Monday, March 23, 2015

NZ 3: Adventure Capital of the World

In addition to elves and dwarves, flightless birds and sheep, and more rolling hills than you can even imagine, New Zealand is the land of adventure. Bungee jumping and skydiving were both made popular in New Zealand, among many other adrenaline-inducing activities.

Chris and I are definitely up for adventure, but neither one of us are entirely fond of sports. So our choice of activities fell somewhere in the middle. Some extreme stuff but no falling out of the sky. haha
This is the first commercial bungee jump operation in the world.
One of our favorite activities was the jetboat ride on the Shotover River in Queenstown. We had so much fun that we decided to buy the DVD they made for us. The video is a mix of promotional footage and actual shots inside the jetboat during our ride. They had a camera mounted in the front and back. Chris and I got there early and managed to snag the front two seats, next to the driver.
Another fun activity was driving off road in an ATV. This was on farmland, and we drove through a muddy swamp, over huge hills and through forests. Chris was a crazy driver in a very good way.
Another popular watersport in New Zealand is what they call black water rafting. Instead of rapids outside, we went tubing through an underground river. We even jumped down a few small waterfalls. I didn't really get any good pictures of this, so you'll have to use your imagination from this picture I snapped of the pictures they took (this was the only good one so we didn't want to pay for all of them ...) I'm in the front on the left and Chris is to the right of me.
And of course, we also partook in the usual white water rafting as well. These pictures turned out great, so we decided to splurge and buy the disk of pictures they took during our trip. Here's a few of my favorites.
At one point, we got our of the raft and climbed over to a six meter waterfall. And then we each jumped off it back into the water. Might have been the scariest thing I've ever done! We also convinced our guide to let us flip the raft. One of the guys on our raft had a Go Pro and took a video of it. When/if I track that down, I'll definitely post it!
And if that's not enough excitement, we also toughened up and headed up high in the treetops for some ziplining. For some reason this doesn't scare us as much as bungee jumping.
See what I mean in the video below. I'm fearless!
But not fearless enough to give this parachuting thing a try. In the two pictures below, these guys would jump off the top of a mountain and glide down to the beach in Queenstown. I think they were trying to land on a raft just out from the beach. We saw four guys come down, and one of them came really close. Two of them smacked down on the water so hard it really sounded like it hurt.
My personal favorite adventure activity was Zorbing. This ridiculous concoction involves climbing inside a giant clear ball that has a little water in the bottom. The ball is suspended within a larger ball, so you can't see our very clearly, but you also don't feel the ground bumping up under you either. And then, well, they push you down a hill.
There are three tracks, so you can go straight down, down a big curve with a drop, and down a zigzag course that tosses you around like you're in a washing machine (that one was my favorite).

Of course there's even more adrenaline-pumping activities to be found in New Zealand. These are just the ones we encountered first hand. And we did do a lot of other fun activities, but since they were a little less heart pounding, I figure I'll save those for a different post.