Monday, April 07, 2008


The last time we had just arrived in Franz Josef and had gone for a walk to the face of the Glacier, Well it would have been rude to have come this far and only look from afar, so we decided to actually get up on the Glacier. There are 2 ways of doing this. Doing a half day hike up onto it, or get a helicopter to fly you up a bit further in 15min and explore the glacier for a couple of hours and then fly back down. What do you think we did?

A combination of being lazy and wanting to see the Glacier from the air made it an easy decision for myself and Charlie. Gugs however decided not to go, so it was just myself and Charlie on the "Heli-Hike" (Gugs however got up early the next day and did the half day hike all by himself, the trooper.)

Before dropping us onto the actual glacier they did a 15min scenic flight to the top and back down the other side.

The views were spectacular, although it was hard to get to grips with the scale of it.

Until the helicopter landed that was!! It was like landing on another planet. Its hard to put it into words, but its a very strange place. We put on some crampons and headed off after our guide.

Charlie enjoying our crazy new surroundings.

Our guide leading the way through a crazy ice tunnel. (Charlie took this photo, Cool huh?)

The wait is finally over for many of you ladies out there, after all the emails I've received requesting more shots of my bare legs, here you go, you even get to see my knees.....

Charlie clambering through another ice cave.

It's very hard to get to grips with the scale of the place, it's not till you see a helicopter buzzing around to give you some sort of perspective that you realise that it's just bloody massive!

Charlie going though an ice tunnel.

*Rare Sean action shot coming up*

Easy. And yes that is in fact, the worlds largest bum-bag.

Charlie scrambling through a very small gap in the ice.

Me eating one of those energy-packed power bars just in case there were any more small puddles to jump over. Camera always at the ready too.

The views of the surrounding mountains were spectacular, made even more amazing by the really fast moving clouds.

This is what it looks like inside a small ice cave that had just been found that morning.

Can anyone guess what those stones mark out? Thats the helicopter landing spot that has to be cut out fresh every morning as the ice moves & melts day by day. Crazy stuff.

A nice wide shot looking up the glacier. If you click on the picture and see the small spikes at the top, they are actually about 3-4 miles away and are the size of buses standing upwards. It was a really cool way to see the Glacier and was worth every penny, if you ever get a chance to do something like this, do it!! Gugs had a blast the next day on the hike too, which may have actually been more rewarding as he climbed from the base up, but either way Glaciers are cool. (I'm sorry, I had to get an ice = cool joke in....)

So after a few beers and a good nights sleep we were back in the van heading down to a place called Wanaka.

We always leave plenty of time for driving and always do it during the day as it's just as much fun as a lot of the activities we get up to as well. We stop a good bit too to get out and enjoy the air and of course so I can take photos.

Since we left Ireland in October 2006, Myself and Charlie have seen a lot of amazing things, but just driving around New Zealand is awe inspiring, every turn you take or hill you drive over shows you something even more beautiful than the last place.

This was a stunning valley on the way to Wanaka. You don't even need blue skies when the scenery is this good.

One of the many rivers we crossed over using a very small single lane bridge.

Well, we arrived in Wanaka and this was the view from our campsite (ignore the buildings, it's the back ground that's cool.)

Gugs in his "pre-coffee" mood......

We heard there was a pretty cool and unique cinema somewhere in the town, so we went on a small mission to find it, turns out the town is pretty small so it took about 6 mins to find!!

Instead of rows of seats they had this collection of old couches and seats and even an old Morris Minor with the roof chopped off so you could see out, Not your average cinema! They even served booze, which was a cool.

After having a few beers in the cinema, we decided to head out for a few more....

We met this cool Italian girl at the cinema who we had met a few weeks back. She came for pints after the cinema and ordered a snack, Her English wasn't the best and she ordered what she thought was smoked salmon on brown bread, She was not too pleased when a smoked salmon pizza arrived. She managed to eat a few slices, but it was disgusting, I literally had to move away from the table because of the smell..... Funny, but Nasty.

what's up with this picture?

And this one?

Thats me on the right (6'3") and Charlie on the left (5'2") What's going on??

Gugs & Charlie. We are in a place called Puzzle world in Wanaka.

It's this crazy place where there are loads of optical illusions and visual puzzles to make you go crazy. Such a great place.

Charlie holding up the great falling building of Wanaka.

Someone always has to go and ruin the good wholesome fun by bringing down the tone.......

But time waits for no one so it was off to our next town........

This picture is worth a click, Its a panorama of Queenstown. The Adrenaline capital of New Zealand, thus the world. What a stunning looking town.

We had heard it was very commercial and touristy, but you just can't take away from its amazing surroundings.

This is the gondola or cable car that brings you up 400m above the town. We had only been in the town 3 hours, but we wanted to have a bit of fun straight away!

