Day 25 – early morning tumble dryer run found me, running around camp in my pyjamas as first one machine was used, another faulty, third time lucky accessed through the toilets! By now totally dis-orientated – doesn’t take much – I managed to get hopelessly lost as I weaved this way and that between tents, motor homes, tent cars before ending up on the road. Eventually Aromoana was sited with anxious long-suffering standing at the door ready to rally a search party!
Ziptree Tour Queenstown – the zipline was on my itinery, but not on the long-sufferings. His fear of heights the stumbling block. Now pre accident he would have happily waved me off, post accident he has become my champion! And so it was with trepidation he joined me for the mammoth ninty minute climb up steep, rocky terrain along zig-zag paths, zooming mountain bikes and more steps to the starting platforms. We could have gone up in the gondola a less sweaty experience but we were booked for that and the restaurant later.
We took the four line experience a medium run starting 2,500ft high in pine forest a short distance from the sky tower. Groups were any number to a maximum of ten, we were lucky to have only us and one other couple from Minnesota. There followed safety, harnesses and finally we were all on the first high platform with our two instructors Meg and Martin.
The first line was a shortish, slower, get you used to it affair, but still daunting to walk down and off the steep steps into a void with thick pine forest on either side. I was pushed forward to go first, poor long-suffering nervously taking second place. Wow, wow, wow, sooo exhilarating, I felt I was flying, no time to look around and then stop it was over. Safety is paramount here and at no time are you left un-clipped unless behind the safety gates, useful as I tripped getting up!
There was a delay from the other end as Long-suffering psyched himself up for the mammoth leap of faith in front of him. And then through the intercom, he was on his way.
He survived intact, and was ready to zip the remaining three, that steadily increased to the last – the length of the first three combined. On the second we were now set our first challenge leaning backwards off the platform and flipping upside down!
Long-sufferings turn to go first, really, that was never going to happen! Choosing the straight option off he went without too much stalling this time – maybe because I was watching.
Last to go – challenge still not taken – it was down to me not to disappoint. Alone on the steps, my back to the wire, it was my turn to stall this time, not for fear of the wire, rather could I while moving flip upside down and curl my legs around the clips keeping me on? Meg, very patiently assured me I could do this!
It turned out I could, with not a dislocation in sight and wow what a great if a little scary experience it turned out to be. I did let out one expletive – bloody hell – not very loud I thought, until it was mentioned at the platform as Meg zipping wildly, joined us. On every platform we had a short but interesting eco talk, we both felt quite proud that a lot of the issues raised we were already addressing in our lives back home and since being in NZ.
Third wire, new challenge, backwards off the steps, eyes closed and no hands. The long-suffering showed how far he had come and with the exception of letting go rose to the challenge. I happily let that minor fact go – I couldn’t bring myself to let go either! And then the longest one, no challenges, just hang on, enjoy the ride with beautiful views over the lake! Perfect. Not so perfect though back at the top with our belongings, was the sixty minutes scramble down the steep rocky, rooted terrain!
Next up, bikes off and cycle to Queenstown gardens, bit hilly in places, our legs slightly fatigued from the earlier mountain climb!
Lovely gardens, relaxing amongst stately trees and fauna.
Evening, another hurdle for the long-suffering, the Skyline gondola ride up to the Skyline restaurant. More food to feed his fear of heights as well as his belly in equal measure!
We were not disappointed, buffet style the food was excellent, anything from Mediterranean,Thai, Japanese, fish dishes lots of juicy meat – relief for long-suffering – and desserts galore. Hot and plenty of it we certainly ate our money’s worth.
Tomorrow we head to the glaciers…….