The bus from Dunedin was a late afternoon one, but most hostels i've been to seem happy to let you hang around and use the facilities, as long as you're out the room by 10am. Arrived late into Queenstown. The journey on the way here was much more scenic with large mountains and lakes, the views people come to see.
Queenstown is known as an adventure town, and there's plenty to do. The town itself is quite small but has plenty of shops, its easy to find your way around quickly and learn where everything is. The town is situated next to lake Wakatipu, one of the largest in the south island. As a result you get a good few of the surrounding mountains on the lake from town. The remarkable's are the main set of mountains surrounding the town.
It rained all day today, though it did stop late afternoon, enough for me to quickly walk around and take some photos. I managed to take 76 photos in 2 hours, one every couple of minutes, seems like this is going to be a regular occurrence with the views in New Zealand.
Today the weather is much better, bright sun and blue sky's, though strangely still cold enough to wear jeans and a jacket, or maybe that's just me. Got a bus this morning for a sightseeing tour of Queenstown and the surrounding area. Though it wasn't a normal New Zealand bus, it was a red double decker London bus. We went to a few look out points to take photos, as well as the AJ Hackett site where they do bungy jumping. Got to see a few people jump, it doesn't look as bad after watching people do it, but would still think twice before doing it. The tour went on to Arrow town, an old mining town, Queenstown was once famous for its gold mining. After a few more sites the tour ended in the afternoon, so I looked around town... took more photos.
Got up early for a tour to Milford Sound, an area in the south declared a 'must see'. Took a long coach journey to Te Anau before moving on to Milford. Great views along the way, even if I did sleep for part of it. Milford sound is a national park area. This area of land was carved out by glaciers and as a result is surrounded by spectacular snow capped mountains and valleys. After driving through the valleys we boarded a boat for a two hour cruise along Milford, the body of water that leads out to the sea. The mountains are full of rivers which run down the cliffs as waterfalls, a few of which the boat went through. Was also meant to be a few dolphins around but we didn't see any, did see a couple sun bathing seals though. After another picturesque drive through the valleys it was a long journey back to Queenstown, arriving late evening.
Got up early to extend my booking at the hostel. At the same time I enquired about the availability of doing a skydive. Its something i'd considered but hadn't got round to booking. The person at reception called the company and told me there was a space left and that I could go in 40 minutes! I accepted, thinking it would be better to book and do it without having time to worry about it. I quickly got ready and made my way down the street to the shop where they explain what's going to happen and ask you to sign your life away.
A few of us got taken to a place just outside Queenstown consisting of just a couple of buildings and a few small planes. I was due to jump in the second group so waited around and watched the first group coming down.
It was then my turn to get a jump suit, hat and goggles. Met the instructor I was going to be strapped to as well as the camera man who was going to be filming me and taking photos. After a few instructions we all piled into the plane, all sitting on the floor up against each other. As we went up the instructor pointed out a few landmarks, not that I was worried about the view.
We eventually reached 12,000 feet. A couple of people in front of me shuffled forward and I watched as they jumped out. It was soon my turn, I sat on the edge with my feet hanging out, arms holding the straps and face up. Before I had a chance to consider what an earth I was doing the instructor pushed us out... safe to say that was pretty scary. From what I vaguely remember, inbetween the fear, we were free falling for around 45 seconds. The feeling of falling that fast was terrifying, though I didn't really notice the ground getting closer as we were advised to always look up... especially for photos. I'm sure I tried to shout, but nothing came out.
After a few photos the camera man waved to us, this confused me, until the parachute opened and we shot upwards, slightly unexpectedly... for me anyway. Once the parachute was open we calmly drifted down to the airfield. Its a strange feeling, like you're floating, until the instructor suddenly pulled to one side. After a smoothish landing it was all over. I think I did pretty well considering my dislike of heights and falling. Though in most of the photos the instructor is smiling and looking at the camera while I just look terrified. Still, a good experience.
Collected the photos, video and certificate and went back to the hostel. Sat down for a bit.
Didn't have much planned for today as its already been an expensive week. Finally got a hair cut and bought some new sunglasses as mine unfortunately broke. Just got some other stuff booked. Off tomorrow to Franz Josef for a glacier walk/tour.