Our Queenstown Adventures

We planned four days in Queenstown to make sure we had plenty of time for all of the fun things we wanted to try.  First up on the way into town was jet boating in the Shotover River.  Phil and I had gone jet boating before so sat this one out with Amanda, but it was great just sitting and soaking in the scenery.  Missy and Anita had a blast on their ride around the river.  Jet boating was invented in New Zealand and what makes it so unique is it can travel through very shallow water and do 360 degree spins.
The Beautiful Shotover River 
Anita and Missy waiving as they zoom by

360 degree turns
The next thing on the list after jet boating was paragliding.  I've been wanting to do this for several years now, because I figured it was the closest thing to feeling like a bird.  We tried to go in the early afternoon, but the winds weren't right so we came back later that day.  We rode the gondola up and then had a 10 minute hike to the launch site.
Ready to go paragliding!
all suited up
 We were paired up with pilots and they fitted us up with helmets and weird giant diaper bag things.  Then, Anita and her pilot took off running and set off down the canyon.
Anita taking off
Anita in the air
 Then my pilot put the sail in the air and we started running off the cliff.  Soon Anita and I were circling around, feeling the lift of the winds under the sails.
Raising the sail
Taking off with my pilot
Anita and I in the air
 While my pilot was having us do loops in the canyon, Missy took off.
Missy in the air
 It was a really neat feeling soaring above the trees.  It felt like we could stay up there forever riding the currents.  At one point the pilot let me steer.  I held a rope with each hand, and if I wanted to go left I lowered the left hand, to turn right I lowered the right.  Towards the end he decided we needed to flip upside down.  That was my least favourite part.  I would have been happy just slowly gliding down, but the flips were a bit much.  Eventually we got near the landing field and touched down in a run.  Very neat experience.
Missy over Lake Wakatipu
 The following day we hiked up Queenstown Hill.  It was a pretty tough hike straight up the mountain, especially for Phil and his poor swollen toe.  Along the way we saw lots of really cool mushrooms and enjoyed the views of Queenstown.
Mario Brothers mushroom
Anita, Phil, and I at the top of Queenstown Hill
Lake Wakatipu
 We spent the afternoon enjoying the wines in nearby Gibbston Valley, and then wandered around the city that evening.
Lake Wakatipu at sunset
Amanda and Missy cuddling the giant kiwi
 The following day, the girls went on a day trip to Milford Sound while Phil and I enjoyed some much needed quiet time together (I have been travelling A LOT for work recently!).  We started with massages, and then had lunch overlooking the Shotover River.  Then we went to the Onsen Hot Pools and enjoyed the open air hot tub overlooking the river.  
Lunch at the Shotover River
View from the hot pools
Watching a jet boat from the hot pools
 Driving back to our house that night, we got a surprise when we saw five goats bouncing down the street.  I walked up the street to find them, only to discover that they had moved on...to our back yard!  Not kidding!  (har har)  It was fun watching them foriage through the bushes.  
 Queenstown was a lot of fun, but it was time to head to the West Coast to explore glacier country next.


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