> Trips > New Zealand 2002 > Fri Dec-27
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Fri Dec-27 Huka Falls, bungy-jumping, Taupo -> Christchurch, The George Hotel (Backroads Day 8)
After a quick breakfast at the Copthorne, we loaded our gear into the van and drove to Huka Falls. We viewed the Falls, then walked to Spa Park along a groomed dirt path that follows the banks of the Waikato River, which is the longest river in New Zealand and the only outlet for Lake Taupo, which is the largest lake in New Zealand.

We drove a short distance to Taupo Bungy and watched several people bungy jump from the cantilevered platform 148 feet above the water below. No interest on our parts to partake! The jumper is tied to the shock cord (usually by their ankles, but see the diagram below for many other choices), and then jumps off, stretching the cord out the cord to a balance between the force of gravity and the stretch of the shock cord, bounces back up, and then goes down and up in decreasing oscillations two more times, and then is lowered gently into a waiting rubber dinghy.

We drove on to downtown Taupo, played in the park, and had lunch at Nonni's with a view out toward the volcanoes. The kids all did the Stunt Jump and went off with Paul and Jo while Ben and Lisa checked out Scenic Cellars, who claim to be the largest wine shop in all of New Zealand. Judging from their underground cellar room (see below), it is larger than most wine shops in the USA! We bought a bottle of 1994 Ararimu from Matua Valley Wines in Waimauku, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

After a bit more playtime in the park we piled into the Backroads van one last time and Paul and Jo drove us to the Taupo airport and we all had a heartfelt goodbye. The airport (which is quite small) was deserted when we arrived, but soon filled up with people, including the other half of our Backroads group! Chris, Lori, Emerald, Donovan, and Katie were on their way to Auckland. So we had one last goodbye before we boarded our Beech 1900D to Wellington.

Depart: Taupo 4:50pm Arrive: Wellington 5:50pm Flight: 2505
Depart: Wellington 7:40pm Arrive: Christchurch 8:25pm Flight: 463

We had a light dinner in the Wellington airport, then caught our Boeing 737 to Christchurch. We picked up our Range Rover (1999?) -- right hand drive, of course -- loaded up the luggage, and drove into downtown Christchurch to our lodgings. After getting the kids to bed, Ben and Lisa enjoyed the 1994 Ararimu. The cab franc was obvious in the peppery nose, and overall the wine seemed like a Bordeaux, though it was hard to say what region of Bordeaux it would have been from. It didn't have the depth of fruit and mouth feel of California Bordeaux-blend, and it was thin for a Bordeaux, so perhaps it tasted like a 1988 Bordeaux. Perhaps the best NZ red wine of our trip so far, though the 2000 Walnut Ridge Pinot Noir was quite scrumptious.

Rooms for 2 nights:
The George Hotel
50 Park Terrace
Ph: 64 3 379 4560
Fax: 64 3 366 6747

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