Existing Member?

Travelling 02/02/10-02/08/10 Round the world in 182 days

Glaciers, bungy, etc....New Zealand, the South Island

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 5 May 2010 | Views [611] | Comments [3]

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

We have now been in New Zealand for just over two weeks, making our way across the South Island on the Kiwi Experience – a hop on, hop off bus service, that takes you to the major cities and towns across New Zealand, stopping at points of interest along the way.  We started our time here in Christchurch, where I met up with the girls for the first time.  We spent the day in the gorgeous sunshine wandering round the city, which we were surprisingly fond of given that we hadn’t heard the best things about it.  


Having spent just the one night in Christchurch, we decided to head straight off to commence our Kiwi Experience.  We met up with our driver, Morrie, who, it turns out, is renowned for being one of the two worst drivers (just generally not a nice guy) out of the 30 or so Kiwi Experience drivers.  So unfortunately he slightly tainted our first week or so on the Kiwi Experience.  But we still had an amazing time – stopping off quite often to see the amazing scenery, visiting local places of interest etc.  From Christchurch, we moved to Westport – a godforsaken town, where luckily we only stayed for one night, which we just spent at a local pub.  From there, we went for an overnight stop at a hostel in Lake Mahipau (can’t really remember what it’s called), where every Kiwi Experience bus stops for a fancy dress night, which was pretty good Franz Josef, which is a small township named after the glacier it neighbours.  We spent an amazing day there hiking across the glacier, which is the main activity to do in Wanaka.  The weather continued to worsen whilst we were in Franz Josef, and the 2 days before we went on our hike, all other hikes had been cancelled due to severe weather conditions.  Luckily, ours still managed to go ahead, even though our guide told us that she was convinced it wouldn’t as it was the worst weather she’d ever climbed the glacier in.  Great.  Nonetheless, we had an amazing day, battling the severe winds and heavy rain.  Our guide even managed to lose her axe, which she was using to carve out steps in the ice for us to climb on.  So we were in a slightly worse situation then, but we still persevered, and at least the ice looked more amazing than usual as all the blue ice had been exposed, so it was pretty spectacular.


Onwards to Wanaka, which is a really lovely town on the edge of a big lake (we have seen a lot of these!).  Unfortunately it rained (as it has done a lot of since we got here) for our entire time there, so we didn’t get much of a chance to see the town, other than from our hostel window.  


After Wanaka we moved onto Queenstown, via a local attraction called Puzzling World (lots of optical illusions etc).  On the way, we stopped off at one of the bungy jumping sites, where I signed up for my jump for two days later.  We then spent 5 nights in Queenstown, which has definitely been our favourite place so far, needless to say this has been partially due to it being the best place in New Zealand for nightlife.  The town there is really lovely, with good shops, cafes etc, and it also borders a big lake, which we wandered around.  In Queenstown we were joined by Nick (another friend from uni) and his friend Greg, so it was lovely to spend a few days with them.  


On our second day in Queenstown, I went off to do my Nevis bungy jump (the third highest bungy in the world, at 134m).  Safe to say it was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  The bungy is done from a stationary cable car, suspended in the middle of a valley over a river.  A small moving cage takes you across to the cable car pod, where the bungy team strap two ankle cuffs onto your legs, from which the bungy chord is later attached.  Annoyingly, the jumping is done in reverse weight order, and so not only was I last out of the 13 people from my Kiwi bus who were jumping, but I then also had to wait for a further 6 people who arrived in the pod when the penultimate person from our group was about to jump to bungy before I was able to go.  When it was finally my turn (the last jump of the day!), I was put into a dentist-type chair, where one of the team attached the bungy rope to my feet, and gave a few instructions.  Then the nerves really set in, as I pigeon-stepped to the very edge of the pod, where there is a tiny platform sticking out into mid-air from which you jump.  You have to put your toes on the very edge of the platform, whilst the crew member holds onto the back of your harness.  Then he gives you a count down and you dive off – absolutely heart-stopping.  The sensation of jumping was insane, as the floor hurtles towards you.  After reaching the bottom of the jump, you are then pushed back up, where, at the very top of the jump, there is a 3 second feeling of complete weightlessness, which is very odd.  After a few more up and down bounces, a weight then comes down and you are pulled back up to the pod.  It was an amazing experience, but one that I certainly will not be doing again!


Having left Queenstown, we are now in Kaikoura, where tomorrow we will be swimming with dolphins.  Then onto the North Island, where we will spend a few days in Wellington, and hopefully continue our journey with a better bus driver!




Ems, I am shaking all over,just thinking about poor weather conditions on your glacier track, the lost ice pick and then being last on the bungy jump, when presumably the bungy was slightly worn, but you certainly have a knack for making your blog really scary.Cary had to console me, by pointing out that you will never do these scary things again. Stay safe , all my love GMH

  GMHelga May 5, 2010 6:19 PM


Love reading your blog! Wonder what instructions they give you.......don't run.....? I took some goggles with me into the water so i could look at the dolphins underwater too. If you have time contact my friend Mike in Auckland...64 21 999 486 cell. He and Marie are going off to Rotorua next week! Sounds like you are having a brilliant time.....! lots of love Andre (Uncle)

  Andre Zitcer May 10, 2010 2:00 AM


I read your blog on my revision breaks which doesnt help me concentrate AT ALL!
Your description of the bungee jump just turned my stomach!
So proud of u! And I was confused what the dentist style chair in the pics was used for so thank you for explanation!
Love u xxx

  Jess Howard May 14, 2010 8:45 PM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about New Zealand

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.