Posted by: Liz | December 7, 2008

Kiwi Holiday: Dad’s Tale

Upon landing in Queenstown, Liz (aka Betty) and Matt had us out on a jet boat the same day in a driving rain storm on the Shotover River in Skipper’s Canyon. The Hamilton spins were a blast for most and the river ride and view was amazing, not to mention the winding “goat track” road to and from Queenstown.

Hamilton Spin on the mighty Shotover RIver

Hamilton Spin on the mighty Shotover RIver

The next morning was the big event, the Canyon swing, doing the pin drop; 60 meters of free fall and then an incredible long arcing swing over the Shotover River. The guys running the jump were hilarious and our fellow jumpers were quite entertaining as well, but that is another story.

Weet-Bix pin drops into the Shotover River

Weet-Bix pin drops into the Shotover River

The day was complete with an evening cruise on the 1912 TSS Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu. We were back out on the lake the next afternoon in NZL 14, an America’s Cup class sloop built for the 1992 event. Perfect wind and a great sail on the most beautiful lake I have ever been on.

While the Queenstown experiences Liz coordinated were exhilarating, the Southern scenic route from Milford Sound down through the Catlins to Dunedin was amazing. It truly is a beautiful country. We got to watch Liz and John surf at Porpoise Bay (one of the southernmost surfing beaches in the world, 46°40′ S).

Surfing in Porpoise Bay

Surfing in Porpoise Bay

I kept being struck with the impression that NZ’s South Island remains somewhat “undiscovered.” Then on to Larnach Castle and our hobbit hole in the stables which were framed by rain and fog.  It was very appropriate for the Scottish flavor of the Otago peninsula.

Two highlights in our Christchurch stay. First was the hour long walk up the cliff from the Sumner surf beach to see Taylor’s Mistake. Olaf led us up the cliff and over the bluff. Thinking we were headed to a restaurant on the cliff, I was confused the whole walk, believing our destination was “just up ahead a little.” In any case it provided a great view of the South Island’s east coastline. Second was our actual dinner destination at The Ruptured Duck in Sumner. Though the restaurant’s name referred to a wrecked boat, it got me researching the phrase as it was one I have heard often before. WWII vets used it as a comment on the “honorable discharge” cloth insignia depicting an eagle inside a wreath.

The final legs to Lake Tekapo and back to Queenstown wrapped up the best vacation we’ve ever had. Here is one final pic of the team at journey’s end (Weet-Bix, Tam, Marmite, Mum and Tim).


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