Friday, February 13, 2009

Raging Adrenaline

The first of our MANY planned activities on Saturday was LUGING.

We were ready to ride up the Gondola as soon as the luging opened at 9am.

In order to get to the chair lift from the gondola, one must walk down a rather steep path. Kylie and my legs did NOT appreciate this (as a result of the 6.5 hour grueling hike 2 days previous) as they stumbled their way down the hill using Lowell and Marc as crutches. It. HURT.

We selected a helmet from the stash o' sanitary (??) helmets, and were ready to rock and roll!

On our way up the chairlift...

The chairlifts are awkward to get off at the best of times, but throw half-functioning legs into the mix and it's downright painful.

Kylie LOVED the controllability of this activity, and luging was coined a "Kylie Adventure".

When we completed our 5 turns each, we shed a few tears then took pictures of the view...

And Kylie took the opportunity to show off her sultriness...

Next we headed to the famed FERGBURGER joint for some lunch.

Those burgers were huge... and scrumptious.

The burgers put us into a beef/veggie-induced coma, so after our nap, Marc, Lowell and I went to meet the crew at 'Serious Fun'. We were going RIVER SURFING!!

Let me tell you a little bit about river surfing. Basically, you boogy board down white water rapids while wearing a wet suit, life jacket, flippers, and a helmet.

After viewing some footage of river surfing, Kylie determined that it was NOT a "Kylie Adventure" and opted to peruse the shops and cafes around Queenstown instead.

Here's our group ready for a serious ADVENTURE...

The guides warned us several times that the part of the water we'd be starting in was the coldest part, but we were MORE than happy to immerse ourselves in half frozen water as the little river surfing outfits made for some very hot and sweaty people.

When we first hopped in the water, we were given instructions and meant to practise a few moves. Wow, were we ever EXCITED!

And then we were off (and still awfully excited)...

Lowell very casually sat on his board during the down times...

Check this out: I'm spinning in a little whirlpool using the proper learned technique...

You should know that the river surfing guides were EXTREMELY strong. Even the little lady! If anyone- big or small- was being pulled to the side of the river by an Eddie, a guide would effortlessly cruise to your aid, drag you out of the current, and literally THROW you to where you should be. It was remarkable! Here the girl is coming to save me (and I'm apparently very happy and relaxed about it)...

Surprise surprise, part of Lord of the Rings was also filmed here!! Let me show you. Okay, here's a picture of Pillars of the Kings (also known as The Gates of Argonath) from LOTR:

FRODO WAS HERE!! And so were we (although the 3D animated pillars somehow disappeared)...

(the real-life version is slightly pathetic in comparison, isn't it?)

Here's Lowell showing off his 'sitting' skills again..

The coolest (and most tricky) part of river surfing is the actual SURFING in the river. The guide made it look soooo easy:

Then it was our turn to try. Here's Lowell...

And here's me...

The guides helped us in our attempts. On one of my tries, I actually GOT it, but then promptly flipped OFF my board. Grrrr...

Let's take a gander at what the sun looked like during our ride:

The sky was orangey-purple and filled with a smoky haze that blew over from Australia's nasty bushfires.

The photographer was keen to take Lowell and my picture, and I said "WAIT! And Marc too!" He looked at me with an arched eyebrow and questioned, "The THREE of you?"

Yes please! Me and da boys...

Near the end of the ride was the biggest of the rapids- reportedly a class 4 rapid referred to as the "Chinese Dog Leg". Prior to boarding down the rapid, the guides took us up on the rocks and continued to scare the bejeebies out of us. I nearly peed my wet suit in fact... nearly. (We were specifically instructed NOT to urinate in the company-provided wet suits).

I was expecting giant white caps to engulf me and toss me around, but it was just plum fun. No fear... just pure excitement.

WHEW- what a rush.

Next we booted it to Top 10 to set up camp for the night and EAT. While me and the boys were out being "crazy" (as Kylie would say), Kylie picked up the goods for chicken fajitas, and man were they deeeeeeelish.

At this point, we all craved a hot tub in an attempt to soothe the throbbing pain in our legs (again, from hiking Avalanche Peak 2 days prior). This particular Top 10 did not have a hot tub (as many do), but we heard a rumour that there were some delightful hot pools only minutes away.

We phoned Onsen Hot Pools and they picked us up with their complimentary shuttle service (brilliant!), and brought us to some of the best hot pools we've been to. Before dipping into the blissful heated liquid, we took a gander at the view.

Then we were escorted to our own personal hot pool.

Let's get that little garage-like door open!

WOW... now LET'S GET IN!!

While we were in there, Marc started the little trend of taking a FREEZING COLD shower until the water no longer felt freezing, then sinking into the hot pool. Marc & Lowell handled the cold shower impressively well, but Kylie and I did not!

It's a very wiggy (and rather satisfying) feeling going from numbingly freezing to hot hot HOT!

When the couple running the hot pools took us back to our campsite, they gave us a bit of backround on the business. Apparently their son and his wife sailed for 13 months from San Fransisco to Queenstown for a holiday. When he found out there were no hot pools in Queenstown, his innovative business-sense kicked in and Onsen Hot pools was born.

The hot pools, followed by Tim Tam Slams (yet again) and Kiwi chocolate bars was an excellent way to end an extremely jam-packed day-o-fun!


Bloggy Mama said...

You guys are insane. I love it.

shareen said...

so much fun. wish we could be there because you guys have the coolest things to do.

I love the picture of you and kylie where it looks like you're just having a good ol chat on your way down the luge. :)

Susan said...

That hot tub was the exact one on the Bachelor tonight! Seriously! There's new celebrity claim to fame for you. :)

Lowell & Julie said...

Really?! So cool! My cousin Erin informed me that they were also cruising around Milford Sound. And yes, I fully plan on counting this as a "celebrity connection" :)

Erin said...

So I think they were just cruising around the lake near Queenstown not Milford... Those previews can be sooo misleading. And I was just going to say that you were in the very same hot tub that the Bachelor was in but someone beat me to it! Looks like you're having fun in Queenstown again! And I'm still jealous!