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Not a huge amount has been going on lately, but I have been doing a lot of thinking and have actually decided to stay in New Zealand for a while. I absolutely fell in love with Queenstown and have decided to get a job here for a while. Similar to what I did in Australia five years ago, I'm trying to get a cafe/bar job for the next few months. However, since Queenstown is also the ski capital of New Zealand, the plan now is to work for a few months, spend another month or so traveling around NZ, and then come back to Queenie to get another job and spend the winter skiing before continuing the trip next spring (Aug-Sept.)

Now that that's out of the way, I do have some news from the past week or so. After spending a few days just hanging out in Wanaka, I really wanted to stay there and get a job, just for the laid-back atmosphere and the amazing scenery. My buddy Chris insisted that we check out Queenstown first, because he had heard that it was amazing. Good thing we did. Queenstown is everything Wanaka is, just a bit bigger and with more stuff going on. There's a a beautiful lake surrounded by the Remarkable Mountains:

Lake Wakatipu from the top of the gondola

There's some of the best skiing in the Southern hemisphere within a 20 minute drive, amazing hiking and mountain biking in the summer, a little beach on the lake and every adventure you could possibly think of and many you can't. Just a short list: bungy jumping, bungy swinging, skydiving, parasailing, paragliding, canyoneering, river sledging, whitewater rafting, street luge, jetboating and many more. There's also tons of jobs available as everybody is trying to gear up for the summer tourist rush.

On the drive down from Wanaka on December 8, we stopped at the Kawarau Bridge, the site of the first commercial bungy jumping operation in the world, going since 1985. Since I did a similar-sized bungy in Australia before, I didn't want to shell out the money again, but I decided to do the Nevis Highwire Bungy, which at 134m (440 feet) is the second-highest in the world after one in Macau. After about half an hour of me badgering him, my buddy Matt decided to do it to, so we signed up for that the next day.


The Nevis jump pod is suspended like a big gondola 134m over the Nevis River Gorge

Matt and I after getting suited up. As he said, he's scared and I'm American.

All set to go

Final countdown

Being hauled back up

The bungy was so amazing I did it twice (they give you a discount if you're stupid enough to do it twice in a row!). Afterwards we came back to Queenstown and celebrated a bit.

On the 10th, we decided to go street luging, so we took the gondola up to the top of the mountain (where there's yet another bungy platform overlooking Queenstown) and then took the the little chairlift up to the top of the 800m downhill course. A lot of fun, and less expensive than most other activities in Queenie.


There's also a disc golf course in the Queenstown Gardens, so we've been playing a lot of that.

On the 11th, I took the bus up to Christchurch to catch up with some friends from the bus. One girl had torn a ligament in her ankle while falling down the steps on a camping trip (and she wasn't even drinking!) so we didn't do much but hang out. That was okay because it was raining most of the time anyway. I think Christchurch would be a cool city if you could get out and see it, but I just love Queenstown's location.

I got back to Queenstown yesterday and am doing all my settling-in stuff. I had an appointment tomorrow for a physical for my visa, and the visa should come through within a few days after that. Talk about bureaucracy that works! So I'm looking for an apartment and a job and I hope to have everything set up before Christmas.
Hope to hear from you all soon.

Posted by dtoga 18:07 Archived in New Zealand

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Hi Daniel, your blog brought back lots of memories, as Mike and I spent about 5 or 6 days in Queenstown 13 years ago. It was NZ winter and we skiied, I think in the Remarkables, or on the other side: Coronet Peak?? I remember that we had to go the last few miles on a bus that had chains on it's tires. I remember a raft trip on the Shotover River (too tame for you!), WATCHING the bungy jumping, at that time a very new activity, and calling the airlines every morning waiting for a clear day to fly to Milford Sound. In good weather there is a 4-5 day trek to Milford Sound. We finally were able to fly over the glaciers, get to Milford Sound and enjoy a boat ride in the sound to the ocean. Beautiful scenery. I think you've picked an interesting place to stay put for a while. Really enjoying your pictures! I wish you a happy healthy New Year, and hope to hear more about "The Adventures of Daniel Toga"! Fondly, Josene

by josene

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