Rolf Potts travels around
the world with no luggage

Exploring the laws of physics in New Zealand

October 1, 2010 by Rolf Potts

Ever since my no-baggage journey began I had been looking forward to getting to New Zealand — a country I’d never visited before. In particular I was stoked to visit the South Island and see Queenstown, which has a reputation as a world-capital of adventure sports like bungee jumping and jet boating and mountain biking. As it turned out, Queenstown was also stunningly beautiful — a great place to sit and do nothing in particular along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, in the shadow of the snow-capped Southern Alps (which are referred to in this region by a rather amusing name, “The Remarkables”). It’s a setting as scenic as any mountain town I’ve seen in Patagonia or Himachal Pradesh or British Columbia.

My favorite mountain activity since my teenage days has been to hike into the backcountry and disappear for a few days, to loaf and invite my soul and commune a bit with nature. In this situation I didn’t have the time (or the equipment) for a far-flung backpacking journey, so I kept things simple by indulging in a series of alpine thrill sports: jet-boating the icy waters of the Shotover River; exploring the mountains above Queenstown in a Land Rover; swinging through Shotover Canyon head-first at 80 miles an hour; and flying through the snowy forests above Lake Wakatipu on a zip-line.

Since these activities are more rooted physics than narrative, I’ll forgo the analysis and let the video footage speak for itself:

My adventure activities on the South Island of New Zealand were undertaken with the assistance of Destination Queenstown. The Land Rover mountain excursions was booked with Nomad Safaris; the jet boat ride was with Shotover Jet Boat; the zipline tour was with ZipTrek; the extreme free-fall experience was with Shotover Canyon Swing. On a less adrenaline-fueled note, we also took an afternoon wine tour with Appellation Central.

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