|I arrived in Christchurch from Melbourne ready to start my last leg of what has been nothing less than a trip of a (young) lifetime. What first hit me on arriving - those in chilly europe are going to love this - is just how damned cold it was! I wasn't quite prepared for walking out into the glorious sunshine.....to feel the air temp of about 12C! It's cold!
My first task then was to try find some warm clothing; this proved to be a little more difficult than anticipated as christchurch seems to close down at 5pm. I eventually got this sorted and spent the evening in my rather lovely countryhouse style hostel. As I'd arrived in new zealand with absolutely no idea as to where/what i was going to do I spent the first evening with my nose in the lonely planet ...and having a drink with an english guy getting some tips on what/where to go.
I decided to do something fairly local the first day and have a think about things so caught a shuttle bus to a place called hanmer springs. It's primarily a little skiing village but in the summer there're quite a few little activities you can indulge in. I chose jet-boating. Wow. It involved sitting in a jet-boat - propelled by two 240bph engines sucking in water and spitting it out at a rate of 350litres a ssecond to send you flying down a river between canyon walls at 80km/hour. To get a feelign of what it's like I'd say it would be like being in an out of control car heading straight for a brick wall at 150km/hour only to skim past it so closely that it could take the skin off your hands if you had them dangling outside. The adrenalin rush was incredible; quite scary how one puts there life in the hands of a guy with a tiny steering wheel and pay him to take you as close to death as possible....it sounds a little exaggerated but honestly if anything went wrong there's not much chance of making it out alive - no helmets are worn and you'd be thrown head-first into the canyon walls - ouch maybe?
I definitely plan on indulging in every little piece of adrenalin kick that I can muster....end this trip with one might blow-out!
When i arrived back in Queenstown (after a massage and steam-bath in hanmer springs) I figured it was time to plan where I would head next....only 11 days in new zealand so I have to pick pretty carefully. After much deliberation I booked an intercity bus-pass and a train ticket - transalpine express to take me across to the west coast to indulge in some glacier climbing at Franz Josef glacier.