June 2, 2013
Today was a very wet and cold day. It also had its fun moments and its not-so-fun moments.
We woke up early after exploring the nightlife in NZ last night and went to the ziplining place. The owner of the company discussed how his company was an ecotourism company. They minimize their impact to the environment by using trees that are already there to make tree house platforms. They don’t use big engines or anything that would create pollution. They use the existing gondola system as a carpool system that runs anyways to get their guests to the top of their mountain where their lines are. The tour also includes how they are eco-friendly in their practices. The natural step is a theory that analyzes the sustainability of an idea. The four stages are: take, make, break, and cake. Basically, in a nutshell, those steps just mean that they won’t take anything from the environment that can’t be replaced, make anything that can’t be broken down, breakdown the environment, and cake is allowing everyone to have an equal piece of the “pie.” One thing that they mentioned for the cake step is that they give back to an organization called Keva (the name might be off) that allows people to create profiles online about their business idea. Then people online can donate money as a start up fund, and once they make it back you get your money back. I might be oversimplifying this or have it slightly wrong but that’s the gist. I thought that was really cool. The Ziptrek Ecotours company definitely demonstrates sustainability in their practices.
This is what we would’ve seen if it was a clear day!
Ziplining was actually really fun despite the pouring rain. The guides taught us to go upside down and how to do a trust fall into the line. It wasn’t scary at all, just fun. The rain got in my eyes since I was going so fast but it was still fun. Too bad there was so much cloud cover that we didn’t get a view at all. The rain was also not their camera’s friend so we didn’t get any pictures while ziplining. I have a group picture on my camera that I can upload when I get back to the US.
After lunch, we had a lecture about ecotourism versus adventure tourism, mostly specific to Queenstown but also related to the entire country of NZ. We also visited two companies that did bungy jumping and jet boating and heard them give their opinions about adventure tourism and operating procedures. To be honest, this part was pretty miserable for the sole reason that we were still very wet and cold and uncomfortable. I still paid attention and liked their information, I just wanted to be in warm dry clothes the whole time though.
Tomorrow, we say goodbye to Queenstown and move on to Te Anau. We are going there mainly to visit Milford Sound but the only road that goes there has been closed and is due to open in the next week but we’re not sure if it’ll be open by the date of our tour. I am going to be super bummed if I can’t go though. It’s iconic of NZ! I guess we’ll find out soon. I am just over this cold, persistent rain. Hope for good weather for me! I get to go to bed early tonight, so I’m taking advantage of that. Goodnight!