Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Living Life on the Edge

When we got to South Island, one of the first stops we made was in Queenstown. It is said that Queenstown got its name because when people first moved there they looked around at all the beautiful scenery and decided it was fit for the Queen.

I completely agree. 

Fun Fact: Queenstown is also known as the adventure capital of the world because it was in Queenstown that bungy jumping was first invented.

So when you are in the adventure capital of the world, you pretty much have to be adventurous, right?

*Before I post said adventures I would like to remind my audience of a couple very important facts about myself: #1. I don't like roller coasters at all because I hate the feeling of falling. #2. I cried when I went on the Tower of Terror and I was not a small child. #3. I don't like going fast on anything because I have a very real fear that I will someday die in a freak boat/car/jet ski/ airplane crash.*

The first thing on our agenda was to hit up the Shotover jets. Well, really the first thing we did was explore Queenstown which lead us to discover Devil Burger. That's right folks, Hell Pizza has a fraternal twin brother that is just as hot and just as wonderful. Life is bliss.

Don't worry, during our three day stay in Queenstown I ate there twice.
But back to the Shotover Jets...

If you don't know what a Shotover Jet is you can watch this super cool commercial they played for us because I know it got me super stoked about it! It may or may not be extremely cheesy.

SPOILER ALERT: basically you cruise through canyons in a jet powered boat going crazy fast and you get really really really close to all the rock that is jutting out on the sides.

I was screaming the entire time and I just kept thinking "We're gonna hit the prop!" But guess what? Jetboats only need 5 to 10 centimeters of water in order to run. Best invention in the world. Dad we need to get one for the lake. Imagine the tubing we could do on this bad boy! Plus our driver informed me that they're pretty easy to drive so it's pretty much a done deal.

After that wind-filled adventure (it was about as good to my hair as Zorbing was. In fact, Queenstown may have been the actual birthplace of Earl now that I think about it...) we headed back to town to book our next adventure. After watching the videos and hearing some testimonials I decided to do the Nevis Canyon Swing instead of the bungy jumping because here is the thing; bungy jumping just doesn't look fun. At all. And it was expensive. When you bungy jump, you have to jump head first off a platform with your feet tied together. At the canyon swing, some completely unbiased third party pushes a button that drops you to your death. Which is much better, don't you think? So yeah, I went with the swing.

They write all over your hands some secret code that means "This girl is going to jump off a bridge." On your other hand they write your weight in big bright red letters for the entire world to see. Thankfully it was in kilos, so it meant absolutely nothing to me, which was great since I had had Devil Burger for lunch and was planning to eat Hell Pizza for dinner.

The Nevis Canyon Swing is the world's largest swing. Basically, there is a 230 foot freefall (Tower of Terror is 170 ft just FYI) and then the swing finally catches you and then swings you in 1,300 ft arc at the base of the canyon.

The bridge to the swing

it was nice and wobbly, just the way I like my bridges

Thankfully the swing is meant to be ridden in tandem so I went with my dear friend Sara. I am pretty sure that Sara came to New Zealand for the sole purpose of bungy jumping so it's safe to say she is pretty hardcore. When even she looked nervous for what we were about to do, I felt like way less of a wimp.

Sara getting harnessed while I'm getting nervous
Sara starting to feel it too.
When we went to get our harnesses on they asked us what position we would like to sit in as they had a plethora of options. We answered that we would both like to face forwards. The harness man decided that meant that I would ride facing backwards and Sara would ride upside down. His ability to know what I want better than I could reminded me a little bit of when my dad decides the temperature for the back seat even though he's sitting in the front. So wise. In the end, I was glad he made the decision for us, which is not always the case with the car temperature. Sorry dad.

We then both gave our button pushing friend very specific instructions for how we would like to fall.

I demanded that he distract me as much as possible when he was about to push the button so that I wouldn't see it coming.  
While Sara threatened him that he would be a "bad boy" if he pushed it without telling her.
He thought we were both pretty mental. 

Alright, so there we were all strapped in and feeling ready to go when our button pusher friend instructed us to take a seat and well... we couldn't do it. Now keep in mind that we are currently strapped in little harnesses at the edge of the only thing that is keeping us from dropping to our death on the canyon floor way, way, way down below. But yeah, we could not sit. Our knees were frozen with feat and it was just not happening. Don't worry it was all caught on tape. I hope you enjoy watching us try to sit as much as everyone else seemed to. It's a little bit hard to hear because of the music playing, but with that explanation you'll get the gist of it.

