31 March 2008

Adrenaline Junkie

Having just watched the video of a friend's recent skydiving exploits, I'm reminded of how much (curiously) I really want to try this activity for myself. Some years ago I watched similar footage of another friend taking the plunge in Taupo and immediately felt this was the place to make my tandem skydiving ambitions a reality. Why? Well it's just so New Zealand!Adrenaline acts in high places are a common theme all over New Zealand, as well as a number of softer, yet equally lofty pursuits.

In Auckland, the southern hemisphere's tallest building provides an excellent jumping off point for well... jumping off! 192m straight down. Other visitors use the lift. As previously mentioned, tandem skydiving is on offer in Taupo , as well as Queenstown and Wanaka, so participants can choose which spectacular views to admire on the descent - mountains and lakes or volcanoes and lakes. Hot air ballooning is always a favourite and an activity I can heartily recommend. Gliding across the Canterbury Plains at sunrise is simply magical.

I've yet to try ballooning over the vineyards of Hawkes Bays, but there is time.There are other ways to reach new heights in New Zealand (or plunge from them) including bungy jumping, heli-hiking and all number of scenic flights, but in my opinion, nothing matches the thrill and the grace of hang-gliding (tandem of course). From the initial adrenaline surge of running off the edge of the Remarkables Range outside of Queenstown to suddenly finding myself silently soaring across the skies above the Wakatipu Basin this was an experience to savour.

04 March 2008

Portugese wave power station

Wave power is seen by some as the holy grail of renewable energy but it hasn’t become a commercial reality - until now that is - the world’s first commercial wave power farm has gone live in Portugal using pelamis sea snakes.

There’s been talk about harnessing the power of the ocean around NZ for sime time with the most recent attempt being the Crest Energy in the Kaipara.

Early in 2007 PGP director Chris Curlett said he thought “the first wave farm could be fully commissioned in New Zealand within the next two-and-a-half to three years. And that would be operational, feeding power direct into the grid … There’s no question that New Zealand’s got the most marvellous wave pattern for marine energy all the way up the west coast.” Read more »