|Slept like a log on the first night here since we have not been disturbed by snoring Whippets. Lovely! The Book of Words recommends a walk from the centre of Taupo to the Huka Falls which is about a 3 hour return along easy track so we thought we'd potter round that as a start. Well, all I can say is 3 hours my backside! It took us 5 and we were completely knackered by the end of it. It's a fantastic walk along the riverside, the water in the river is so clear you can see right to the bottom, even in the deepest places. It also goes past the Huka Lodge, a very nice set of cottages from only $2550 per night (meals extra).
The falls themselves are more like rapids, Steve's convinced you could kayak through it until we looked on the other side of the bridge and discovered it really was a waterfall. On the way back we stopped at Taupo Bungy to watch a girl jump. We were standing next to some people who were on a coach tour with her and they were laughing as she jumped and screamed "bugger". Well we can catergorically state that was NOT what she said, what she screamed definitely had 2 words and 3 syllables which you can fill in yourselves.
When we got back Steve decided he was going to do a skydive as apparently it's the cheapest place in NZ to do it. We didn't dwell on what they might have done to cut costs. Typical Steve, phones up to book it for the next morning and the bloke on the phone says no, but if you can be at the airport in half an hour you can do it now!!
So with no time to worry, I set off for the airport. 15,000 feet is the highest a tandem sky-dive is allowed to go, so I went for that option. The sky dive operation did seem to remarkably casual, but I didn't dwell on that as the chap packing the parachutes seemed to know what he was doing. The chap I was to be attached to, turned out to be from Wales and used to be a rigger with Vodafone. As he didn't appear to be showing any outward signs of depressions I was slightly reassured. It was then time for the briefing which took all of about 60 seconds. It was along the line of - you're strapped to me and I don't want to die so don't worry! It was now time for the take off - 7 of us (1 pilot, 3 jumpers and 3 professions to strap to) in a tiny plane. There literally wasn't space to sit properly so we were literally on top of each other as the plane took off. It actually took nearly half an hour of climbing (with spectacular views) to get up to 15,000 feet. The other 4 jumpers were booted out at 12,000 feet so when it came to my turn I had a clean route to the wide open door way. The ground looked a very very long way down. There was no time for ponderous perching as we were pushed out of the plane. The wind rush and adrenalin rush were incredible. We spun round and round and basically plummeted for 60 seconds for 10,000 feet. About the time I thought - the ground is getting rather close - the parachute opened and we were wrenched upwards and the fall was suddenly broken. The rest of the descent was graceful and peaceful as the guy piloted us to an exact spot on the landing strip. The hardest part was keep my feet high as we touched down. I pleased to report that no bones were broken. It actually took me about 20 minutes to calm down before I felt it was actually safe to drive home. The experience was truly incredible, although I'm not in any rush to repeat it!