Day 10. Bits of Adrenaline
So its was Igor’s last full day in NZ so we wanted to cram as much fun stuff in as we had time to. Whatever we wanted to do, just do it. After I blogged we packed smaller backpacks and headed into town. Went to a pretty popular attraction selling place called I-Site and asked what we could cram into the rest of the day. It was probably about 12-1pmish? The lady booked us for a speed boat ride called “Shotover”, and Gondola Ride, and 5 Luges down a hill. I really only knew what the Gondola ride was honestly. I had seen video of the Shotover boats flying along with about 12 passengers, skimming across inches of water down a small canyon river. Anyway..she scheduled us at like 3 to be at the Shotover place to get picked up. So we had time to get some food and in the back of my mind I really wanted to run back to the campground to get my go pro. She told us to walk down the street to a MacDonald’s and go down an escalator and exchange our receipt for a card that would help us skip the Gondola line and just hop on. I wouldn’t have been surprised if she told us to go down there, talk to a guy named hank, he will be in a red jacket, he will give you instructions from there. Like dance on one foot and spin or something. She gave us various directions quickly and I tried to get them all down as fast as I could. She was a fast talker. We left right after she finished to follow the MacDonald directions. Found the Macdonalds….found the escalator down…huge open food court was down there. Ummmmm… so we see a sign that says Luge and Gondola. Oook I guess we go there. A young girl sitting behind a desk and I said…Umm we were told to come here and give you our receipts so we could get some kind of card to a skip a line..? She seems to know exactly what I’m talking about, and takes our receipt…types a bit in her computer and hands us the two cards and says the same thing the first woman said. “When you get into the Gondola building you can just skip the line with these cards, they are your tickets, thank you”. Cool, whatever saves us time in lines I’m all for.
We found a place to eat right across the road (no we didn’t have MacDonald’s, but we talked about it if we didn’t have much time) and had dumplings. He had Prawn and …I want to say beef. And I had chicken and cabbage. Pretty good! We had 30 minutes before we were supposed to meet up to head to this boat thing. I contemplated getting my go pro….I decided when we had 20 minutes left that I needed to go get it. Told Igor I would meet him there, stuffed the last few dumplings in my mouth, grabbed my backpack and ran out. It’s all up hill to get to our campground. Usually you think you’re in good shape till you start running uphill with a mouthful of dumplings. Anyone had that issue before? I ran a little bit then walked a bit, ran a bit, walked a bit. Ran up 3 flights of stairs and up a street. Got to the campsite in 7 minutes. Whew. I can do this. Grabbed my go pro and jogged all the way back down as I knew where the pickup location was. Got there with …7 minutes remaining? Yessss. Igor was surprised how fast I got there. Found him sitting outside. We went inside and checked in to this big building that had screens and what to do’s all over. This was like the central hub of adventure it seemed. We were told to sit on the red benches and our driver would come grab us. There were like 6 colors of benches. Ones for skydiving, or paragliding or, you get the idea.
A very tiny Asian lady walks in and says hello she will be our bus driver and to follow her. Her pronunciation of words and cute and high pitched, like putting the em-pha-sis on the wrong syl-ab-el. Like if you can imagine a person putting the highest pitch of words at the start of each word. She said, Hello and the Hel was a lot higher pitched then the rest of the word dropped down a bit. Ok too much time on this lady’s voice.
