Posted by: Thomas | October 8, 2010

The Youngest Country on Earth and Australia

New Zealand, Queenstown

New Zealand, Queenstown

Its diverse, sophisticated and multicultural society, and the honesty, friendliness, and openness of Kiwis impressed me once again. New Zealand’s awesome landscapes, lush forests, amazing wildlife, and pleasant climate make it a haven for many outdoors activities, and a great place to unwind. New Zealand was the last landmass on earth to be discovered, making it the youngest country. I was very privileged to study at University of Otago in New Zealand year 1999, and after 11 years I returned back to visit snowy mountains, volcanoes, delectable beaches, remote hiking trails, fiords, wilderness lakes, friendly people, and much much more. When you travel New Zealand, it is the natural attractions that put the magic in your day.

 

During this short visit we have done and experienced many amazing and adventures attractions, but since I am limited with time and space I will only cover a few in this post.

New Zealand, Champange Breakfast

New Zealand, Champange Breakfast

What a better way to start a day than to start it with a champagne breakfast on beautiful hills of New Zealand after a morning flight in a hot air balloon over the area where the movie “Lord of the Rings” was filmed in Queenstown, which is quite possibly the best landscape in the world to view. We float gently with the breeze, enjoying incredible panoramic views and an hour later landed on an incredible spot to have champagne breakfast.

Hot Air Balloon - 8000 Feet

Hot Air Balloon - 8000 Feet

 

Hot Air Balloon - Landing

Hot Air Balloon - Landing

 

Piloting plane over Queenstown

Piloting plane over Queenstown

After a very calm, incredible and amazing hot air balloon ride I wanted to do something that would give me an adrenaline rush, so I went to Queenstown’s airport to pilot my own 4 seat airplane, which was extremely fun and a little difficult. I realized piloting is not for me. I was sitting in the pilot seat, and the instructor was acting as a co-pilot and telling me what to do. The sky was very busy and my job was to keep the aircraft on 4,000 feet and fly over the beautiful lakes and the city of Queenstown. Since the landing is one of the most difficult and dangerous tasks my instructor took over the control of the aircraft and landed safely. This was really an experience for life.

Incredible Shotover Jet Ride

Incredible Shotover Jet Ride

New Zealand is an excellent land for adventure, and since I like adventure I wanted to experience the ultimate in “thrill therapy”, Shotover Jet. Bungy jumping I have done last time I was in New Zealand, so I wanted to try something different this time. This adrenalin rush involved water. Shotover Jet skims on water centimeters deep along the famous Shotover River, and Jet pilots maneuver engines millimeters from cliffs throwing in full 360º spins for wow factor at breath taking speeds. The spectacular Shotover River Canyons are very narrow. Rock faces blur in your peripheral vision, the opaque water sprays into myriads of white crystals with every turn, and you grip the hand rail for comfort and reassurance and then let out a whoop of excitement as the Jet spins the boat around in its own boat length. It was very thrilling, fun, adventurous, and the World’s most exciting Jet Boat ride.

 

The best thing of all, this is actually good for you. Studies have shown a good thrill livens up your system, waking up dormant biochemical pathways that refresh, relieve stress and heal. You experience a sense of euphoria and well being as your brain receives a welcome cocktail of oxygen, sugar, adrenaline, cortisol and endorphins. The result is a natural high that makes you feel great! Below is a 3-minute video from this amazing, thrilling and unforgettable one hour ride.

Minus 5 Bar Made of Ice

Minus 5 Bar Made of Ice

After so many thrilling experiences my friend and I were in a need of a drink so we went to Minus 5º bar, which is totally made of ice and literally the coolest bar in Queenstown. Minus 5° is a totally unique experience, it is a bar produced from ice. The walls, sculptures, seats, and even the glasses we drunk out of were made from ice. It was a very fun place.

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

The drive from Queenstown to Dunedin, where I lived and studied in year 1999 was beautiful. In the beautiful and incredible Peninsula of Otago we saw yellow eyed penguins, which are the third largest penguins behind the Emperor. These incredible birds got their name from the yellow-orange cat-like eyes. This penguin lives and breeds on the forested coastline of New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic Islands to the south of New Zealand. We were very lucky to see them up-close and take great pictures. Since they are shy and very easily disturbed we had to view them from hides.

 

During this trip we also visited Auckland, which is located in the North Island of New Zealand. After New Zealand we flew back to Sydney, Australia, where we toured the World’s famous Opera House, went for wale-watching, had the opportunity to play with koala bears, and just enjoyed and had the time of our lives. Sydney is a very vibrant, dynamic and accessible city just waiting to be explored. I am very happy being there and having the opportunity to explore Australia’s largest and most populous city with an approximate population of 4.5 million people. There are many things to see and do in Sydney. Even though it was winter in Australia the weather was absolutely fabulous. To see more pictures from Syndey please click here.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney, Australia

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