Alison: So, we headed down the mountainous west coast, stopping at various waterfalls. Caryn drove for a while while I read her the Hobbit. Soon the landscape changed as we got higher and more south. No more trees! To me, it looks like an exaggerated Beaver Flat. Higher hills, bigger lakes, but that same brown scrub look of river valley South Sask.
Down by a beautiful lake we checked into our little ski town hostel in Wanaka. Wanaka is a cool cool town, no wonder it was (cousin) Em's favourite spot. Here we went to the gypsy fair (and you're lucky we didn't stay with them!). We got errands done for India, watched LOTR2. Oh I slept for 14 hours one night, don't know what was up with that...
Caryn: I thought she had gone into a coma! Anyways, after 6 weeks of craft deprevation, i was suddenly overcome with the urge, nay, the need to craft. Luckily 1) we found a awesome wool shop full of NZ wool and 2) i had found this super cute slipper pattern on ETSY before we left, and bookmarked it thinking i would make a pair this summer. The shop owner was awesome- we ended up going back a couple of times and our last time we just chatted and chatted (mostly about a possum that had been sneaking into her house through her cat door). In the end we bought enough wool to make myself the ruffly slippers, Alison these ones, and a scarf (which believe me, i wish i had right now it is chillllllyyyyyy!)
Alison: Another classic Wanaka thing to do is go to Puzzling World. It's a place full of... puzzles. There was a wall of faces that follows you, hologram art, etc. Our favourite room was build on at 45 degree angle or so, but then everything was at that angle so it looked normal (except that you were standing "sideways" and walking up or downhill. So in this room, water looked like it was flowing uphill, and there was an uphill slide, etc. It's hard to walk in there, pretty sure I heard a kid hit the ground pretty hard.
This link will give you an idea of the displays at puzzling world.
We headed an hour or two over to Queenstown, down to another beautiful lake town. Queenstown is like a bigger version of Wanaka, much more touristy. And it's the place you always hear about with the extreme sports! Of course I had to do one....
Canyon Swing is kind of like a bungy jump but instead of bouncing back up, you swing 200 m. (It looks way scarier than it is. Watching the other people go was alarming!)
Caryn: So, we arrived in Queenstown and Alison headed to the info booth while i stayed in our car as to not get a ticket in the 15 min parking. Her proclaimed mission, as she headed off from the car, was to grab a couple of brocures on stuff to do. She came back 10 mins later, and had signed up for the Canyon Swing- for 4:30 that day. It was 2:00. The next 2 hours were a combination of Ali psyching herself up ("well, I like swings," Alison said, when wondering if she would like it.), me trying to rev her up a bit more (she was pretty jumpy- we were just walking down the street and then i pointed and yelled, and she jumped about 2 meters in the air), and me being reasurring that she would indeed not regret it, and it would be fun.
Of course there was no way i was going to pay $200 dollars to be terrified out of my mind. Plus i wouldn't have been able to jump off the platform. They would have had to hurl me off, and it would probably take me years to recover from that kind of trauma. I did however pay the required $20 fee to watch Ali (literally) jump off a cliff. It was pretty fun to watch!
Alison: before the swing part it has about a 60-70 m free fall drop. Yeah. Luckily that only lasts 3 secs. One of those seconds is quite scary. However, I think the scariest part was when they hung me over the brink, holding on to me to take a picture. I didn't trust those guys. I mean, I did, safety wise, but I didn't trust them not to drop me. Plus, the guy that hooked me in seemed like he was on drugs, but I'm sure I'm the one that was paranoid. I think I went into defense mode.
SO anyway, I stalled for a long time, and then, the launch guys banter was getting so annoying that I just... hopped off. Seriously, they were annoying enough to hurl yourself off the brink. The first jump felt like a dream: "this isn't happening." Didn't seem real, like I was watching. Trance like. Can't believe I did it!
The second jump was still very scary, but I wanted to prove the first one wasn't just a fluke. The second jump, they wanted me to go off backwards or something crazy. I argued with the annoying guys about it, because apparently I'm very assertive when in defense mode. So, the second one I ran off forward. As I leaped, they both sort of gasped (somewhat alarming). I saw why when I looked at the pictures - I was nearly horizontal as I left the platform! My instinct is to dive apparently.
After the 3 seconds the swing part is fabulous!
The rest of Queenstown was more low key. Mostly doing errands for India and bumming round town. Very nice.