She drove us about 10 minutes away and dropped us all off at this place:
We walked down the beach to that red cabin thing and they hand us life jackets and a locker. I have my go pro wrapped around my wrist with its Velcro support thing. She said, “ummm so you will have to take that go pro off and put it in the locker. We only allow head mounted go pros.” Ohhhhh Goooooooood! Turn to the locker and rolled my eyes with a big sigh. I don’t understand why mounting one on your face is safer than on your wrist. .. whatever. Of course they say they have professional photographers and they have 2 cameras on the boat so we can purchase them at the end. Of courrrrse they do…
So we hope in this boat with about 8 people and our driver. I should have taken a picture of just the boat, all I have are videos. It’s a very short, red, speedboat looking boat. Boat boat boat. I don’t know all the specs of the engines on this thing but it has. Some. Power. Kind of surprised there are no seat belts but metal bars to hold onto in front of you and a slanted metal floor to brace your feet. Obviously people wont be flying out so why even hold on? He gasses this boat and a big grin spreads across my face. Oooooo man, my little bit of adrenaline kickin in. He starts flying down this tiny stream river, only inches away and above rocks. It looks so shallow you can see the ground a few inches under us. I guess It can go in a mere several centimeters of water. The sensitivity of his steering wheel is nothing like I have seen in a boat before. He turns, it cuts left or right like its on rails. We do a speed I think he said of 80-100km / hr. (60-80mph) Cutting as close as he can around turns with huge rocks inches from the sides of the boat. This stuff is intense! He also had told us in the beginning that when he puts his hand in the air, and points with his finger up and makes a circle we are going to do a 360. This was like a 25 min ride and I think we did about 15 360s. You’ll have to see the video, that’s all I can say. Everyone is holding on for dear life and I’m just kicked back with my hands in my lap grinnin. Many times when he did a 360 the water would come up over the side of the boat and get my arm wet…then of course going full speed it got cold instantly. Anytime he did a 360 after that I leaned away from the outside of the boat. Lol. I’m S M R T, smart. We stopped a few times to let other Shotover boats come through the small canyon as he walkie talkied back and forth as we stopped. He turned around every so often as we sat and chatted with us. Asked we were from and whatever. He asked if anyone wanted to drive? I was the only one to raise my hand. Hahaha. Ohhh I would have so loved to. He said he didnt think his boss would like that very much. I asked him how long it took me to get that good at driving. “Two years. You have to put in like 120 hours and get certified. You can’t take passengers until you get that certification but you can take family members. Haha” Ah yea the guinea pigs! I related to skydiving and having to put in so many hours and jumps before you could take people. He said that on that beach was the very first place gold was ever found in a river. Cool fact. I have to say it was a pretty wicked 25 minutes. Of course we walk up to the building and they have everyone’s photos printed and their videos playing on the tv screens…
We just had to get the video… So Igor and I got the middle package of all the pictures and the video. You will see it soon I’m sure.
You can totally see how shallow the river/stream thing is in the picture.
Side note, I don’t have any place to stay the night after Igor leaves because our campground is booked soooo I don’t know where Ill be. I was told to check at a DOC to see what the closest campground is to stay at. There was one next door to the Shotover building so we walked there after the boat ride. I guess It was a behind the scenes type DOC and not a ‘real’ one? Anyway she gives me the number to a place that could locate a place to stay for me the following night.
We take a shuttle bus back from the Shotover ride back into town and make our way up towards the gondola. It’s basically just past our campground.
We go inside and there is some huge line to get tickets. We stand and look confused..we were told we didnt have to wait in line.. It takes about 5 minutes and eyeballing peoples tickets getting onto the gondola. Yup we got the same tickets. So we follow some other people pushing those ribbon railing things, like you see at movie theaters. Boom. There are scanners and we scan our tickets.
Hop on in. A guy’s job is to take pictures of everyone getting in. It’s a difficult task as this was the Chinese New Year and MANY people couldn’t speak English.
It takes us wayyyy up. Kind of odd that on our first hike we actually ended up higher than this:
Crazy view isnt it? So this mountain has a ton of cool things on it. First off we see that big mountain bikes can be attached to the outside of the gondola and they can ride down from the top of the mountain. They look like really good bikers. Helmets, goggles, some doin wheelies. I wish I saw the entire trail of where they went, it just went back into the woods. Another area had bunji jumping.
Ps. That’s a gondola for those who don’t know. (Little enclosed white box).
There are tons of souvenir stores and a few restaurants up there. There is also an outside view area. This waist heigh railing wrapped around the front of the building. I told Igor, there’s no way this would be allowed in the US. People would either throw things off of it or be throwing themselves off of it. I felt like if I leaned over too far I could fall over!
We could almost see our campsite.
So we also see the Luge thing that we each can go down 5x. It’s like a small go kart…but no engine. Just a place to put your feet and a handle bar. You push forward to stop. You pull back towards you to go…but if you pull further back, its like an emergency break. That way push or pull either way you will end up stopping if done far enough. This is the place to get in line and you have to put a helmet on.
