N is for New Zealand

Some years ago now, I was lucky enough to enjoy a 3 week long holiday of a lifetime in New Zealand.  As I had no idea whether I would ever travel to such a far flung destination again, I wanted to see as much of this gorgeous country as possible, and so embarked on a road trip around both North and South Island.

What never ceased to amaze me about New Zealand, was the spectacular variation in scenery within such short distances.  And the views!!  I was gasping at some new and splendid vista every five minutes.  I have no idea where else in the world you can gaze upon a glacier one moment, then a beautiful white sandy beach with a snow-capped mountainous backdrop the next, but I want to go there!

Wanake, South Island

The thing that really made New Zealand the experience of a life-time, was all the individual little experience-of-a-lifetimes that I packed in to just one trip.  The Kiwis are an adventurous and outdoorsy people, and the knowledge that I might not travel to New Zealand again was enough of a spur to goad me into all sorts of activities that I may well not have enjoyed in the UK, and I’ll mention 2 of my favourites here.

Black Water Rafting

Black water rafting involves suiting up in a supersexy wetsuit the likes of which would make Angelina Jolie look like a beached whale (I suggest you take a few moments here to breathe fervent thanks to your Deity of choice that there are no photos of me in this glorious piece of attire.  Putting on an already-wet wetsuit involves a lot of leaping up and down, swearing, and fairly graceless squirming), then climbing, crawling and floating on an inflatable ring through underground caves run through by a river, and spotted with glow worms.  It is utterly and breathtakingly beautiful, and I highly recommend it.

Waitomo, North Island

Tandem Parascending

Tandem parascending involves shackling yourself to a strapping New Zealander (“Where do I sign up?”, I hear the ladies cry), who is in turn shackled to a parachute.  The parachute is carefully unfurled on the ground behind the intrepid pair, who then run full pelt down the steepest hill they can find.  It was unnerving to say the least, convinced as I was that I would fall face down in the dirt, which it transpired is impossible to do.  The second you set off the parachute fills and is pulling you insistently vertical with such grim determination, that eventually you realise you are in fact airborn, with your legs still frantically pumping underneath you like a cartoon character who’s just run off the edge of a cliff!

Once airborn, parascending is an incredibly tranquil sport.  Attached to the strapping of the parachute was a sort of “seat” that I wriggled my way onto, so the ride was both comfortable and surprisingly tranquil.  The parachute glides peacefully rather than falls, and my strapping Kiwi steered and turned us gradually so that I could take in all the magnificent snow-capped moutain scenery.  He also had a camera at the end of a long pole which meant I had 12 wonderful photos of my fantastic experience.

Queenstown, South Island

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7 Responses to N is for New Zealand

  1. I did Black Water Rafting in NZ and can concur with your recommendation. Glow worms -pretty.
    We did par ascending behind a boat but running! How did you get down/where did you land.
    Didn’t get to go to the South Island but can make the following addition to your list. Zorbing, Swooping, Reverse Bungy, Tandem Bungy (with Cath), Luging down a mountain in the pouring rain.
    Loved NZ.

    • Jay says:

      The landing was a touch on the rough side! We landed in a field at the bottom of the mountain, but you swoop in at an angle, so have to kind of run along the ground before coming to a halt.

      Also on my list were swimming with dolphins (got the most fleeting glimpse before they scarpered due to idiotic brazilian girls kicking and screaming in the water for no known reason), a helicopter ride over the thermal park, swooping, a skydive, lugeing, whale watching, horse-trekking, shotover jet…I think that’s it 🙂

  2. Tracy Zhang says:

    What an adventure you had! I want to go there one day!

  3. Stacey says:

    Ha! Kirsty, I spit on your tandem bungee – I had to do it on my own! NZ is indeed an awesome place and I’d love to go back there one day – never did see South Island so could go for that!

  4. Jay says:

    Urgh, I can’t bring myself to do a bungee. It’s not so much the drop as the ping-back-up bit. Plus the potential effect on already knackered knees freaks me out a little.

  5. Pingback: S is for Sky dive | Jay's Insight

  6. Pingback: U is for Uphill struggle | Jay's Insight

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