After about a week of rain, the sun finally emerged as we arrived in Queenstown, the highlight of the South Island. I would grab a cup of tea before reading this post as it’s pretty long… as we ended up staying for about 3 weeks because we loved it so much.
Our first stop before we actually reached the town and the hostel, was the Kawarau Bridge, the home of the first bungy jump. Here we got to sign up for the Nevis Bungy (!!!) that we were going to do the following day, and also watch some people doing the bridge bungy! It was so much fun to watch and made us really excited for the next day.
Tom had been on the fence about whether or not he should do it with Grace and I, but luckily we managed to convince (force) him into joining us. Jess and Jay also signed up for the Nevis Swing. After we were all nervous enough for the next day we headed into Queenstown, where we met Jess and Tom’s friend from home James, grabbed some food and got ready for the evenings pub crawl.
The next day was a nice early start, as we were booked into the first slot of the day for the bungy. I guess it was a good thing as we didn’t have the whole day to fret about it! The Nevis Bungy is a 134m drop, which is an 8 second freefall – WHICH IS A LOT. I think we were all pretty nervous as we got geared up and headed out to the gorge.
Jess got the honour of joining us out on the cable car to watch us. We would later return the favour watching her and Jay on the swing.
There was really loud party music playing that got you all pumped up. We jumped in weight order so Tom was the first of the 3 of us to go. Grace and I were last, and second last of the whole group, which meant plenty of time to get nervous. I don’t think I was properly nervous until I was sat in the chair getting attached.
Once I was all attached, I then had to shuffle up to the edge, give the camera a wave and listen for the countdown. It was pretty terrifying going up to the edge and looking down… they gave the 3…2…1… and I JUMPED!
Most definitely one of the best experiences of my life. And the views on the way back up were also incredible. Once I was safely back on firm ground, we watched Grace make her jump, before heading over to the Nevis Swing to watch Jess and Jay.
It was safe to say Jess was pretty terrified. We got to watch a couple of people go before they did, and I can safely say it looked scary! But luckily for Jess and Jay, they had Grace pressing the button to release them… cue the false countdown and sudden drop! Hahaha. But they survived!
With our fill of adrenaline for the day, we headed back to the hostel as proud new owners of t-shirts and certificates…
Once back at the hostel, we caught up with Sophie, Fady and James as the plan for the afternoon was to go luging. We’d loved it so much in Rotorua we couldn’t miss the opportunity in Queenstown too.
The luging started from the top of the Queenstown gondalas, which gave a beautiful view of the town, lake and surrounding mountains.
I’m so glad it had snowed in the mountains as they looked amazing!
The gang at the top of the gondala! (Photo cred: Sophie).
Luckily Grace was tall enough…
We all agreed, the luging tracks weren’t as good as the ones in Rotorua, but because there was 8 of us, it was like real-life Mario Kart, and we were all pretty keen to win. We all got quite competitive, with Grace and Fady jamming there karts in order to beat one another at the end!
After one of the best days of my travels, we decided to treat ourselves to a legendary Ferg Burger. For those of you who don’t know, Ferg Burger is a little burger restaurant in Queenstown, where you have to queue for an hour just to order, and then wait even more before getting your actual order. Think of it like getting into a really popular club on a night out. But you get food at the end. And my God is the food worth it (maybe).
Whilst in Queenstown, we all got to practice our frisbee golf skills, as there was a course in the park nearby. I’m pretty sure none of us had ever tried it before, or if we had you couldn’t tell! In the 2 weeks I spent in Queenstown, I feel safe in saying I actually got worse each time I played.
(Photo cred: Tom and Jess Stones.)
After our first taste of the Nevis Bungy, Grace and I decided that we actually wanted to try all 3 of the bungy’s in Queenstown, the Ledge bungy and the Kawarau bridge.
For the ledge bungy, we were joined by James, who was the one who actually convinced us to do it in the first place. With the ledge bungy, you were attached around the waist rather than at the feet, which meant you could literally run and jump off the edge…
I think I remember being offered the opportunity to look over the edge first, which I promptly declined.
It was also about half the drop of the Nevis, so not quite as scary, but still quite nerve-racking to just jump off the edge!
Our final bungy of the trip was the Kawarau bridge, which was the first ever bungy! This had the added bonus of being able to be dunked in the river at the end of the drop. Grace and I decided it would be fun to do our final one together, backwards, and dunked fully in the water!
The guys at the top even recognised us from the other jumps, so had pleasure in telling us how likely it was we’d die… haha
We were told to hold hands at the top so neither of us would cling onto the bridge! And we were also told to tuck our chins in once we started falling, because if our faces hit the water we could get a black eye!
On the way down I had almost forgotten we were getting dunked, so it was actually a shock when we hit the water REALLY HARD.
It was actually so painful where we hit our shoulders on the water, my back was red for about 2 days after! But it was so much fun doing it together.
The final 2 activities we took part in in Queenstown were both hikes. One of them was a short hike up Queenstown hill, where you got a great view of the whole town, lake and surrounding mountains. By the time Grace and I got round to doing this, everyone else had left, so we did this one by ourselves.
I think in total it was about a 2 hour return trip, but as always with New Zealand, the views did not disappoint.
We even saw this on the way down… very appropriate!
The other hike we did was Ben Lomond, which we did on our last day altogether in Queenstown. Jess and Tom decided to sit this one out, so it was myself, Grace, Jay and Chris taking on the hike.
We were told this was a whole day affair, so we came prepared with snacks and drinks (provided by Jay thankfully). We set off around 10am, and got lucky with the weather as it was really sunny!
It is very safe to say my fitness levels had dropped since my hiking days in South America, as a lot of the hike consisted of Jay and Chris storming off and me and Grace chilling behind… doesn’t help that Jay is a personal trainer so he had an advantage.
But we were lucky with some incredible views on the way up.
On the last struggle to the top, someone told us we only had 15 minutes left to go which was maybe the nicest thing I had ever heard.
But we made it! And of course, it was worth it!
And with that, our time in New Zealand with our kiwi friends came to an end, with some very emotional goodbyes. Tom and Jess were heading off to the USA for the rest of their honeymoon, Jay and Chris were heading back up north whilst Grace and I went south…