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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Queenstown and river boarding

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 20 January 2006 | Views [925]

            It was my 14th day in Aotearoa/New Zealand today, and it was yet another adventurous one. It was my day to go river boarding on the Kawarau River. Last night I fell asleep at 3 AM, so Mike had to wake me at 7 AM. I got ready quickly and didn’t have time for brekkie, which is what Aussies and Kiwis usually call breakfast. Jemma, Adam and I were all doing the river boarding trip. So, the bus picked us up at the lodge and off we were. The drive was about 50 minutes. I was a little tired, but awake. I haven’t really been tired at all on this trip. With the combination of caffeine, excitement, and adrenaline, I’ve had so much fuel! We got to the river board place and we were given each a wetsuit, helmet, jacket, and flippers to put on. It was chilly, but sunny. I didn’t care. It’s all about having fun. We got all dressed up and we drove to our starting point 7 kilometres upstream (about 4 miles). We walked down there and I stepped in the water, which of course was cold. Our instructors showed us the basics such as how to turn our board and all that. After a few minutes of practice, we were in the currents. The first kilometre was the most difficult, but it was very fun. I lost control of my board for a second, but I was able to hold on. Downstream a bit, I ran into a rock and my board flipped. This seemed to be more dangerous than skydiving. However, I feel that since I’ve been skydiving I can do anything! I was having so much fun, and kept trying to keep up with Jemma. After about an hour of being in the river, the instructor brought out the jet ski and started towing us two at a time around the river. Jemma and I went together and it was really awesome! After we finished riverboarding, we had the chance to jump off a ten meter high rock into the river. I thought I’d give it a fair go. I went up on the rock, took a deep breath, and jumped with all my heart! My butt hurt on impact, but it was a cool jump. After that, I was freezing, and ready to get that wetsuit off. What a fun ride it was! We walked back up to the shop and returned our wetsuits. I thought about getting some of the river boarding pictures, but I opted not to. I then went up to the café and got a blueberry muffin and a Diet Coke. There was gold panning at the place as well, but I didn’t have time. It was time to go back. We dropped off some of the other river boarders first and the three of us were taken back to the lodge. I was supposed to go on the Shotover Jet boat today, but it was cancelled. Rose had asked me earlier if I wanted to join her on the Canyon Swing, but I couldn’t find her. So, the rest of the day was free. I relaxed for an hour and then took the shuttle down to Queenstown. I went to McDonald’s for lunch first and got my usual: Chicken McNuggets, French fries, Diet Coke. Then, I cashed the rest of my traveller’s checks. The conversion rate was very good. After that, I booked a Kawarau Jet boat ride for 4:30. While I waited, I got a Red Bull and went to the post office and mailed Mom her paua shell. I think she’ll love it! After leaving the post office I got a picture of another Starbucks, which I’ve seen in three countries. At 4:30, I was ready for the jet boat ride. I put on the life jacket provided and jumped in. This jet boat ride was more scenic than the Huka Jet, but this one didn’t do as many spins. We went up the Kawarau River, and then up the Shotover River, which was very shallow. The skipper pointed out some of the mountains. The ride was about an hour long. After the ride, I went down to the underwater observatory. I saw some huge trout. They had to have weighed at least 15 lbs. each! There was a machine that you put a dollar in and food gets dropped down. It was funny watching them flock to it. I also learned that trout are territorial fish, and that those particular trout will likely stay there for the rest of their lives. I watched the trout for like 10 minutes and then got my camera and passport and left. I wasn’t sure what to do after that. I thought about going back to the lodge and getting a 1 hour massage. I mean, Nikki did a fantastic job on me last night. But, Jemma told me about the luge up at the Skyline Restaurant. I mean, $22 for five goes, you can’t beat that. So, that’s what I did. I got myself a pizza pie (which is similar to a meat pie), and soda and then utilized my free gondola ticket for my lift up to the luge. On the gondola, I met a 14-year-old boy who went skydiving here. He works at a supermarket and lives somewhere on the North Island. Back home, you have to be 16 to work at most places. I paid for my luge ticket and was showed the basics. I did the scenic track first. Before today, I had thought the luge was the gondola, because I didn’t do the luge in Rotorua. It was really cool! The next four goes; I went on the advanced track, which had slopes and all that. Afterward, I felt thankful that I did the Rainbow Springs in Rotorua because they have a luge here. Afterward, I took the shuttle back to the lodge. Tonight was our walkabout dinner, and I wanted to find out where everyone was going. Everyone was hanging out in the bar, so I got a cheese pizza and shot some pool. Tonight is our third and final night in Queenstown. It’s such a lively town and I’m really going to miss it! I’ll always remember it as the town of my first skydive. I ate my pizza and got relaxed. I had a few Diet Cokes and Tom bought me an Export Gold. I played some more pool and then went and did some laundry. Everyone talked about going to the bar. I wanted to go at first, but I decided to pass this time because I was really exhausted after a long day. I talked to Jacki for a few minuets before saying goodnight. I showered and got ready for bed. Tomorrow, I go bungee jumping off the Kawarau Bridge, where it all began back in 1988. I’m going to sleep, so have a good night!

Tags: Adventures

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