When i turned 50 I was a fairly new Brisbaneite, and some of my new friends organised a wonderful birthday dinner. When I turned 60 I was again in a new place, this time Christchurch NZ, and treated to another dinner with more new friends. When I turned 70, I decided dinners were all very well but I wanted to do SOMETHING, and as I’d already made a number of parachute jumps in my younger days, and done some gliding and flown in light aircraft, and because some friends and relatives from Australia were coming over to help celebrate, a balloon ride over the Canterbury Plains seemed a good idea (it was). But now I was turning 80. I wanted to do a wing walk or have a ride in an open cockpit Tiger Moth. Neither being available, Dave suggested I consider a zipline adventure in Rotorua on the way back from the wedding in Russell. We could also have a small family luncheon or dinner on the actual day.
Do have a look at the website. https://www.canopytours.co.nz/experiences/the-ultimate-canopy-tour/
We were in a small group of 6 people with two guides. The company is very safety-conscious. Gearing up took a while – it seemed very hot at first but we were going into rainforest and knew it would be much cooler there – and it was.
A short bus ride to the rainforest entrance and we were finally off. First a long walk through the forest. At one point the guide stopped and started whistling. and produced a worm from a small Tic-tac container… someone was invited to hold out their hand, and a few moments later the worm disappeared .. the culprit was too quick for me to photograph properly.
On we staggered through the bush, heavy metal clasps clinking and banging .. until we reached the magic door. Then all discomfort was forgotten.
Over the narrow swing bridge – I love swing bridges, the swingier the better, and I have no qualms about looking down and admiring the circular fern tops…
Up ahead we could see a platform round a tree trunk, and before I knew it we were up there and preparing for the first zipline rider to take off. Note all the safety gear.
That’s Dave in the distance, and here he is again just reaching the landing platform. The guide was controlling the speed.
And so it went on … and on … and on. According to the website there were 3 swing bridges and 1200 metres of ziplines, 6 in all, one of them a double (side by side) 400 metres (I beat Dave but he claims I launched myself too early), a 50 metre cliff walkway and an 18 metre controlled descent.
This is from the official website:
My only regret was that too often I swung around while zipping along, so I could not see where I was going and could not put my arms out and really fly as I wanted to – after all birds don’t fly backwards! We were cautioned on one line (only) to keep our arms in anyway as we went close to a tree. I’ve since learnt it was probably because the thick cord which linked my harness to the clip on the line was twisted. I will just have to go and do it again.
More photos: The last four were taken by one of the guides. The ‘controlled descent’ was straight down, you had to push yourself off into space. One of the others in our group, a young girl who confessed to being scared of heights, did really well up to that last descent – but the guide was soon able to soothe her. I wish I knew what he had said to her.
After a quick lunch we drove on south, around Lake Taupo to a small old-fashioned holiday park on the southern shore at Turangi. We walked (I staggered – I was SO tired) into the town and miraculously found a wonderful authentic Italian restaurant up a rather seedy staircase … the food and wine and indeed the whole service from a smiling Italian Mamma were all first rate but I was too tired to fully appreciate it.
Back to camp. As one reviewer wrote: “For fifty dollars a night one should not complain too much when supplied with four walls and roof over your head…” plus a double bed with a mattress but nothing else. We only had thin sleeping bags and the heater did not work for long, so we packed up very early and were on our way.