The final destination before our flight over to Australia was the town of Queenstown. Queenstown was a destination that had been recommended by everyone who we had spoken to before and during the trip. A very cool, beautiful little resort town which was known for a brilliant combination of both chilling out and adrenaline!
I took advantage of both of these things………
Apart from a day trip out to the (equally stunning) town of Wanaka, I wanted the time to stop and just enjoy the time for the final week before beginning the next leg of the journey over to Sydney.
Day Trip in Wanaka Pics…..
Nothing too exciting in the first few days. Just enough time to chill out, visit a few bars, take in a bit of outdoor live music, and even take part in a local poker tournament – I made it to the final table but came in 5th – just outside of the money payouts…ouch! :-)
Although Queenstown definitely has the views to relax in, you can’t help but notice something else is going on in the town.
Nice bit of acoustic guitar? ……. but is that a paraglider landing in the lake behind you?
Stroll along the waterfront?….is that guy walking on water?
Yep, Queenstown seems to have one thousand creative ways you can use gravity and fall!
After 3 or 4 days of this, I took the plunge and decided to get involved. And if I’m going to pay for falling, I want to get the most value per second!
I signed myself up to a skydive! It’s always been something of a bucket-list item that I’ve had, and what better place to do it then surrounded by mountains in the sun?
I arrive at the nzone center for an introduction video followed by being taken to the take off point. Had a bit of a wander around the site, played some massive, pre-flight Jenga and spoke to a couple of Taiwanese ladies who recommended some stops in Taiwan and Thailand for the trip. We also got to see the routine that the tandem skydivers go through in between flights – repacking the parachutes! I’m not sure if this was a good or bag thing for people’s nerves. It didn’t look all that technical! It was like packing a sleeping bag!
When it’s our turn to get geared up and get on the plane, I’m helped out by a young man, who can’t be more than 18 years old. He starts strapping the various belts and harnesses to my jumpsuit.
“Now remember, if this buckle breaks…….just turn around and grab onto the instructor really tight, ok?”, the kid says without cracking a smile as this is the 10000th time he has told that joke.
“How many times have you been up yourself?”, I ask him.
“Ten.”, he replies.
“Cool, do you get a discount because you work here?”
“Actually I get it for free, my parents own the company.”
Hmmmmm………now I’m not a fan of nepotism at the best of times. But in this case, while he’s tugging on the various belts and buckles now on my body, I really, really wanted him to have gotten this job through merit!
I meet Scott, my skydiving partner.
“Craig, right?”, he asks
“Nice to meet you! Are you the guy who’s going to be saving my life today?”
“That’s right!” Scott smiles, “and the weird thing is I’ll be saving you from yourself”
We walk over to the plane, and I have a request.
“Do you have your arms free while we dive?”
“To an extent, why?”
“This may sound like a bit of a random request, but while we’re falling could you put me in a choke hold”, and I position my arms into the rear naked choke position.
Scott looks puzzled and I explain the blog doing and trying to attempt to keep Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training up whilst travelling.
Scott laughs, “Believe it or not, I’ve never been asked to do that before…..I’ll see what I can do!”
“Just don’t hold on for too long and put me out ok?, I do want to see the views on the way down!” :-)
On the way up I have a chat to Brian, who is a camera man who does the dive with you in order to take some pics.
“Hey Brian!”, Scott shouts above the noise of the plane, “This guy wants me to put him in a choke hold while were in free fall! Make sure you get a pic!” and Brian starts laughing and shaking his head.
I’m not really going to do a good job of describing the skydiving experience. I’m just going to leave the word “Amazing” here and the rest you can check from the pics and video.
2 Final thoughts:
- Goodbye New Zealand! It’s been Brilliant!
- Scott, if you ever want to take up BJJ, you have the knack for it! That choke was in deep!