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Sloggs' Travel Blog A journal of my travels in 2008 & beyond...

Queenstown! [Luge crash(!), walking, beer & waiting for clear skies!]

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 7 June 2008 | Views [4285] | Comments [1]

View of the Remarkables Mountain range over Lake Wakatipu

View of the Remarkables Mountain range over Lake Wakatipu

After the drive back up to Queenstown, including a few obligatory stop offs to admire the stunning scenery, we were checked into the YHA and readying for a walk up to the Gondola on the hill near town. The gondola is pretty steep and rises up over 400 meters taking you up to the luge track, 'Ledge' bungy station and hang gliding office, as well as having a restuarant and shop up there of course, selling the standard I 'heart' NZ tshirts... We paid for five luge rides, as I knew it was going to be good after doing it in Rotorua. As is usual on these tracks, you have to take the 'scenic' route on your first run, which helps you get used to the controls. The luges here were the same as the ones I rode in Rotorua, meaning that my long legs would have a negative impact on braking performance as the handle couldn't be pulled all the way back to stop! It was also wet/icy under foot, meaning the track had some potential for some 'interesting' moments. Chris was obviously quietly confident, as he was now the proud experienced 'little red sports car' driver that we all know and love. The first runs went well, but disaster struck on the third run, on the advanced track! Turns two, three and four were a series of tight chicanes, tightening into the fourth corner... I found these a little tricky on the first run, but as long as you brake enough before three, you'll get through. Chris went first on this run, and hammered off down the slope at breakneck speeds, disappearing around corner two out of my line of sight. I was now looking for the sweetest line into this corner, to nail three and four with the minimum of slow down, and as I came (perfectly I might add) around three, there was Chris, sliding slowly to a stop, right on the racing line, one hand in the gravel outside the track barrier and his ass sliding along the floor! Fuck! I was screwed... I pulled the handlebar back as hard as I could (against my knees) but the wet surface had my single-braking front wheel sliding and I had to ditch it over the side to try and stop! As instinct is a bitch, I put my hand out onto the concrete and tipped the luge over trying to find some way to avoid slamming straight into the back of Chris (who by now was laughing at his misfortune!). I managed to slow down a lot, but the front of my now sideways luge still hit Chris right in the middle of his back, and I was now sporting grazing to my right ass cheek and right palm. Luckily no serious injuries were collected, and we moved off pretty quickly to make sure we weren't collected by anyone else on that corner! No such further incidents happened, and perhaps it is better to crash a luge and learn from it that misjudge a corner on the road, lol! ;-) On my last run I started playing with the slippery conditions and was jumping my bum across into the corners to induce some oversteer, which was a lot of fun.

After a hot drink and a pie in restuarant, we walked around the hill to check out the bungy setup here. They have a platform built on the hill, above a cleared section in the trees below, which you can jump from. I is about the same height as the bridge bungy to the ground here. They have the added bonus of a long platform, meaning jumpers can take a run up and jump off superman stylie should they choose. They also run night time bungies and swings. The Skyswing does look disappointing though, I'm sure its fun, but it is quite small and over in a flash (not worth the cash IMO when you have the Canyon Swing in town for a little more). Back at the hostel we booked a tandem skydive with NZ Skydive for tomorrow morning, who are running a deal at the moment for $100 off their normal price for the 15,000ft jump.

The next morning we were up and having breakfast, ready to take the big jump. After sitting waiting in reception for a while, we got them to call the company for us who told us the jump was off due to high winds. Booooo. The weather did not look like improving much for the next few days either, but I was pretty determined to stay here and do one now (and I have time to kill now!).

We decided to take one of the local walks from the big map we picked up yesterday, and drove up to the carpark for a walk along Mount Crichton, through an old mining valley alongside a creek. The walk was pretty good, usual sort of terrain, and at the top there is an old miners hut, which we realised once we got there, you can stay in over night if you want! Check out my pictures of it over on facebook, it looks appealing, in a "I'd like to star in, and be brutally murdered by the hill dwelling wrong un, teenage, American, gorefest movie" stylie!! Seriously! It would probably be a crack to stay out here with a good group of mates though, although the really deep creek next to the hut would need to be carefully avoided, it looked like an umcomfortable fall into that! We checked out the inside of the hut, with its top-of-the-range fittings and looked at the guest book left there too, not many people had stayed recently, lol! We walked back down the valley, taking a short detour to check out an 'historic tunnel', which was quite impressive as who ever had dug this had a big job on their hands! They'd made a tall slot through the rocks to be able to get down into the creek safely I'm guessing, which could just fit a man through. I suspect this is where the chainsaw wielding maniac from the afore mentioned hit gorefest movie lives! ;-)

Saturday our second attempt at booking the skydive was cancelled again, and the weather looked bleak. We pretty much spend the day lazing around and doing nothing much, which was quite nice for a change. That evening we walked into town to one of the big bars to watch the first rugby international of the autumn series, the All Blacks versus Ireland. The pub was crammed but we managed to find some seats to perch on and bought a big jug of bitter and settled in to cheer on the Irish. The game was pretty entertaining, and the Irish fought well. After this we cracked on to the pool table and as is no becoming customary, kicked the ass of all comers in doubles matchups! Doing this we met a cool group of Aussies who were here in town for a few days, and moved on to another pub with them, meeting loads of people along the way in the big pub, it turned out to be a great night, including some outrageous chatupage by myself with a local Kiwi girl. Goodness knows how it didn't go wrong, I was smashed at that point... lol!

Sunday was a slooowwwww day, although neither of us were particularly badly hung over, it became a lazy day for me. Chris was taking off and driving across to Dunedin, so we said a fond farewell and he was gone. I really enjoyed hanging out with him for so long, we got on well and had a lot of fun along the way. I hope he really enjoys the rest of his trip and will definitely keep in touch! I did a load of washing and checked my bank account status, which was not good reading finding out that I've nearly spent the amount that I'd earmarked for the entire trip! Unfortunately it means I'll have to spend more days doing nothing much, which is not something I do well! The only thing of note that I did otherwise, was to check the weather forecast and rebook the skydive for tomorrow. It looks to be clearing up, and hopefully I should be able to do it in the next day or so! Cool.

Pics from around Queenstown are on facebook for you to see here...

Tags: adrenaline, beer, lazing, walking



Only thing i can think is that Kiwi bird was a damn sight more pissed than you were! (-;

  vin Jun 12, 2008 9:46 PM

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