Off the road, into the hills.


Gorge road jump park

Away from the crazy party scene of Queenstown.

Away from the crazy party scene of Queenstown.

This is where the screams came from...

This is where the screams came from…

Red Bull roast it gorge road jump park

Red Bull Roast It

A hi-tech video camera used to film dirt jumpers from above.

A hi-tech video camera used to film dirt jumpers from above.

Look carefully at this one....

Look carefully at this one….

Spectators at the Roast It jump session.

Spectators at the Roast It jump session.

A few days ago after a bit of a late night, I did absolutely nothing – I didn’t even leave the hostel until the evening and I have to say it was great to recharge the batteries. I went to the cinema for the first time in months and saw Django Unchained. I’m not the biggest Quentin Tarantino fan, but I have to say it was a great flick – go watch it! At the end (about 11.30pm), I saw Queenstown’s other side as I walked back to the hostel through the streets – a party scene for 18-25 year olds, which I have to admit to feeling a bit old for. Most people tend to come to Queenstown for a couple of days or so and move on after they get their fix of bungee, gorge swing, paragliding, jet boating etc etc.. People like myself hiring a bike for over a week are not the norm, but there is such a huge network of trails out there to be explored, I couldn’t resist seeing more. Most of it is really good single track cut out of the steep hillside, either by sheep, or by volunteers keen to put something back into the sport, which makes them much more fun to ride than many of the trails back in the UK.

One of my pedals into the hills took me round Ben Lomond, though it felt at times that I was going up most of it due to the steep climbs, though this was rewarded with pointing down some fantastic singletrack sheep tracks – the sort where falling off your bike is not an option. About 2/3 way round, the huge gorge of the Shotover river appeared. All of a sudden the feeling of being along in such a remote place made me back off a bit and not do anything silly. Whilst stopping to admire the view, I heard an almighty scream of a woman, which echoed around the valley. A bit concerned, I continued on round the hill to hear another long scream (think this one was a bloke, but if it was, he was screaming like a girl). I turned round to see a man swinging through the canyon – think of that rope swing you played on as a kid, make it 100 times bigger and imagine starting your swing with a vertical drop before continuing through the arc of the swing – you get the idea. Not so remote after all. Only if I fell, I wouldn’t have a rope to stop me plummeting to certain death!!

I’m afraid the blog is not so exciting at the moment, given I’m not on the move just now. For some reason, really interesting things worth writing about only seem to happen when I’m on the road, with all my clobber. Give it another week or so and all will be back to normal, as I plan to cycle up the west coast of the south island. In the mean time, Iv’e included a few pictures of the Red Bull Roast It competition (I have no idea what it means either – think I’m from the wrong generation) I saw part of last weekend at Queenstown Dirt Jump Park.


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