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Brendon starts off with a lesson.
Brendon starts off with a lesson.
Lifts to Mt Hutt.
Looking out to Mt Cook.

Mt Hutt Ski

Thursday, March 14, 2002
Brendon heads to New Zealand, the adventure capital, for a spot of cool skiing and hair-raising bungy.

Mt Hutt gets nowhere near the publicity its southern cousin Queenstown does. Maybe those who know about it prefer to keep it that way, as Mt Hutt boasts the longest season of skiable snow per year in the Southern Hemisphere.

It is set up as a resort for day-trippers, so mountain traffic is usually limited to the amount of vehicles they can squeeze into the car park. This means there is plenty of room to spread out on the slopes. Once the sun starts to set, the mountain convoy heads towards the town of Methven, the official base for Mt Hutt Skiers.

Methven is surrounded by the fields of the Canterbury Plains and has a magnificent backdrop of rugged mountains. This once quiet, rural village is now where sports-lovers meet. It offers excitement for people who want to fish, golf, jetboat, walk, bike ride, horse ride, parachute, hot air balloon and, of course, snow ski. With accommodation for 1300 covering most needs and budgets and all the necessary facilities such as banks, supermarket, medical centre, butcher and children's creche, it is an ideal base for visitors.

Beluga Lodge was built as a cottage in 1909 and is now a luxurious but charming b&b. Rooms have king-size beds, ensuites, heating control and robes. For evening relaxation they offer fat armchairs in front of an open fire, or you can soak in the garden hot tub.

Ski A Rama has a great deal for beginners. You have two one-and-a-half-hour lessons — one morning, one afternoon, ski hire and lift ticket for one day. Group or private lessons are available every day from one of around 70 instructors from all over the globe.

For those who think they've got the skiing licked and want something a little more adventurous, there is a brand new attraction called Mt Hutt Bungy.

This hair-raising adventure is the brainchild of James Urquhart and Aaron Ward. It took two-and-a-half years to get the operation going as there were so many things needing approval, and now they have the only ski-off bungy jump in the world.

While the jump is only about 40m, the platform is 1600m above sea level, and from the platform you can look across the mountains to the ocean.

Once on the deck, the jumper is kitted up in a full body harness. In attendance are either two jump masters or a jump master and jump operator who oversee the procedure. Jump masters must be registered, and this happens after they have completed a minimum of 250 hours and/or 1250 jumps of incident-free operation. There is also a photographer present so you have proof that you actually did it!

There are two choices of jump. The first is the normal bungy where you just jump or fall off the edge. You might prefer to take a running leap over the edge with the bungy attached to the waist and be winched back to the platform.

The other choice is skiing or snowboarding off a ramp that runs over the platform. Once the bungy has finished bouncing, you are winched to the bottom, then you un-click the harness, ski to the chairlift and ride back up the mountain.

If all that's not enough, Mt Hutt Bungy can take you on a Triple Thrill. You dive, ski or ride off Kea Rock over Canterbury, ride with Mt Hutt Helicopters to the Rakaia Gorge and then with Rakaia Gorge Scenic Jet up the gorge.

Location

1½ hours west of Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island.

Cost

Mt Hutt Bungy has daily jumps for around $80 per person. They operate from June to October, weather permitting.
Ski A Rama has six-day packages including return economy airfares to Christchurch, accommodation at the Beluga Lodge, car hire and five-day lift passes starting at $1059 ex Sydney, $1121 ex Melbourne and Brisbane, $1247 ex Adelaide and $1440 ex Perth, per person, twin share.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Tourism New Zealand: Ph: (02) 9728 5801
Website: www.purenz.com
NZSKI.COM
Website: www.nzski.com
Ski A Rama: Ph: 1300 650 400
Mt Hutt Bungy
Ph: 0011 64 3 302 9969, Fax: 0011 64 3 302 9968
E-mail: info@mthuttbungy.com
Website: www.mthuttbungy.com
Beluga Lodge
Ph: 0011 64 3 302 8290, Fax: 0011 64 3 302 9290
E-mail: beluga.lodge@xtra.co.nz
Website: www.beluga.co.nz
HERTZ Australia: Ph: 13 30 39
6/10 Dorcus Street,
South Melbourne 3205
www.hertz.com
For a safe and healthy journey, talk to the travel doctor: 1300 658 844 or visit traveldoctor.com.au
Vaccinations: Tetanus and Measles if under 30 years and no previous booster.

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