The small town of Wanaka is famous for its Puzzling World, an odd little museum full of mazes and optical illusions. The owner of the museum (a Kiwi of course) has become world famous for his 3D mazes which he has been commissioned to create in Japan, China, North America Europe and beyond. After our quick stop at Puzzling World we continued our bus trip towards Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of the World.
Before arriving in Queenstown we stopped off at the world’s first commercial bungee site – the Kawarau Bridge. The Kiwi’s invented the devilish sport of bungee jumping and I was planning on taking on the biggest bungee in the world during my three day stay in Queenstown. I stood with my friends watching tourists readying themselves to jump off a bridge with an elastic band attached to their ankles and it made me just a little bit ill.
Our bus arrived in Queenstown and I was greeted by Toshi, an energetic Japanese expat who I had connected with on couchsurfing.com and whom I would be staying with for free during the duration of my stay in Queenstown. He walked me to his house and showed me his spare room where I unpacked my things. He was a funny character and a great companion and tour guide during my stay. He grew up in Tokyo and hated the conservative lifestyle in Japan. Once finished university he moved to New Zealand to learn English (he had a funny Japanese-Kiwi English accent which always made me laugh). Once finished his English studies he realized he had fallen in love with Queenstown and has never left. He has a two bedroom apartment which he always has filled with couchsurfers, travelers from around the world come and stay with him. I think he enjoys their company, practicing his English and taking them all out on the town for drinks at his favorite bars.
Toshi works as the captain of an old steamer ship which putters across Lake Wakitipu and I was ever so happy to join him for one of his sailings (for free!) We spent a day walking around town enjoying many of the cities tourist shops and fashion boutiques whilst enjoying lunch at the most famous restaurant in town, Ferburger (which serves up the most monstrous hamburgers on earth)! Queenstown is famous for having the largest number of bars and nightclubs in the country. The nightlife during the ski season is somewhat notorious and is often compared to that of Whistler British Colombia. You see a lot of young men and woman hanging about town who bum around on the slopes all day and drink themselves silly into the evening. Toshi enjoyed his whisky and was a great bar guide.
My most memorable moment in Queenstown was my jump at the AJ Hackett Bungy’s Nevis Bungy, 134m above the rugged Nevis River. With 8.5 seconds of falling it’s a breathtaking ground rush like no other. Even just getting here is fun. My Nevis Highwire Bungy experience kicked off with a rugged 35 minute back-blocks 4×4 drive before being harnessed up, aboard a shuttle and crossing the canyon to the Bungy Pod where I spent a good deal of time in disbelief.
I wasn’t scared at all until I actually was told to stand on the tiny two foot long jump platform. They quickly screamed 1, 2, 3, jump! and I just dove into the air as if I was diving into a pool. I was amazed at how quickly my body dropped and my chest felt as though it weighed 300 pounds. My entire body tensed and I kept thinking to myself “oh my lord!” Falling to your death is an incredible feeling…but springing back to life on a bungee is ideal!