You would ride up this ski lift and the lift would automatically grab 2 carts underneath it and drop them off after you go off at the top. That fat looking curvy road is the path the carts go.
It almost looks childish..Igor and I thought. But whatever. I’m excited when I grab a helmet and I see this:
A go pro mount! I’m all excited till I realize I don’t have the right piece that fits on the bottom of mine to fit it. I am able to use the Velcro strap and put it through the holes on the front of the helmet though!
We had to get pictures with our big dumb helmets on.
There were two lines at the top. One for first timers and the other for people who passed the training and got stamps.
We waited in our nooby line behind about 15 people. I try and learn by watching the training before we even get out there. Hope in your cart. Girls stands in front of you. Go. Stop. Go. Stop. Pull all the way back for emergency brake. Now turn left and right. Go turn left and right. Stop. She stamped our hands. Good to go! At least igor and I were. There was a guy beside us that had to do it over because he didnt do it correctly.
Ok. So. I didnt think it would be THAT fun. Boy was I wrong. Our fist time we had to do an easier ‘scenic route’ that was actually still pretty fast. It would tell you to slow down on the corners, but knowing me, i would barely brake and just lean into the corner. At the very end there was like two S curves that I would barrel through almost tipping over. This thing had 2 back tires and a central one. I tipped up onto one wheel many times lol. Our second time down we had stamps and hopped on ones at the top and did a more advanced track. There were 2 pretty decent hills on it and if I was going fast enough I would get an inch or two of air off it! People could get hurt on this thing! I passed many slower carts and a handful of people had crashed I saw a few people that crashed it ripped through their pants and had a bit of blood on their knees. Good thing that doubles (kid and parent) had total on the scenic road. Once again…this would never be a thing in the US. No seatbelts. Could possible do high speeds. People like me. Lol. (The s turns at the end)
Of course we HAD to use all 5 of our runs.
Good times! The views were amazing as I was 2 wheeling around corners. I turned on my Go Pro each time, so I’m sure you will see footage eventually.
After we rode back down the Gondola we grabbed breakfast food and went to find dinner. Igor’s last dinner. He said it was on him, so I reluctantly agreed.
We checked out like 4 places to eat then came back to the first one. It was called ‘The Flame.’ Had really good food and huge portion sizes. Desert was a half liter of beer. (500 ml)
In the back of my mind I knew I wasn’t going to have a place to stay the next night and it was sitting there just hanging out in my brain. The only real reason I wanted to stay another night here is because I wanted to bunji jump at the first place anyone had ever done it off a bridge. We sat and talked and reminisced about our time here. I could tell he was going to miss the place and said he had plans to come back sometime and plan more and make it an easier trip. I checked the same campground the night before. Booked. It rained all night and most of the morning. Checkout time was 10am. I’m not sure if anyone has really experienced trying to pack things in rain. I packed everything inside the tent then whisked it to under a dry place outside the kitchen area. I REAllY didn’t wanted to put away a wet and dirty tent. It rained hard enough that mud splatters were on the outside of it. I figured I would see Igor off then go in and ask again if there were any open spots in the campground.
Goodbyes are such sweet sorry. I’m gonna miss this guy.
We had a lot of fun while he was here. I actually realized I didnt have to worry about too much because he always planned places to stay and accommodation. Didn’t have to worry about a thing. Not exactly the intention of this trip. We did our goodbyes and we both almost teared up. His shuttle just got there and he hopped in and headed to the airport. He will actually gain a day going home. So his plane is at 10am but will get back to Toronto at 9pm tonight. Crazy isnt it.
Well I walked in hoping there was a spot open in the campground and luckily there was! I just had to move my tent to a different area. I had been thinking I would have to head out of town and freedom camp tonight. Ill be doing that tomorrow.
I understand that I was relying on Igor and not who I should have been putting my trust in. So this will be more like my hope ride in which it wont be up to me where I stay at night. The Lord will provide a way.
I’m expecting things to get kind of crazy from here on out..