27.07.2011 - 01.07.2011
A few years ago on a school field trip to a high ropes, I became a co-fouder of the 'pathetically scared of heights group'. Indeed, so pathetic was our fear that we only amassed three members. Fast forward to 2011, and in a moment of impulsive insanity, I sign up to do a skydive. We were flown up in a vehicle resembling a flying washing machine, and I was feeling a little uncomfortable at a height of 12 feet, so throwing myself out at 12,000 would certainly be interesting. Sitting on the edge of that plane was terrifying, no doubt about it, but never has fear turned into joy so quickly. We had been warned of sensory overload in the first 10 seconds - apparently the body can't really take in what is happening and I don't blame it - but once I had regained my senses I felt so elated. I don't know why hurtling towards the ground from such a height made me so happy, but it did! And having landed safely on the wonderfully solid ground, it felt very nice to have conquered my fear .
Anyway, back a few days, and after a 12 hour coach journey we arrived in Kaikoura feeling a little hungry. Apparently it was 25 minutes walk into town, but there was some invitingly cheap pasta for sale at the hostel... I wouldn't say I exactly cooked for myself but I certainly helped a bit as my remaining Kiwi friends put together a pretty decent meal. And I certainly contributed significantly to the eating of it. Which is the most important part really. Then we settled down to watch some Mr Bean. A nice change after an exhausting 4 nights in Queenstown.
The next day we headed off early (again) so that we could catch a ferry to Wellington. Only 5 of our original bus group left! Kicked off our first night in the capital in style, taking full advantage of 'cheap Tuesdays' with an evening of Dominos pizza and cinema. Classic. The excitement continued to the following day with a visit to a local museum - a surprisingly good one. There was lots of science/history fact stuff around, but nicely complemented by more interactive displays to keep the children entertained. Naturally the latter took up most of my time. I slightly injured my knee on an activity where you had to jump on a mat with maximum impact to measure yourself against an earthquake - despite the injury I was proud that my score of '8' had outdone the people I was with - until a group of primary school girls came along and one matched my score. Unbelievable. Myself and Ceri (a survivor from the original bus) entered a colouring competition at the museum and I have to say, I think I'd be a worthy winner. Those kids just don't know how to keep inside the lines.
We are now in Taupo, home to a lake so large that you can fit Singapore in it. I had intended to take in the monstrous size of this lake while skydiving but I can't say I noticed much scenery wise. You get distracted by the whole falling through the sky thing. Never mind.