A STAG GOES BARMY: England cricket fan Craig Norwood’s New Zealand tour blog

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THE tour of New Zealand maybe over, but here Mansfield Town fan Craig Norwood continues to look at life travelling with the Barmy Army following the England cricket team.

In his latest blog, daredevil Craig takes to the skies to carry out a sky dive over the stunningly scenic Taupo.

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WE had a car booked for the two-day journey to get from Wellington to the next test in Auckland. Planned stopover on route was the town of Taupo. Taupo is surrounded by the largest lake in New Zealand and has breathtaking views throughout.

It was going to take around four hours to get from Wellington to Taupo. Hopes of experiencing the scenic views were dashed as it pretty much carried on raining as it was in Wellington to getting to Taupo. Some nice towns and views were passed through and in the distance as entering Lake Taupo we could just make out Mount Doom, as it was known in the Lord Of The Rings franchise.

We had a tandem sky dive planned the next morning, the small matter of 15,000ft, and we were delighted to meet up with another friend from the cricket as she would be participating in this with us as well.

I had a choice to book for us at either 12,000 or 15,000, so why not go for the highest and longer freefall. I had done a skydive before about eight years back for charity but that was over Nottingham and I think the views over Lake Taupo were going to be something a little different and special.

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The night before we met up with Kirk, who had arrived a day earlier and his sister Gill for a curry. From the market town of Warsop she now resides in Taupo with her boyfriend who is working out here. This was probably not the best choice of cuisine, with the sky dive in the morning. Taupo is simply a stunning place, this has become a normal comment in my blogs, but it just goes to show across all of New Zealand there are these gems and you can’t help feeling spoilt by them.

It was raining and overcast on the morning of the jump, but the rain stopped and the clouds cleared and there was no getting out of this, not like we wanted too, we were all excited for it.

Our jump was with a company called Skydive Taupo and on arrival our pink plane that we would be jumping out of was there

waiting.

All three of us decided to get a DVD & photo package of the jump done, via a handycam on the arm of our

instructor who we were jumping with.

Off we went up in the plane; of course I would be lying if I didn’t say there were a few nerves as we made our way up in the plane. The views were simply breathtaking. We dropped off three other passengers at 12,000ft and begin our steady incline up to 15,000ft. As we were getting there oxygen masks were deployed and breathing became a bit more difficult. Not far up compared to Felix Beaugamer who jumped at 120,000-plus ft in his spacesuit.

The door reopened and I was inched closer to the edge to be the first victim, there was turning back now and before I knew it I was gone. Sixty seconds freefalling felt a lot longer, before my instructor Rhys opened the parachute and we glided down for about five minutes to base. From here you could really relax and take in the stunning views across the lakes and mountains. This jump is apparently the best to do in NZ and you can see why.

I landed safely and waited for the other two to land safely. It was their first ever sky dive and no better location I think to experience it. We all simply loved it and as the Kiwi’s say it was ‘awesome’ and ‘sweet as’. I know some people wouldn’t dare jump out of a plane but it’s one of those things I would highly recommend you do and it’s one to tick off the bucket list.

If you’re ever in New Zealand then Taupo is the place to do it.