A Gorge, a
January 10, 2006
This morning we woke up to yet another rainy day in Nelson. I figured the one redeeming thing about this type of weather is
being able to enjoy a good cup of coffee (or latte, in my case). To me, there’s just something cozy about that.
But try relaying this silver-lining to two friends who have not yet had their morning cup of coffee. It is quite difficult. I believe Jim’
s exact words to me were ‘This is how morning people get killed’. It was clearly time to get him to the café.
From there, it was time to get a start on our day. Our plan was to travel along the west coast en route to Hopitika. Our first stop
along the way was going to be the Buller Gorge. This was the home to the longest swing bridge and the ‘Flying Fox’.
Talk about a narrow bridge! It took quite a bit of leaning and squeezing if two people coming from opposite directions needed to
pass one another. Not only that, the bridge was made so that you had to look down to the river with every step. Guys like Jim
(who have a fear of heights) were not made for bridges like this. He walked several meters before throwing in the towel. This
earned him the big ‘P-word’ award in my book. However, I do understand what it’s like having an irrational fear. But still. It was
fun to have him lose a bit of his pride while he watched his two friends that were girls having no problem at all crossing the thing.
When we got to the other side, we made our way to the Flying Fox. There were two different options of crossing the bridge: the
first was just sitting normally and being strapped to a cable parallel to the bridge and heading across the river that way; the
second was being strapped to the cable and doing the ‘Supaman’ ride across which was where in order to take-off, you had to do a
running start and then dive over the ledge. Kat opted for the normal ride; I opted for the Supaman.
I can’t explain how cool this was. Sooooo fun! I could see people below thinking:
It’s a bird. It’s a plane. But they were wrong…
It was SupaJen!
Sadly, I lost my flying powers only seconds later. But they were great while they lasted.
From here, we soon were driving on the west coast of the island – one of the drives that is supposed to be one of the best in the
world. I am pretty sure, however, that it really only receives that claim-to-fame when the weather is clear out. On a day like
today, the coastline was practically invisible. And forget about seeing the water – the entire ocean blended into the sky in an oh-
so-beautiful whitish-gray color. It was literally impossible to see where one ended and the other one started.
We did make a couple stops along the way. The first one was at a beach that actually looked surprisingly cool with the eerie effect.
The second stop was at the Pancake Rocks. These rock formations looked pretty cool but I can only imagine how incredible they
must look when the coast is the bright-blue that it is capable of getting. For this reason, when I have to come back to catch the
ferry, I am going to take this route (weather permitting, of course) to get the full effect. I know New Zealand is beautiful. It is just
really hard to grasp that concept, though, in weather like this.
SupaJen to the rescue.
On the swing bridge at the Buller Gorge.