Not Our Jumping Off Point

Friday, September 19, 2014 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Day 17:  Queenstown
We awoke this morning expecting this to be our last day in Queenstown, but with some additional information about our destination accommodations in Mount Cook, we decided to skip that location and spend another couple of days in Queenstown.

By the time we sorted all that out, we left the room around 11:30, headed to Queenstown Gardens (pictured above) in search of our first letterbox in New Zealand.  We had made several unsuccessful attempts to find letterboxes in Australia, though they were at best half-hearted due to all the venomous critters in our midst. New Zealand was a new story—no snakes, no venomous critters, not even any ticks.  Who could ask for more favorable conditions?

So we happily followed the clues for a box hidden in the immaculately maintained Queenstown Gardens, locating it with no difficulty and finding ourselves about 15th among the finders of this letterbox, planted by Americans and found, for the most part, by other Americans.

After lunch at Johnny Barr's, we headed north out of Queenstown in search of the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, the location of another letterbox.  Called "Big Chicken," the box commemorated the planter's lack of courage to make a bungy jump from the bridge, the first commercial bungy jumping location in the world.  We could definitely relate.

But we met a group of five Japanese twenty-somethings who were eager to make the plunge, arriving just before the first of their group was to jump.  We recorded her big event as we chatted with the two girls and two guys who accompanied her.  Later we walked out to the old suspension bridge where the jumps originate and listened to the trainers coaching jumpers to look across, rather than down. It's no surprise that jumpers need some consoling before plunging 140 feet to the river below.
Bungy jumping from Kawarau Bridge
We greatly admired the courage of those who jumped, including our Japanese friends and a fifty-something couple who dived over strapped together in honor of his birthday.  We acknowledged our own limitations (lack of courage?  better judgment?) and took our enjoyment in applauding the daring of those who decided to take the plunge.

We look forward to having another couple of days to explore Queenstown and its surroundings.

Daily Stats:
  • Started in Queenstown, ended in Queenstown
  • Mileage -   54 (Trip total:  13,501)
  • Weather - 39° to 59°, sunny to rainy
  • Jumpers we watched - 7
  • Times we even considered jumping - 0

Another Japanese friend ready to dive
Kawarau River gorge near the bridge
Rescue of the couple who jumped together 
Clever restroom sign at bungy jumping site