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Thursday, December 26, 2013

RV Trip Around New Zealand's South Island

We are now in Wellington, NZ staying with our friends the Pecklers.  We finished an amazing 17 day trip around the South Island in a 4+1 Berth RV.


It was perfect for the five of us and easier to maneuver than some of the larger RVs.  We flew into Christchurch, picked up the RV and headed across the New Zealand Alps to the west coast.  Along the way we crossed Arthur's Pass and encountered a large alpine parrot called a Kea.  This one stole Mac's lunch.


Our first stop was Hokitika.  We checked out the local jade and caught an amazing sunset.  The next day we hit the Hokitika Gorge and Mac did some rock jumping into the teal-blue glacial river.


Next was Franz Josef, known for its glaciers and rainforest. We did a great hike and marveled at the prehistoric looking fern trees.


Our next stop was Queenstown, the adrenalin Mecca of the world. Please see the previous adrenalin blogs by the kids.  Queenstown is also amazingly beautiful perched between the mountains and a lake.  On the way we passed the most beautiful field of wild flowers along the Crown Range Road.





Next stop Dunedin via Naseby.  Check out Beth's curling blog.  Dunedin is a large city on the east coast.  We checked out the albatross nesting grounds and the Cadbury chocolate factory.





Next..Oamaru, home of the Steampunk art movement and Blue Penguins.



Then we had a beautiful clear day so we headed to the tallest mountain in New Zealand…Mt. Cook!




Akaroa, Kaikoura, and then north to Kaiteriteri, an awesome beach town at the entrance to Abel Tasman National Park.  We went mountain biking and followed it up with hiking and beach combing.






Can't wait for the North Island!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Fell From The Sky by Wiley

I went skydiving in Queenstown.  You have to be 10 to go bungy jumping but only have to weigh 30kgs to go skydiving.  I signed up and then they took me in a big van to the Nzone drop zone.  They dressed me up in a suit with helmet, goggles, gloves and a harness.


I then met my camera guy and he took a video of me about what I was going to do.  I then met my tandem jump partner.  He brought me to the plane.  I got in and sat on a big blue mat between my partners legs.  The plane took off and I started to get a little bit nervous.


At 15,000 feet he opened the door and hung my legs over the side of the plane.


My camera guy climbed onto the door and we jumped!




After that we did a free fall for 65 seconds.  My face was jiggling around.  I could not hear anything but I could see all around Queenstown.  Then he pulled the cord and let out the parachute. 




Then everything started to calm down.  He did some big turns that made me feel a little bit sick. I had to put my legs up and then we landed.  




It was the best thing I have done ever before!  


















Paragliding in Queenstown by Levi

When we were in Queenstown I went paragliding.  First, I went up to the top of the mountain in a gondola.  We got to the top and went to the paragliding office and met my paragliding instructor. He packed up a bag with a parasail, helmets and a harness for me.  We then rode a chairlift higher up the mountain.  Then we hiked to the top.  We found a nice spot on the grass and my instructor set everything up.  Then it was time to go, so he harnessed me in and put on my helmet and gloves.







  We walked down the hill, the parasail went up and then we were in the air.  We shot forward and I could see all of Queenstown. It was amazing!  On the way down, we did spins to the right and left and big turns.  We landed on a big grass field where my Mom and brothers were waiting.















Mac's Bungy Jumping Blog

In Queenstown, New Zealand we each got to pick an adrenalin adventure.  I picked bungy jumping because I have always wanted to do it and I knew that Queenstown was were it was invented. If I was to go bungy jumping, I knew that once I got on the bridge there was no backing out.  The drop was
142 feet.




We drove to the bungy jumping bridge and I saw the drop for the first time.  From the side of the river, it did not look that bad and I was excited to do it.  After they signed me up, they right away took me to the bridge where they wrapped a towel around my legs with some ropes to make it tight. Then they hooked the bungy cord to the end of the rope.  After that I hopped to the end of the bridge.  When I looked off the end of the bridge it looked a lot farther than from the side of the river.  I knew that I just had to do it so I counted to three and just jumped.





After I jumped and they lowered me to the river,  a boat picked me up and took me to the riverbank.  I was happy and glad that I did it.  It is the best thing I have ever done!

This is the video taken by my Dad with his phone from the bridge.


This video is taken from a GoPro which was strapped to my chest!





Sunday, December 1, 2013

Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef by Wiley

In Port Douglas, Australia we went snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.




We saw giant clams and all sorts of really cool fish.





Anemone fish


We also saw a sea turtle that swam very fast.  We saw about three of them.






We wore special suits that protected us from the plankton that sting you and jellyfish.






Mac

  We saw all sorts of colored coral.