lovely... and my fellow travelers I've met - well, goes without saying they have all been absolutely fantastic! There is something magical about this country - I can't put it into words - but i can TOTALLY understand why people who come to visit decide they want to move here - absolutely! And I can't quite believe i've only been here for 3 weeks - feels like much, much longer. I know I will definitely come back to NZ.. for sure!! It truly is "sweet as.."


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