Bungee(ing) from Queenstown to Christchurch

We awoke to a chilly start but had a bit of lay in. There was no planned activities for the day just to drive to Lake Tekapo by dusk. After some breakfast we drove the the two minutes out of the camp site and into town. Parking up, we went and got a much needed hair cut! It had been Hong Kong when we last got it done and we were now well over due. Afterwards we sat in the car and pondered if there was anything to do in town worth while. Queenstown being the adventure capital of New Zealand there was plenty from sky diving to laser quest but our New Zealand budget had already run out, so we decided to hit the rod. Queenstown is definitely a place we’d come back to so we didn’t feel disappointed.

We drove out of Queenstown and tried to fly the drone but the airport was to close and the drone made way to many beeping noises. Driving on we passed out the town and into the country. The colours on the autumn trees were spectacular, beautiful yellows and oranges so we stopped and a signed beauty spot. The beauty spot was for a pretty suspension bridge but 50 cars weren’t here for that. This was the site of the worlds first commercial bungee. After taking photos of the trees we walked over to the Kawarau bridge to have a look at people throwing themselves off and plummeting towards the river. Ooos and ahhhs came from the (mainly Chinese) crowd. We walked in the purpose built bungee centre and before I knew it I had signed myself up for a jump 30 minutes later!!

After a quick jam and peanut butter sandwich, I went and got ready. Mike refused to jump to but would take photos and video from the viewing platform. To be honest it happened very quickly. I was in my harness and sat on the bridge with my legs tided together in under 5 minutes. No queue, no waiting around getting nervous, nothing.

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The girl before me jumped and from where I was sat I couldn’t see her fall. But minutes later the bungees were hauled back up and it was my turn. “Do you want to go in the river?” I was asked and I politely said “no way”. I jumped up and hopped over to the edge. The bungee guy pointed to different directions and I had my photo taken. And then it was all down to me.

I dived off and the river seemed to come at me at an extraordinary speed. The air was sucked out my lungs and I couldn’t scream, shout or swear. Stars came into my vision and then I was yanked back by the bungee. My overriding thought was don’t pass out, blood rushed to my head as I now plunged back towards the river and bounced around.

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Two guys were below in a raft and I was lowered into the boat where they undid all my ropes and harnesses. Lying on my back I could now see just how high 43m was. Doesn’t sound much but it looked huge.

I climbed back up the steps and to the top where I met Mike and watched another person go off. It was an incredible experience and something i’d definitely do again!

Inside we dutifully looked at the photos and video and discovered they were awesome so we had to buy them. Plus I got a free t-shirt! It was then that we bumped into Gabby: a friend of a friend who we last saw at said friends wedding the year before. Amazed at how you can bump into someone on the other side of the world we took a photo and sent it to our mutual friend.

The adrenaline wearing off with continued the drive. Next we stopped at another beauty spot a famous mini power station on a serene river. Kayaks went passed as we snapped and flew the drone.

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Thirty minutes on more we stopped again to snap and fly the drone over some gorgeous yellow trees that all stood in a line.

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The drive kept offering beautiful views around every corner. Another stunning one was called Lindis pass. The road snaked its way through the mountains and the view of snow capped peaks was stunning. It even snowed briefly!

After 4/5 hours of driving we reached Lake Tekapo. We first drove to its most famous site- The Church of the Good Shepard. We had seen online it was an isolated building looking out over the impressive lake. It was indeed isolated expect for a hundred Chinese people getting in the way of every photo from every angle. Frustrated we left, aiming to come back at sunrise when it should be quieter!

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That night we camped at a campsite on the lake. The sky was clear and stars shone brightly but boy was it cold. The coldest it had been all trip since January when we had left. Overnight the car froze over and we both got an awful freezing cold sleep in the back of the van.

In the morning we got up, showered and scrapped the thick ice from the windows. We headed back to the church and waited for sunrise. There were a lot less people than the day before but still way to many. Although this time they were all there with their tripods and moving around every 5/10 minutes for the best spot according to the light. A quick few snaps and drone shots later we drove off.

Today would be our last day in the camper van and we needed to hand it back in Christchurch. We drove and stopped as usual at different spots for photos and some breakfast.

Around 1pm we arrived in Christchurch and headed into the city centre. After eventually finding a parking space we had a quick wander around. The damage from the 2010/11 earthquakes was still evident as the city was still being rebuilt. The cathedral was still half a building and many more buildings were being rebuilt. We visited the Anzac memorial and mooched around the centre.

Before long we got back in the van and headed for the airport where we handed back our little camper van. It had done us proud from Auckland to Wellington and Picton to Queenstown and back up to Christchurch but we looked forward to a proper bed for the night!

Our hotel ‘Jucy Snooze’ was right next to the airport ready for an early flight in the morning to Auckland. Only just opened and very modern it was a welcome rest from the past 10 days on the road.

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