Sunday, September 14, 2014

Adrenalin Rush

After a week in Palmerston North staying in the driveway of Pat and Peter, I left on Saturday morning. My workshop on Friday was exhausting but the feedback was great. A few tweeks to make for next time but it was well received but everyone there. They had come from as far afield as New Plymouth and Gisborne to be part of the day so I was really happy with the results.
Trundling up the highway I decided to do a right turn and have a look at Gravity Canyon, just south of Taihape. I had cheekily applied for a job there a while ago but was unsuccessful so wanted to see what it was like. Well…..

Those were promotional shots not taken by me.
Gravity Canyon has 4 rides, an 80m bridge bungy jump, a 50m freefall bridge swing, a 1km long flying fox (160km per hour) and a hydrolift, which is a water powered chairlift. After some deliberation I decided what the heck and got a ticket for the flying fox.
After being weighed and signing my life away, I walked up the track, and up the track and then up the stairs to the start point where two lovely employees strapped, bucked and clipped me into a canvas sack…..after a rest from walking all the way up the hill to get there. They also gave me a pair of goggles to wear due to the speed at which one travels on this beastie.
Then it was clip on time and lying face down suspended on the wires, they let me go.
These are stills I have taken from the video which I will post when I get back to a non mobile internet connection. There is a GoPro mounted in front of the rider/s recording the journey.
On release, you gather speed quite quickly down the wire and soon you are rushing headlong down towards the river and under the bridge. It is quite a rush but as you are around 175m above the river to start with, it is quite difficult to get the real sense of how fast you are travelling, which is around 160kmpH at the bottom.
Once you have stopped at the bottom, you are hauled back up to the top, which is almost as good as the trip down. The young guy then tried to upsell me on another trip straight away, but I turned him down. Then they reversed the clipping, buckling and strapping to get me out of the harness and then a lovely walk back down the track to HQ.
After a bit of consideration I decided to partake of the Bridge swing. This is an 50m freefall swing down into the river canyon. So after suiting up into the harness…
Those pics were taken by the official photographer…the next are stills taken from the video shot with a GoPro strapped to my arm…

Now that was a fantastic experience and one I believe that I will redo at some stage. A great feeling of freefall followed by a huge swing through the canyon above the river. Just a great feeling and a huge head rush! Brilliant!
There was a triple on the flying fox as I was being hoisted back up to the bridge and they sped underneath me. You can see just how deep this canyon is from the scale of this picture.
So after a coffee and a quiet time watching another group speed down on the flying fox, I headed out from the Gravity HQ and crossed over the road to the Makino Scenic Reserve which is a free DoC campsite. There is a toilet on site but that is all. The guys from the Gravity Canyon do the maintenance on the site. The carpark at Gravity Canyon is also a POP but I thought that a night in the quiet grassy reserve might be better than the carpark. It was a lovely quiet evening. With no internet connection from either Spark or Vodafone, no update possible….
It rained over the night and there was a fine drizzle as I left and headed back out to the highway, heading to the NZMCA Piriaka Park, just out of Taumarunui. I stopped on the way at the Tangiwai Memorial…

From there it was a quick stop at the Makatote Viaduct for morning tea
and then onwards to Piriaka Park.
I was a bit worried about having the train tracks right there and the road (uphill grind) behind but surprisingly it has been quiet. I have seen two trains go past but not a great amount of noise.
We shall see how bad it is tonight….
So tomorrow I will continue northwards and see how far I get…
Safe travels everyone.