Facing Fears and Playing Pirates in Queenstown

A rainy Monday here in Queenstown, as I wind down my New Zealand travels and prepare to head back to Christchurch tomorrow for my flight to Australia. The weather here has been hit and miss, which I was warned about beforehand. Weather forecasts traditionally involve “bring a jacket, a hat, a t-shirt, sunscreen, a sweater, and you’ll be alright”, which has been accurate. I managed to find a delightful cafe overlooking the waterfront that is dry (to say I am soaked to the bone would be an understatement) and serves latte bowls as big as your face. Also, free WiFi! So good time for an update.

After spending about 7 hours on a bus getting to Queenstown on Friday, I hopped on another bus at the crack of dawn on Saturday to go to Milford Sound (photos and such to follow). That was a 12 hour bus day. So, understandably, I wanted nothing to do with any forms of transportation or sitting on my behind yesterday and went for a few hikes to explore the neighbourhood.

Queenstown is HILLY. Earlier comparisons I have made to San Francisco have not been accurate until now. The walk to my hostel (which happens to have an amazing view, so it cancels out) was so steep I had to stop halfway and contemplated chucking my pack into the bushes and coming back for it later. So after the walks yesterday, and another mother of a hike today, I think it’s safe to say that I’m going to have legs of steel by the end of this trip. Or broken legs that quit in protest. Could go either way.

The people I’m staying with in my hostel seem to be predominantly German or Swedish, which is great for me as I speak neither of those languages and feel like I’m constantly missing the punchline of a joke (as they think that due to my blond hair and blue eyes I am German/Swedish and start speaking to me). However, they have all been bungee jumping, or sky diving, or have done this crazy swing thing where you’re essentially dropped and fall 23 storeys before swinging out over a canyon. People PAY TO DO THESE THINGS TO THEMSELVES. RIDICULOUS, YOU LOT ARE. So as I was walking yesterday, I thought about how one of my goals for this trip was to challenge my fears, and I haven’t done much of that so far (besides travelling by myself). I had some gelato, and wrestled together the courage to go sign up for…something. I didn’t think that far ahead before going to the tourism office, I just knew I wanted to do something.

I have a pretty bad fear of heights. I do, however, have some pretty good common sense and knew that there was just no way I was jumping out of a plane or having what is essentially an elastic band wrapped around my ankles. So I settled upon zip lining.

Some of you reading this are going “uh, wuss – zip lining is NOT scary”. But it was for me (I can’t even go rock climbing) so I thought “this is big enough to satisfy me”. And I tackled a second fear (spending money) by signing up for it! Look at me go.

It was pretty terrifying. For some reason I have seen Cutthroat Island (the horrible Geena Davis movie from the 90s) TWICE on buses in the past two weeks so perhaps my mind is preoccupied with the idea of pirates, but at any rate walking down the steps and leaping off with nothing beneath your feet reminded me of walking the plank. So I yelled ARRRR MATEY! before leaping off to boost courage.

I have no photos of it, unfortunately, as I was afraid of losing my camera into the thick trees below (and nearly lost my glasses, cripes that would’ve been bad). I’m also cheap and refuse to pay the $10 for the group photo they took at the beginning. That $10 was better spent on the aforementioned latte-as-big-as-my-face and biscotti. But, I have the personal satisfaction of knowing that I confronted a fear head-on and lived to tell the tale. Good way to spend a Monday.


2 thoughts on “Facing Fears and Playing Pirates in Queenstown

  1. Sweet! Oh, I wish I had some audio of the pirate cry, though 😉 I say do some more of this adventure stuff while you’re in Queenstown. Isn’t it basically the adventure tourism capital of the world?!

    Sidenote – my brother is living in Queenstown right now (small world!). Would be hilarious if you two ran into each other. And my parents are visiting in a week. You went to New Zealand so you could visit my family, right?

    1. Yes, yes I did.

      And it was a hearty “arrrggggh”, said with a lot of gusto. It trumped all of the “wheeeee” various terrified noises that people were making.

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