New Zealand has beautiful scenery – beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers, trees, and flowers. It also has plenty of sheep and cattle and farm country to view along the way. But, another popular form of tourist attraction are their “daring” thrill rides like bungy jumping. Karen had been researching those around Queenstown, and we opted to go for a couple more besides the bungy jump.We drove a short way from Arrowtown to Shotover. There they have the Shotover Jet Boats. These jet boats use a much larger version of the propulsion used for jet skis. Two engines. They take these boats at high speeds through a narrow section of a river that goes through a rocky gorge. To add to the thrill, the skippers of these 15 person boats try to swerve the boats as close as possible to the rock walls. When in the more open parts of the river they go over the shallowest spots or other obstacles. They only need a few centimeters of water. And, their ultimate “thrill” is the very fast 360 turns they can do. And of course, sometimes you get sprayed with water doing this. Fortunately they not only provide lifejackets, but also waterproof rain coats. But, no hood, so your hair gets wet. But, that just adds to the fun! I have a short video clip I’ll get up eventually, but we have some photos in the slideshow below. We also decided to do the zip line above Queenstown. To get there, we got to take the gondola. This excellently placed gondola takes you almost straight up a mountain just north of Queenstown. So, the town spreads out below you as you go up. The view from the top is amazing. You can see the mountains all around Queenstown, including the Remarkables (which are partly named for their distinctive shape, but also because they line up north and south almost exactly – I don’t know if that is true or magnetic though). And, you finally get a perspective on how big the lake really is from up there. Unfortunately, the skies got cloudy right before we went up. There is also a bungy jump near the top right next to the gondola. You can watch people jump as you go up. We had elected to take the full 6 zip-line tour which ends up at the bottom of the gondola, and the next available was 1:30 PM. We ended up talking a while to the young people managing the zip line at the top. They were very interested in our travels and we got some good tips on Stewart Island from a young lady from India. Our guides were Haley – from Vancouver Island in Canada, and Billy – a local. Karen did the zip line in St. Lucia and she was actually excited about doing this again. She really had a good time as we zipped through the steep, heavily wooded sides of this mountain. The guides got us doing tricks like going upside down, and walking off the platform with our eyes closed. The final zip line they claim is the steepest in the world. It drops about 30 stories – or 100 meters. It didn’t seem all that big a drop to me, but it was still fun! At the end of this one they have a big net they put up and a brake system that stops you before you get to the net. Then they drop the net and slowly pull you in to the platform. Very safe.
So, here are photos of a few shots while we were in Arrowtown (including a rugby game we saw near the campground), the Shotover Jet Boat ride, the Gondola ride and scenes from the top, and our zip line tour. Check them out!
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