At the top, they have a thing called the luge, its basically a down hill go-kart track, but instead of engines, it uses gravity to throw you down the hill!! Seriously good fun, it's actually pretty fast and kinda dangerous.

After a couple of luge runs, I spotted this thing. It's called the ledge and is a 47m (155ft) bungy at the top of the 400m tall hill above Queenstown.

Now we knew Queenstown was the home of bungy jumping, but we had only been in town a few hours so it was a bit early to be jumping off things............. but then again, we were right here and we had the money and the way I looked at it was by the time we went to bed that night our first bungy jump would be done. Gugs agreed.

So after getting into a full body harness I did a small run and jumped out into the abyss. You will notice the perfect positioning of my arms and legs, legs bent and arms like king kong.

While Gugs got it totally wrong and went all straight legs and star-fish like...... Ok, Ok, Gugs jumped like a seasoned pro and I froze mid jump like a ninny.

This would be our first jump of the next 4 action packed days and while it may not have been the highest (47m) it was the first time that we felt "That" feeling. It's a hard one to put into words, but just think of all the other times in your life when you have been really scared (Definition: Screamed out loud), I'd put them under the heading "Fair-ground scared", this was more along the lines of "I'm about to die" scared. It probably sounds stupid now, but it's pretty serious when your standing there about to jump.

What's this now? I seem to be sitting on a plastic garden chair on the edge of another very large drop...... This is called the "Canyon Swing" and it was Charlies idea. She would not do the bungy as she does not like the bouncing back up bit. So when she heard about this she was all for it. It's basically a 60m (200ft) fall, but instead of bouncing back up, you swing out into a canyon on a 200m arc. There are a number of different ways of doing the jump, I chose to do "The Chair" and I was first up. Sounds like fun?

As you can probably tell from this photo, i'm not really thinking so at that point in time. Can't quite make out my face?

Well, that's a perfect example of "That" feeling. Pure terror. Here is a video:
(For all the following videos: Depending on your speed, just click on the play button and wait, if it skips, just pause it and wait for the time bar to go red then press play.)

Watching with sound is a good idea as the lads who are doing the canyon swing totally take this piss out of you and wind you up loads. If you listen closely you can hear me swear quite angrily...... It's a pretty long video (2-3min) but it's worth the watch!

Charlie was up next and she jumped straight off!

See that tiny dot just left of centre of the picture. Thats her about 3 seconds after the first picture.

Charlie's first jump and her first time with "that" feeling

Gugs was up next and he was doing "the pin drop" which is basically holding a poker straight body stance on the way down. It's seriously scary stuff when you look down and you try and tell your body just to jump. Everything your body and mind has learned up to that point is screaming at you "why?"

And he is gone!

Gugs pin drop Video.

Round 2. An extra jump was only another $49 so we all wanted to do another one! They don't let you do the same jump style twice, so I went for one called "Gimp boy goes to Hollywood"

You start upside down with you facing towards the swing direction. It's a hard one to explain so just watch the video.

I don't take directions very well in this video, but neither would you when your hanging upside down over a canyon. Serious upside down ground rush.

Charlie round 2. Backwards.

Hands behind your head and just jump backwards while looking up.... Not for the faint hearted.

Charlie's backwards jump. Notice how the lads wind you up with all the false starts....

Gugs - The Elvis Cutaway. Upside down looking up towards the sky.

Serious sensation of helplessness I'd imagine! your hands are not holding onto anything and all you can see is the canyon rushing by your head.

Gugs - Elvis Cutaway Video.

If any of the videos don't work use these direct links to Gugs and mines youtube pages: - Mine - Gugs

Ladies & Gentlemen, I introduce "The Nevis"

I remember very clearly sitting in our apartment in Melbourne with Gugs looking up footage of bungy jumps in New Zealand, when we found footage of the highest public bungy jump in the world. The Nevis. (There was a taller one in South Africa, but someone died and it's now shut down)

Let me explain. You jump from a suspended pod 134m (440ft) above the Nevis River and free fall for 8 seconds. Thats about 60ft higher than the Cliffs Of Moher in Co. Clare to give you some sort of idea of what we were about to do.

What's this? Well, Myself and Gugs knew we were going to do this jump from that day we saw the footage in Melbourne, but Charlie was very clear about not doing ANY bungy jumps. She came out anyway on the day and watched us jump as a spectator. She didn't jump that day, but when we got back into town after gugs and myself had done the jump she knew she had made a mistake and would regret it if she didn't jump. So the little legend went back out the next day and jumped. Serious respect is due to Charlie. Her first bungy was the biggest in the world.

That large rubber band is what stops you hitting the canyon floor at terminal velocity.

The Chair and the Ledge.

The final view.

I'm going to leave you with the 3 videos of us jumping. Each of us jumped once.




Lots of love.
Sean, Charlie & Gugs.

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