Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Zealand Day Ten: How I Didn't Spend My Summer Vacation

I figured that on our last day in Auckland I would talk about all the things we didn't do while in the extreme sport/adventure activity capital of the world. (well, sort of. Queensland, specifically, is the extreme sport capital of the world, but Queensland is in New Zealand and so are we.)

We didn't...

Bungy Jump

New Zealand is not the birth place of bungy jumping, but it is the home to modern bungy. The inspiration for modern bungy jumping is "land divers" from Vanuatu who jump from wooden towers with vines tied around their ankles. A similar practice is found in Mexico dating back to the Aztecs.

According to Wikipedia:

"Commercial bungee jumping began with the New Zealander, A J Hackett, who made his first jump from Auckland's Greenhithe Bridge in 1986. During the following years Hackett performed a number of jumps from bridges and other structures (including the Eiffel Tower), building public interest in the sport, and opening the world's first permanent commercial bungee site; the Kawarau Bridge Bungy at Queenstown in the South Island of New Zealand. Hackett remains one of the largest commercial operators, with concerns in several countries."

Sky Dive / Base Jump
Every where you look some one is offering to throw you out of a plane or a cliff. And if you don't want to go all by yourself, they also offer to strap you to another person who will throw themselves out of a plan or off a cliff.

Both Lake Taupo, New Zealand and Skydive, Arizona (yes, that does appear to be the name of the town) claim to be the skydiving capitals of the world.

Sky Jump
The Sky Tower is just a stone's throw from our hostel in Auckland and it offers a strange combination of base jumping and bungy jumping.

According to the web site:

"This OSH approved device means jumpers can "base-jump by wire" falling for approximately 16 seconds at around 75kph. Unlike bungy, Skyjump participants do not hang upside down or bounce around. You simply fall fast and smooth and then slow to a safe landing."

Kiteboard / Snowkite
One is on the water, the other is on the snow. Both of them involve strapping a board to your feet and a giant kite to your back and letting the wind drag you around and give you the lift for huge jumps.


This might be a new word for you. According to Wikipedia, "Zorbing is an activity where riders enter into large inflatable plastic balls and ride along the ground, on water or down hills." I can already see that I have sparked your interest.

The web site of the company that makes these human gerbil balls makes it sound even more exciting:

"The Zorb ride is just a totally bizarre and fun adventure experience where you'd be protected by a massive cushion of air whilst sphering down a hill. Throw in a bucket of water, hop inside the inflated Zorb ball, run, tumble, flip or slide inside it, doesn't sound fun enough yet? Take up to 2 of your mates with you inside the Zorb! Zorb is the sport of rolling down a hill inside a giant inflatable ball and where New Zealand, once again leads the world in stupid things to do while you're on a vacation."

Oh, look, another new word. This one is some sort of inflatable body board for white water rafting. Well, not rafting obviously because there isn't a raft, there is a sledge. Here, let this web site explain it better:

"In the late 70's some keen Frenchmen were lying on bags full of lifejackets and polystyrene and floating downstream through river rapids high up in the Alps. In 1981 the first sledge or "hydrospeed" was built and since it's become a recognized sport with competitions organized every year."

It's like a race car...on water. You go fast, you get wet. Check it out here.

Obviously, they were running out of good weird names to give to these crazy new activities they are inventing here in New Zealand all the time. So now we have shweebing. A shweeb is a pedal-powered recumbent vehicle hanging from a monorail racetrack. I bet you can already picture it in your head. Check out this web site to see the retardation.

Oh these crazy Kiwis and their love of crazy sport. This is just a small selection of all the crazy things you can do if you are so inclined while in New Zealand. We, of course, did none of these things. We saw museums and ate lots of food and sat around in hot water. We thought that was adventure enough.

— Sara


Bradford said...

I want to Zorb!

Bradford said...

I found Zorbing in, of course, Gatlinburg! Its like an hour away...We'll let you know what you missed!