(After the initial fall and swing the video gets dull because it's just pulling them back in so once you've seen that you're golden.)

(If you're really ADD, or basically if you're an Earl, just watch at 1:00 and then from the 2:40)

Rachel related our inability to do seemingly simple tasks as entertaining as watching this little girl who suffers from similar difficulties. Don't worry sister, you are not alone.

It was one the most fun things I have ever done in my life. And the canyon was so BEAUTIFUL!. After you got pass the initial vomit- inducing free fall, it was just pure bliss. I felt like I was flying. I even yelled, "I"M QUEEN OF THE WORLD!!!" at the top of my lungs at one point and I didn't even feel a little bit weird about it.

that is the face of pure terror


Life is Sunshine...


... and Rainbows!
Adrenaline is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I wonder what the street name for that stuff is....

Yeah me!
Our last day  in Queenstown Sara and I decided to continue our new found hardcore lifestyle with a three hour zip line tour down a mountain.

Mizz Heights and Special K comin at ya

Oh and did I mention we got a free hat for going on the Nevis Swing?! I love free things!!! (and it turned out to be a great blessing for Earl as well. Win. win.)

When Sara and I signed up for the zip line tour, the lady told us we could take a Gondola to the top of the hill, or there was a trail if we would like to hike it. Being the frugal adventurous women that we are, we opted for the hike. We were told that it was "easy", "well marked", and "a little bit steep at the beginning". She said it would probably take us 45 minutes, or maybe an hour if we were really out of shape.

If I have learned anything from my time spent here in New Zealand it is this: A KIWI WILL NEVER TELL YOU THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DISTANCE, DIFFICULTY, OR OVERLYING DETAILS OF A HIKE. They will lie to you. Every time. And then you end up sweaty, covered in dirt, and unable to walk for several days.

Here are the gondolas we should have taken. Notice the steepness of the mountain they are ascending.

Our hike was very steep and there were many times when we would get to a point and say, "Well, which fallen tree looks like it was been walked over recently?" We finally made it to the top and after getting a turkey wrap from the deli we were both feeling a whole lot better about life. We also celebrated the fact that the hike did take us 45 minutes, so at least we weren't horribly out of shape. We met up with our group (who all thought we were mental for not taking the gondolas) and got some sexy helmets to wear for the ride.

She know she be working it
Despite the fact that we got to ride the zip line upside down as well as go on the steepest tree to tree zip line in the world, our tour just wasn't quite the adrenaline rush as the day before. But there were plenty of pretty sights and we still felt kind of daring.

Our tour leader told us zip lining was very easy. He said all we had to do was just walk down these stairs as far we could. "And then you just sit," he said. Sara and I just looked at each other and busted up laughing because, as we had learned the day before, it's much easier said than done for the two of us. Don't worry, we managed.
One of our take off points

Beautiful view through the trees
Other perks about Queenstown:

We stayed at a hostel called Nomads that was full of hot foreigners. Seriously. There were attractive men with exotic accents everywhere. And I opted to wear sweats, my fancy pink jacket, and a trucker hat at all times. Once again, Kylie for the win!

And uh... Did I mention that Hell Pizza and Devil Burger were just a block away from each other and from our hostel?

In case you couldn't tell...

...food makes me very happy.
And on a completely separate note: according to the bright red numbers written on my hand I have gained ten pounds since I have been here! But you know, I've been known to make errors in my calculations before... and maybe I did the conversion wrong... or maybe I've gained a lot of muscle from all my hardcore hiking...

Yeah that's definitely it.

I should probably reward myself with more chocolate.


  1. You are my hero and that swing is now on my bucket list. My coworker and I watched your video together and cringed the whole time until you fell. Sara wins major points going upside down, that was crazy.

  2. Kylie!! This looks so fun, I can't believe you did it! Can't wait for you to get back and hear about all the rest of your adventures! Love ya!!

  3. I just showed my kids your swinging video. It turned them totally bipolar. "Mom, can we do that some day?" "But it looks kinda scary.." "But sometimes I really like scary things!" "But what if I fall down?" "But its the biggest swing ever!"

    Though still undecided they both agree they will not be the ones going upside down. They are pretty sure that girl is crazy.