Life in Queenstown returned to normal the day after Christmas. Unlike probably any other town in the world, this meant a zillion tour operators began shuffling people to face their fears jumping the 130+ meter Nevis bungy (world’s 2nd highest), skydiving from 15,000 feet, riding the world’s highest swing (109 meters), and a variety of other crazy stunts.
I started the day with a Jetboating ride on the Shotover River which winds through the canyon by the same name. It was fun, though it didn’t instill the fear of death in me. The boats are $250,000 each, and can go in water only a few inches deep. It’s about as tame an experience as you’ll find in Queenstown, though zipping by canyon walls and doing 360’s was good fun. Between the in-your-face advertising, and countless stories from other travelers doing crazy activities, I signed up for one I knew would scare me (I hoped). It’s like a rite of passage if you come to New Zealand.
With my death-defying activity for the next day booked, I spent the afternoon riding up the gondola to take in the scenic views of Queenstown and race the luges a few times. They’re a bit silly, however they give people extra time to take in the scenery. Going under a small tunnel one time, a helicopter had landed on the helipad right above, with its rotors spinning as I zoomed beneath. Meanwhile, paragliders were taking customers off the mountain like clockwork. The Remarkables (mountain range around the lake) received a dusting of snow on Christmas night, which melted off by the end of the following day. I’m glad I grabbed a few photos of them first though. I’d love to see New Zealand in winter some day.