Thursday, April 20, 2017

Flying with 3 kayaks, a paraglider and a drone in search of Kiwi easter eggs

There is something very magical about NZ

Always up for a last minute epic adventure me and Jez jumped on a plane on Friday to spend Easter in New Zealand. All year Jez has talked about how much he wanted to go to NZ so with a rare 5 days off over Easter all plans went to trying to get us both to NZ. So its turns out with less than a weeks notice its actually cheaper to fly to America from Sydney than it is to fly to Queenstown or Christchurch. I searched every single option and just as I was about to call it quits I saw an opportunity. Not cheap but not crazy and definitely not the quickest or most direct route but it was an option. So sure enough in true Jez and Claire style we found it Wednesday day, booked it Wednesday night and flew Friday.

NZ South Island in the sun
Our bargin!!!! route saw us take a quick flight to Brisbane followed by a flight to NZ. Landing at midnight in Dunedin (not) traveling light with all gear (3 boats, 2 paddles, a ton of camera gear, a paraglider and 2 sleeping bags) we set up camp in the car hire lounge and slept for the night. Turns out no car hire companies meet the international flight or at least not any of the companies who still had cars left two days before the long Easter break.

Settling in to our luxury accommodation for the night

The car rental guy super smiley meet us as we woke and looked in shock at the amount of kit we had with us whilst explaining we had only booked and he only had available a tiny Toyota Swift. No worries! Somehow we managed to just fit into the car and onto the roof. The little go cart the perfect boating and paragliding truck.

Loads of room

In the planning stages (all 24hrs of it) I had spoken alot to the dam and we were in luck. Recent low water levels meant we had water everyday at the Hawea White Water Park. Only a couple of hours a day over the Easter weekend but water sure enough. So we jumped in the car and rallied straight to the park. We arrived, changed and jumped on not wasting a minute. The levels were a little low but after surfing Penrith all summer it felt amazing to be back on a natural river with proper features. We paddled hard until the water went off and then went for and explore. Checking out the sites. Jez had only 3 days out here and had a new toy to play with. So out came the drone and the filming commenced.

Introducing the Blanchards
Jez's new toy

That night we got some awesome news that we could stay in Wanaka right by the waves and that the weather was going to be perfect the next day for a flight. So early Easter Sunday Jez set off to Coronet Peak to go paragliding and I headed back to the White Water Park.

Waking up some muscles that have not been used for months

Monday quickly came and with less than 24hrs left we both spent the morning using up every last ounce of energy at the park. I worked on lunar orbits, tricky wus, clean blunts and air screws and Jez threw down mcanstys, clean blunts, airscrews and back pan ams. I was sweet this was the first time Jez has paddled decent flows at the park. It had gone up from 65 to 90 which was perfect. That afternoon we rallied around in the go kart and checked out loads more sites.

Clean Blunts for the camera

Jez throws his first clean blunts
Trying to get that airscrew feeling back

Jez mcnastys as the locals watch on
Then Tuesday a quick stop a skippers canyon before checking in Jez's bags at the airport before rallying to Queenstown to grab a Ferg Burger and then rallying back for Jez to catch his flight.

From dawn till dusk the natural beauty is insane

I wondered Thursday night before we flew if we had made the right decision, spending so much and having to fly such a random route for just 3 days, 4 nights. The awesome was. Yes. It was a perfect, amazing Easter Adventure. And the Chocolate Easter Bunnies. The icing on a pretty incredible Kiwi cake.

We don't get chance to literally surf together much
Signing out from NZ... Easter Kiwi Style

Check out the incredible footage Jez shot of some of the amazing views we saw during our trip.