When one makes their inaugural visit to Queenstown, the self-proclaimed (and deserved) ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ there are two requisites.
First, thou must eat at Fergburger. Yup the first thing anyone ever has to say about Queenstown, despite the cornucopia of amazingness that engulfs the city, is that you have to eat at its famed burger place. For the record…you totally have to eat at Fergburger if you go. It’s that good.
But I digress.
Second essential requirement: You guessed it…do some ill-advised extreme sport!
Ah but which to choose?!?! Skydiving over the Southern Alps would be breathtaking but we did just skydive in the US and it’s really expensive…next.
Oh how about bungee jumping?! Well I did tell Mom that I wouldn’t do that so we better not (and I’m too much of a wuss to admit that it actually sounds terrifying so I’ll just use the Mom excuse instead…wait did I just type that?).
Whoa what’s this…Canyoning? Jumping off waterfalls? Sliding down huge rocks and rappelling in a wetsuit through a raging NZ stream?? We have a winner.
So the next morning we met up at the Canyoning.co.nz office at about 8AM and began our trek to…well…the canyon. The journey began with us being piled into a van with our fellow canyoners and driven to the equipment depot by our French guide Ben who decided this morning he would be channelling his inner Mario Andretti. But instead of a Formula One car he had a 12-seater van. And instead of a flat race track he had a two-lane road cut into a mountain which continued quite abruptly into the lake several dozen meters below.
Needless to say, everyone was quite awake and had a renewed appreciation for life once we arrived.
We had been dropped off at a little hut in a stunning valley near the famed Routeburn Track – from here we strapped on our gear which consisted of a wetsuit, boots, helmet (each helmet had a funny name on it; Jenna got Kenny Powers…that could only have been the work of god) and lifejacket and headed off for a twenty minute hike through the woods to the canyon. After a brief safety talk consisting of something about not landing on your head, I wasn’t really paying attention, we were set to go!
I had the GoPro strapped to my head for most of it – so check it out!
Here’s the first slide – skip to 1:30 to see Jenna go followed by me:
Next up was a medium-sized waterfall which we had to essentially do a backflop off of:
Followed by a cannonball off a ledge into one of many stunning turquoise pools:
Oh yes. We finally made it to the highest waterfall on the trip – about 15ft. Nothing crazy but still high enough for Jenna to do some crazy, frantic dancing on her way down and for me to do a flip:
The flip was so fun I thought I’d do it again – but gave Jenna the camera this time. Make sure not to miss her supportive cheering at the very end of the clip:
Finally we ended the day with a short zipline over the stream:
So that was it – a truly awesome experience and one that both Jenna and I would definitely do again.