Most people, especially younger people, will tell you about Queenstown when you ask of the best place in New Zealand. They ain't too far wrong I tell ya, this is the playground of NZ, with some of the best adrenaline activities, nightlife and scenery you will experience. I put forward the idea of replacing Vegas with Queenstown. Many people go to Vegas just to let off a bit of steam and ultimately go to blow a nice lump sum of money there too, I reckon people would get far more memorable and enjoyable holiday and more bang for there buck if they substituted that trip with one to Queenstown, there I said it! *** Do be warned this place will empty your wallet very quickly!
Its a touristy town no question, cafes, bars and restaurants all over the place to cater for all needs. The town is still neat and tidy however, all crammed into the waterfront area which is particularly neat and charming. Like any tourist spot, there is no such thing as a weekday, with each night being a "drinking night". So what did I do here, well besides dining in all the restaurants and bar hopping I managed to tackle a skydive with my good mate Mark, a spin in the famous shotover jet and a day skiing in the Cadrona ski resort.
The skydive was definietly one of the most memorable events on my travels, I was pretty nervous about doing one and it wasnt helped that I too had to persuade Mark to do it despite my obvious fear. We bit the bullet and got a taxi bus out to the sky dive base site of N-Zone (the company). We seemed to wait around for ever and there was fear that our jump would be cancelled due to the heavy cloud cover. The Felix Baumgartner Redbull stratosphere jump was replayed in the adjoing cafe TV which had me pumped to say that least. It was time, our possessions were locked away, we were given our jump suit, gloves, goggled and hat. We got introduced to our tandem instructor, mine was Andres if i can recall, he seemed confident and relaxed, which is always good! After a quick briefing about offloading from the plane and how to assume the "banana shape" we geared up for our short walk to board the plane. I too was told that I would be part of a film students test jump, meaning that I would be first to jump out of the plane and be filmed (meaning I had to kind of look good for the camera!).
I'll never forget that plane ride up, it seemed that every second was an hour. We were all huddled into an aircraft the size of a wheelbarrow, our instructors harnessed to our backs, all of us facing towards the back door, me first. The scenery was ridiculous, like going into heaven, the small light aircraft had numerous windows and made it feel surreal as if we were a small bird in the clouds. The anxiety wasnt helped by the fact that the plane shuffled unnervingly form side to side as gusts of wind blew past, my instructor often told me thing to do, but I usually didnt hear him and couldn't reply back because of dry lips, all due to fear. As we climbed near the 15,000 feet mark we all were required to take some oxygen, which was supplied through thin tubes attached to the plane interior walls. It was time. The door opened and we shuffled to the edge. I looked down, wrongly of course, to see just white fluff, the whirling noise of moving air that fluffed at my loose pants, and feeling the solid chill in the air. And so he rocked me 1,2,3...gone.....
Its hard to decribe that feeling you get as you freefall with gravity, Ive felt it before in amusement parks but this was a lot longer. We tumbled initially and all I could see at one point, was the plane driving away in front of a brilliant blue sky. It wasn't long before I regained my banana shape and was hurtling through the crowds face down, the upcoming air contorting my face, making it hard to breath. It was cold and I could feel bits of snow hitting my face. I could see the studen camera lady in the distance, she attempted to get up close to me and she managed to hold my instructors hand and she vividly tried to hone in on my fearful, exhilerated newbie skydiving face! The freefall was apparently 60 seconds from that height, it felt shorter. Just when we got beneath the clouds, the parachute was deployed, which caused my legs to be yanked up in the air abruptly. The second part of the fall is where you sail peacefully down to the ground with some absolutely insane view of the Queenstown, lake Wakapitu and the surrounding snow capped mountains, ridiculous! Despite the altitude we were still at, floating in the sky, I felt a relief after the adrenaline pumping free-fall. It took a good few minutes to worm our way down to base camp, with a friendly chat on the way, before skidding on my ass on the grass. The endorphines pumping through your brain at this stage freezes your face into a permanent almost artificial looking smile. What a buzz and I gave my mate a good high five before we unkitted the diving gear. Skydiving, particulary in Queenstown is expensive, but honestly once finished, money doesnt even come into it!
Following the skydive, we also done the famous Shotover jet speedboat, which races at breakneck speeds through winding narrow stone gorges. Shotover jet have the only permit in these gorges, apparently the boats can ride in water only a few inches deep! This was also well worth the money. The boat was scarily close the rocks on some occasions and its worth it for the few 360 degree spins! Beware to have a some woolies on you, especially your head, its without doubt a thrill with a chill!!!
We also headed to Cadrona ski resort for a day to takle some slopes. This was my second time skiing since Andorra and I was little doubtful of my ability to pick it all back up again. Low and behold I picked it up quite quickly and only managed a few falls during the day. My skiing smoothness has a lot to be desired however and turning right can sometimes cause an embarrassing calamity! All in all there wasnt much snow, with some annoying ice patches, but it was a very enjoyable day, despite the quad burn too!
I see what all the fuss is about, if you have some money and like to party and do adrenaline activities, dont wait any longer, head to Queenstown now!!!
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