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Vanesa/ Nicole’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 07 Jan 2010

Location: Picton, New Zealand

MapTaupo is known as the Adventure capital of the north. A mini Queenstown is what we have been told. We arrived in the quaint town in the early afternoon of January 4th. After checking into our hostel we decided to hit the town. Lunch, Shopping, Mini-putting is what filled our afternoon. On our walk back from the mini putting course we discovered a hole in one driving challenge on Lake Taupo. They have a driving range type atmosphere set up on the side of the lake. 111 yards out in the lake there is a floating raft with the green on it. Vanesa, despite the cloudy and windy weather decided to be brave and attempt the challenge in front of an audience of people. After missing the ball completely on the first try, she needed to regroup and decided to try again. Swoosh... A little too far to the left! Try number two coming up... Swoosh... Oh no that was so close! 2 meters to the left and she would have hit the green. It seems that some more practice may be needed before another try is attempted.

That evening on our way to swim laps at the local aquatic centre (of course we took the long route) we happened to stumble across the Taupo Bungy Jumping Site. It is one of things on the top of Nicole’s to d list. After Nicole looked over the edge she decided that there was no way she could attempt this feat. Vanesa, tried some friendly motivation, convincing Nicole that she could do it. In the end Nicole needed to sleep on it before she made her final decision.

It is the morning of January 5th. Nicole wakes up and the first words that came out of her mouth were “I’m going Bungy Jumping today!” After booking her jump at the reception desk of the hostel we jumped a shuttle to Huka Falls. These falls are massive, and very popular for white water rafting. On our way back from the falls the driver dropped us off at the bungy jumping site. The site is located in the river valley upstream of Huka Falls. Upon arrival Nicole checked in at the front desk. Consent forms signed, weighed in, bags put away, hair tied back, ticket around neck, and she is making her way to the bridge. During the excruciating wait in line Nicole had to watch several people take the plunge before her.

Knees shaking... Check!

Heart pounding... Check!

Nail Biting... Check!

“Ok, now I’m officially nervous!”

Only two more to go! Look at how young they are? Only fifteen and they’re attempting bungy jumping. It is so true how fearless kids are. One down, not a peep! Second goes, not a scream either.

“Ok, now it’s my turn! After looking over the edge a few times and watching everyone in front of me go a thought popped into my head, why am I doing this again? I am now sitting down as the guys are harnessing my ankles together. So many questions are running through my head right now. Will I get whiplash? Where should my arms be? Are you going to push me off? Will I get a countdown? Am I going to be dumped in the water? Can the harness come off? How fast will I be going? After the attendants answered all my questions to my satisfaction I was ready to make my way to the edge. Feet right on the edge, arms up over my head, a bit of hesitation, a quick please push me, smile for the camera, and I was off.”

Nicole describes flying towards the river at 60 km/hr as an exhilarating adrenaline rush and that she did not even feel like she was attached to anything. A loud intense scream echoed the valley just before Nicole hit the water. The cord dipped her right in to her ankles before pulling her back up towards the sky. The Taupo Bungy site is New Zealand’s highest water touch. The platform extends 20 meters out from the cliff and 155 feet above the river. This site jumps approximately 100 – 150 people a day. The ropes are good for 1000 jumps, but the company retires them after only 500 for safety purposes. After the ropes are retired they are cut up into pieces which can be purchased in the gift shop.

Although Vanesa really wanted to bungy jump at this site she couldn’t due to the ropes being attached only to the ankles. Nicole claimed that there was no pull on the knees what-so-ever, but she was still not willing to risk it. Not to mention, it would probably be thoroughly frowned upon by her doctors and surgeons.

After that adrenaline filled morning we hopped on the bus yet again, this time on our way to the countries capital and windiest city, Wellington. Our bus arrived late evening at the Wellington Railway Station where we had to try to figure out the metro-link to our friend Nicola’s place on Washington Avenue. This was our first city bus adventure, which in our opinion we navigated pretty well. Well it probably would have ended up a Nicole and Vanesa mission if it wasn’t for a kind local who offered to be our tour guide. Unexpectedly when it got to our stop he came up to us and told us to get off now. Little did we know Nicola’s house was then up a gigantic hill. Woohoo, we found # 132. Now where do we go? Please don’t tell me that we now need to carry our suitcases down those 2 flights of stairs? You better believe we do.

The next day brought with it 8 hours of walking through the City of Wellington. Wellington a smaller city that has that has a mix of a Toronto/Ottawa feeling to it. It resides at the base of the North Island sandwiched in between the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. They possess a beautiful waterfront, vibrant parks, excellent shopping and cafe’s, as well as; some uniquely kiwi museums. Vanesa and Nicole, not being museum people managed to venture into 3 of them in one day. Now that’s impressive!

It is the morning of January 7th and we are on the city bus making our way to the harbour. This morning we are catching the inter-islander ferry which runs from Wellington (North Island) to Picton (South Island). This ferry holds 1600 passengers plus vehicles. It is a 3 hour trip with entertainment, restaurants and bars.

Picton is a small quiet picturesque town known for fishing, diving, arts and cafe’s. It is the first point of entry into the South Island. Tomorrow we will venture into the city of Nelson (wine country!)