This past weekend, Arcadia students at Otago and one from Canterbury went to Queenstown for our included activity weekend. Jane actually lives there, so she met us there. We were bused over in an Otago Explorer bus, stopping at Roxburgh for lunch. Roxburgh doesn't have much in it except the famous Jimmy's Pies. And boy, are they delicious! More expensive than your usual pie, but only by a dollar or two and the difference in taste is astounding. I got mince and cheese and a Frank's Damn Tasty Ginger Beer.
Central Otago, which we drove through, is beautiful, much like all of New Zealand. It has striking rock formations everywhere in this one stretch.
An attempt to capture Central Otago's scenery through a fogged-up bus window.
We arrived in Queenstown at our accomodation, the Lakeview Holiday Park. We checked into our rooms and met up not long after to walk to the Skyline Gondola. We went up it to where you get on the luge. Here's an example of the view from the gondola:
In that shot you can see most of Queenstown and a bit of Lake Wakatipu. At the top we stopped at a lovely viewing platform:
We then got to go on the luge, which was 3 wheeled plastic carts that you could steer and brake. Here's the luge track:
The luge was pretty fun.
We were on our own for dinner. We got tramping snacks at the Fresh Choice supermarket and Becky and I went to Fergburger for dinner. It was quite good, though not as good as Dunedin's own Velvet Burger. The last thing that happened before sleep was that a random guy wandered into our room, acting like he was on drugs. It was weird because two of the girls were just coming in from seeing Dark Knight, so we thought they had brought him, but they thought we had met him. Quite awkward indeed. It took several minutes to get him out of the room.
On Saturday morning all but three of us (who went to Coronet Peak to ski/snowboard) had to be out and ready by 7:45. We took the bus out to Routeburn Shelter, which is the start of the Routeburn Track. The track begins with a swing bridge - the first of many.
One of the many swing bridges.
The track then goes through a lovely forest, going gently up and down. After the first couple hours, we took a morning tea break. The trees were tiny and it felt like Lord of the Rings. We then went off-piste (off the track) for a bit, into a stunning valley.
Walking through the valley.
We got back on the track and it started going up steeply.
There were sheer cliff faces, and stunning views. Eventually we got to the Routeburn Falls Hut and ate lunch. It was, in fact, near a waterfall.
After the break at the hut, some of us went up further. We left our packs at the hut. We were now past the treeline and there was snow. It was some fun hiking and amazing scenery.
A neat little rock cave
We got all the way to Lake Harris.
As you can see, this was a magnificent hike. It was 26km in all (about 14 miles). That night we went to Winnie Bago's to get delicious pizza and then watched the All Blacks game (we won against Australia, by a lot).
The next morning we went jetboating on the Shotover River. Then we had lunch in Queenstown (again at Fergburger) and then stopped by Arrowtown for 20 minutes. Arrowtown was an old goldmining town, and the site of at least one LOTR scene.
This is where they filmed a scene of Frodo and Arwen crossing a river, chased by Nazgul.
After that, we went to the Kawarau Bridge, which is the original bungy site (first commercial site in the world). Three of us (Kate, Stacy, and I) went to bungy. We got weighed and our weight (in kilos) was written on our hands. We then went straight out to the bridge, where they put the same harnesses you rock climb in on us. Kate was first up, and surprised me with her boldness. At this point I was cussing and wondering what I'd gotten myself into, and thinking I would never have the courage to jump off a bridge. Stacy was reassuring me it would be great, until she was actually up to jump and then she was like "holy crap!" but she didn't hesitate, either. Then it was my turn. They had me sit down while they wrapped a towel around my ankles and wrapped a cord around that. That got attached to the bungy cord, and so did the harness for a backup. Then I was instructed to waddle to the edge (legs were bound together, remember). I took the tiniest steps possible and held onto the building as long as I could. Then the guy told me to pretend not to be scared and wave at the camera. Then, it seemed like everything was going too fast, and he said "ok, jump on 1" and counted down from 5. My mind was thinking "no, I need more time to think about this!" but instead of that happening, when he said one it was like I had to jump, my body made me, it definitely wasn't my mind which was still terrified. So I jumped.
It was fantastic. It was such an incredible rush, not like anything I've ever felt before. So much fun. After a few bounces, guys in a raft came to get me, but first asked me what 12 times 3 was. Anyway, I was thoroughly happy and buzzing on adrenalin for hours after that. We made our way home, stopping by Lawrence to get dinner on the way. Dunedin was sort of disappointing after such a fantastic weekend, but oh well.