Taupo Cliffhanger

Last week I had the opportunity to do a Taupo Cliffhanger (swing) during my lunch break. It was a locals day where they were doing some promotional video and photography. A work colleague and I hightailed it up there during our lunch break to give it a go. We whipped home first to get some pants though as doing it in our uniform skirts might have been a bit embarrassing.
When we turned up a Kiwi Experience bus had already arrived with a mob of backpackers so it took us a bit longer than we had bargained for. After signing our disclaimer forms and being weighed we lined up for a tandem swing. The first guy I had seen doing the swing did it upside down which really freaked me out until I realised that this was his preferred way of doing it! Not me thank you very much.
Basically the cliffhanger is where you are put into a harness which is suspended off a pole which is then moved out off the platform where you are suspended over a drop into the river. Now it is a HUGE drop to the river below. After the obligatory countdown the cord is pulled and you plummet downwards until you then swing upwards (pendulum style). Woo hoooooooo! It was incredible. I am very surprised my work mate didn’t lose her hearing.
Anyway, we didn’t bother sticking around to buy any photos or get the video but here is a link to the Taupo Cliffhanger website. Very awesome lunchtime activity 🙂

New Zealand update

Well so far it is now into my 8th week in the new job. Slightly (and I mean slightly) feeling a bit more confident but then this goes out the window when an obscure flight routing walks in the door. Needless to say I can quite confidently say that this is the HARDEST JOB I have EVER had! Purely down to time management, learning new systems, trying to manage on a pay cut of significant value and settle in to a new place of abode.

So how has it been moving back to NZ after 13+ years away? Freaking hard! Love being nearer to my family and friends but then we moved to Taupo so this has made it a bit more difficult to catch up with everyone.

The lifestyle in Taupo is what we expected, outdoor orientated. People who live in Taupo want to be here either because they were born and raised here or because they moved here specifically for the lifestyle. There seems to be a good mix of work and lifestyle although I have yet to fully accomplish this balance. NZ in general is incredibly fortunate to have access to amazing landscapes and to be so uncrowded. We can be on a beach and run into very few people in a day.

Not so hot on this scale. Your biggest corporate work points are Auckland or Wellington and choosing these locations would defeat the purpose of us returning to NZ. So you scale down to a smaller town which means less jobs to choose or those jobs on offer are not really what you are after. In short, you take what you can get and hope it pays enough to cover your monthly expenses.

I clearly remember now why we left NZ in the first place in order to get ahead in life. A living wage is not really on offer for many roles and then coupled with costly power and phone bills we have been a bit shocked. For the internet and phone alone we are looking at $110 per month. Considering I paid 40 pound a month for all you could get internet and mobile phone the NZ pricing has been a huge bummer. This $110 also only gets you 20gig a month as well. No wonder a lot of New Zealanders don’t see the internet as an essential. I find this very disappointing. However if you have a choice between paying your rent or getting connected then of course the choice is obvious for a family. A lot of it comes down to competition (lack of), infrastructure costs being high for organisations and a limited population to divide the cost amongst.

I clearly remember NZ coffee as being rather disappointing when we first left. I am very pleased to say that this is no longer the case. A fine cup of brew is nearly always available. Fresh fruit and vegetables are plentiful and generally of lovely quality. I adore the fresh eggs, they taste and look magnificent. There is great quality food to be found if you look. The only thing I am missing is my French range of cheeses but even now the NZ Govt has lifted the ban on unpasteurized cheese and we should see more coming into the country. Hooray!

I can’t deny it has been hard work coming back and it still continues to be hard work at the moment settling. The important thing is to stay focused and keep an eye on the big picture. We are here to be nearer family and to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle on offer here. These are so much more important at the end of the day than a soul eating career or more stuff that I just don’t need. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, having to get rid of everything to move country is scary but also very freeing. Clear out the clutter and start with nothing and you realise what is important. Having said that though, a proper bed would be good at some point 🙂