Sunday, February 13, 2005

New Zealand adventures...

Just back from the most amazing week on the north island. Travelled on the Flying Kiwi bus with a lovely bunch of people – only 14 of us so it was very friendly and comfortable enough on the bus, even if it was a heaper – we needed the John Norton school of mechanics and turn up the sounds full volume ;-) The damp tents and cheap food (and even cheaper wine) brought strong flashbacks of the scouts but the locations more than made up for it. Camped by the beach, by hot thermal pools, beside a lake in a forest – even out under the stars one night, without a tent, and watched the sun come up over the Pacific Ocean.

I've been hiking, cycling, swimming, boogie-boarding, sand-boarding and surfing! ...ok, so I took surfing lessons and spent a day falling off a surf board – but it was great fun and I’m only sorry that I’ve discovered it so late in my trip. The sand boarding was great too – down the side of a sand dune (almost vertical, half-a-mountain sand dune!) straight into the sea, along the top of the water like skimming stones, sand in every orifice ;-))

However, all of this, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge too, was shoved into the ha’penny place by what I did on Friday last… I was strapped into a harness and attached to a lovely guy called Liam and we jumped out of a perfectly good aeroplane 12,000 feet above Lake Taupo!

Yes Mum, I went skydiving, and I know I didn’t tell you on the phone last night, but honestly, after the news of Judy’s car crash I didn’t have the heart to mention it! But I am safely back on the ground now and I promise I won’t jump out of any other planes before you see me again ;-))

Anyway, all of the over-the-top superlatives apply, an unforgettable experience! Liam (the tandem-master) said he had never jumped with anyone as petrified as I was – apparently everyone on the plane was watching me and didn’t believe I would go through with it – and by the time the door opened at 12,000 feet I couldn’t stop my legs from shaking, I had tears in my eyes and felt sick with terror.

However once we jumped it was incredible. The freefall was simultaneously endless and over in a flash – I have no clue how long we were falling but when the parachute opened we were about 7,000 feet below the plane with the whole of Lake Taupo spread out beneath us and I got my breath back enough to scream – I loved every second of it! And when we landed it was like getting off a rollercoaster – I wanted to go back up again!

So now I am back to city life, sitting at an outdoor cafe on Cuba Street, drinking a long black and watching the world go by. On the outside I look the same but inside I am changed forever ;-)

surfer babes! Posted by Hello