Evan and Lie came to visit back in March, and we had such a good time running around New Zealand together. It was pretty much non-stop laughs, mixed with a lot of radio sing-alongs. For their debut on the blog, I figured I should start with their arrival, which was to Queenstown - also delayed significantly. And in keeping with the Queenstown festivities, I'm including the zip-lining tour that Lie and I did after dropping Evan back off at the airport at the end of his visit.
I haven't flown in or out of Queenstown yet, so I haven't gotten to see this view, but I figured it was worth sharing:
Amazing, huh? I've been pretty impressed with some of the airplane pics my friends have taken on their flights down. Here's another:
So after a lot of adjustments to our plans and quick messages to get the updated flight information and all that, the arrangements were made, and I was away to Qtown to go pick up my weary travelers. But as it turned out, their delays had actually put them in Auckland overnight, so they had somewhat adjusted already and were ready for adventure right off the bat. So I found them along the lakeshore in downtown Q-town, and we decided the only right way to spend the rest of the afternoon was to take the gondola up the mountain right there and do the roller-luge! - after a quick stop at Patagonia for some ice cream, of course! they are lucky I didn't stop there first, then go try to find them!
Lie at Lake Wakatipu! Welcome to NZ!
Mountaintops here we come!
Happy Reunion in the Gondola! Or maybe we were just excited for the luge!
At the Top!
I kind of lied there. From this spot, you actually get on another small ski lift to get to the top of the roller luge:
Note the guy with the sweet mohawk. I wonder how that looked after he had to put that helmet on...
OHHHHH Man! This is gonna be AWESOME!!! They make you do your first run on the starter track, then you can move on to the advanced track if you want. You sit on those little carts like those people are doing- obviously... but to go forward you lean forward and push the handlebars forward. to brake, you pull back. the tricky part is if you lean all the way forward, it just brakes hard.
I don't want to brag, but I was a natural at this. some unsuspecting woman was ahead of me on the course, and I am pretty sure she will have PTSD from me passing her with such speed and aggression... It probably haunts her dreams just hearing me scream "coming through!!!" and just whizzing by. Evan and Lie saw the whole thing - or should I say they didn't because they blinked and I had passed her. Evan can vouch for it. true story.
Three Amigos with our luge helmets! That pretty much set the tone for the rest of our trip. Fast, hilarious, and exciting.
The top of the mountain offers several other adventure activities, including mountain biking (you can hook your bike to the gondola to take it up and you can ride down on the bike if you are brave enough... I"m not). Or you can jump off of this platform for a combination bungy/canyon swing that promises a seamless transition from free-fall to swinging... we watched, and it was certainly not seamless. The seam was right at the bottom of the free-fall, and it kind of makes your head snap and you seem to get the air kind of knocked out of you.... no thanks.
We also took a little drive up along the lake for some evening views, and this was what we got to see. Not too shabby, eh? this is on the way to a town called Glenorchy.
And that was pretty much it for Day 1.
The remainder of this post is from towards the end of the trip. We had just dropped Evan back off at the airport, and Lie had a NZ must-do to still cross off her list: Zip-Lining. Lucky for us, that same mountain has a zip line course all the way down it. This time, we opted for the hike up instead of the gondola. We were told it should take about an hour. It isn't really marked that much, so we couldn't tell what pace we were on, so we just kept going really fast, and we made it in under 30 minutes. And we were very tired. Luckily we had these crazy chairs cut from tree stumps to rest on during our hike up.
Once all rested up at the top, we got suited up and were ready to fly the friendly skies a la Zip Line.
They call zip-lining Flying Foxes here. Hard to argue when you see this picture, huh? Huh??? Get it? A couple of foxes right there! ok...sorry. I'll move on.
Lie getting locked in for one of her rides. Watch as she performs her stunts as she goes:
Yep, she's upside down. on purpose. the guides gave us all challenges for each line. We nailed every one of them. Lie excelled at the no-hands upside down challenge. My personal best was when they wanted us to yell for an entire line - one of the longer ones. Everyone had their own battle cry. I opted for a classic Tarzan cry. I had it until I started laughing at the end because I thought it would sound really funny because I was spinning on the line and just imagined it getting louder and quieter like a siren as I came hurdling towards the platform... ahhhhHHHHhhhhhhHHHHHHhhhhhhHHHHHHhhhhh : )
Here's a quick video of one of the take-offs on the longest line with the best views of the lake, so this one is more for taking in the scenery, not so much speed:
More peaceful than expected. It's more thrilling if you do a backwards trust fall to nothing or start with a back somersault.
No kidding: I actually took this picture from that zip line in the video. spectacular.
But this is what you see on all the other lines. Just a crazy blur.
Coming in for a landing.
good 'ole Queenstown. Always delivers for a good time.