Today, we took advantage of what Queenstown is all about – extreme sports and the great outdoors. At 8am a bus from Queenstown Rafting picked us up and drove us through the countryside, then up one of the most dangerous mountain roads in NZ – the sheer-cliff-hugging Skipper Canyon Road. (If you rent a car anywhere in the country, it’s written into the contact that you will NOT be covered if you drive this path)
Highlights were getting to swim alongside our raft in the warm aqua marine water when the river was smooth, the antics of our hilarious Maori raft captain Chief, the large amounts of intricate, rusting mining equipment scattered along the beaches (a’la Disneylands Big Thunder Railroad – only real) and getting full on dunked into foaming white rapids, head first after emerging from a tunnel. The Shotover is the more exciting of the two river excursions they offer and I definitely recommend it.
We headed back to town for lunch of seafood pasta with prosciutto and chicken stuffed with feta and chorizo at The Boat Shed – THE BEST restaurant in Queenstown. It’s right on Lake Wakatipu, reasonably priced for the great quality and far away from the touristy bustle of downtown. I also recommend their Ginger Slice. WHY don’t we have ginger slices in the US??
We spent rest of the afternoon packing for our Hollyford Track 3-Day Hike, then headed to downtown on the bus (our butts were still in pain) for the pre-hike briefing. Then we were off to the MOUNTAINS again for some evening PARAGLIDING. We’d never suspended ourselves thousands of feet in the air with only a thin piece of fabric and some rope keeping us aloft, and being in a country where we have no health insurance, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Plus I had no experienced ginger slices and would have gone to my grave a happy camper.
Spoiler alert: we didn’t die. It was AMAZING. I see why our guides had moved from all over the world to para-glide in New Zealand for the rest of their lives. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have your own paraglider and just jump off mountains and glide around all over the world? Ahhh, next lifetime.
We tried to go cheap again with the food and had some nice affordable sushi at a little upstairs place in town called KAPPA. Unfortunately, after our day of adventure we were soon starving again and ended up supplementing with… meat pies. Sorry waistline.