Monday, November 20, 2017

November 20, 2017 - Queentown and heading home

We spent 2.5 days in Queenstown, which is a major tourist destination.  It's a busy town with heaps of tourist-based activities to tempt any visitor.  We decided to do a jet boat adventure ride on the Shotover River.  It was EXCITING!  I'm surprised they are allowed to run these types of activities because it seems like there is some real danger here.  There is a boat driver, who is running a fast jet boat full of passengers, at high speeds up a shallow and narrow river.  He takes you within inches of the canyon walls at high speed and does 360 spins in places you just don't think it could be done.  You will see what I mean from the following pictures and videos we took:

Ready for a jet-boat thrill ride.

A shot of us blasting through the narrow canyon at high speed.

Same place, now as the boat is heading back down the river.  Going maybe 40mph.
At times we were less than a foot from the cliff walls.  It was exciting, but a
bit scary at the same time.

The drive to get to the jet-boat adventure was exciting in-itself.  We hopped on the company's bus for the 40 minute drive to the jet boat facility.  The road is a dirt road, built in the 1920's for the gold miners to get their gold out of the Shotover Valley.  It's a steep valley, and the road is on the edge of a cliff, hundreds of feet above the river.  It was a bit scary to look out the window and see nothing but a sheer cliff without even a glimpse of the road we were on.  In usual New Zealand fashion, the driver was going a little to fast for my comfort....

The start of bus ride out to the Shotover River

Great views from the drive down to the river.  You can see the road winding
around over on the left side.

Looking down from the bus at the river below.  There are no guardrails.  At times
you could not even see the side of the road because we were so close to the edge.

Looking back at the road.  It is perched in that little notch they carved into the

Looking down on a section of the Shotover river, of which we had passed through
 on the jet-boat previously.  There is a suspension bridge there that at one time
was the highest bungy jumping bridge in the world.

While in Queenstown we played mini-golf and also went to a great wildlife conservation center that had some live Kiwis to see.  They are nocturnal birds so you never see them during the day.  They had them in a dark building where you could observe them close up.  They are very strange birds.  It was great to see 4 Kiwis up close.  They also had a lot of other native and exotic birds there, and also the Tuatara which has lived in New Zealand for 200 mllion years.

Click here for more info on the Kiwi

 Click here for more info on the Tuatara

Cindy go into a little trouble in Queenstown.  I got her out
of this mess, though.

Mini-golf in Queenstown, New Zealand.

One of the local birds at the exhibit

Tuatara, the last living member of the sphenodontian family.  Basically, it's a
dinosaur that is still alive today.  It exists only in New Zealand.

This bird was just hanging out at the sanctuary.  No fences or overhead nets were
there to keep him/her contained.

And now, the final "crazy van picture" of the day.  We are returning home tomorrow.  We have 3 sequantial flights in order to get home.  The first is a short 45 minute flight from Queentown to Aukland.  The next is a 12 hour flight from Auckland, and the last is a 2.5 hour flight from LA to Seattle.  It will be a long day getting home....

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