Mum always had the adventurous spirit so for her big 70th on December 15th, she thought she needed to do something spectacular to celebrate. And what better way than to test herself that to climb the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

I've driven over the bridge many times and lately the bridge has been in the news for its poor state and maintenance concerns. So I was looking forward to being under there first hand and seeing how bad it really is. And hopefully while on our adventure it won't collapse on us just yet!
But first we had to get into our sexy one piece suits. Poor Mum, the first one the instructor gave her didn't fit. Sure sign to diet Mum!  Further safety precautions were taken such as wearing of the helmet and the safety harness.

The whole tour took about 1.5hr but it certainly wasn't strenuos.  The instructor stopped a few times to tell us the history of the 50 year old bridge and how the council scrimped on the bridge by building only 4 lanes, little did they know how Akl was going to grow and more lanes were needed.  That's when the 'Nippon clippons' came to be attached in the 70s to cater for high demand of traffic.  Bit scary looking up at the bridge seeing daylight between the main bridge and the clip ons though.

As to the structure of the bridge itself, to be honest it all looks very fragile underneath! there' lots of maintenance workers down there patching things up and painting while we were there and doesn't give me much confidence for my next trip over the bridge.  But I guess the structural engineers know what they're doing otherwise they'd shut the bridge by now.  Sorry to be dramatic, I'm just a worry wort I guess!

Back to the tour, sure there were a few steep stairs but nothing that us fitness fanatics can't handle.  But for a 70 year old on the other hand, things could've been tough as there were some areas which were challenging. I tested her at some stairs a day earlier to see if she could do them, she had to sit down after 30 metres. 

But Mum was a trooper at the bridge.  She climbed most of the stairs without a problem. The toughest section probably was about 10 metres of stairs going about 60degrees upwards. I was ok but was bit worried that the instructor was puffing!
  We had a great afternoon going up and around the underneath of the structure. It felt strange to finally emerge into daylight with traffic whizzing by on either side of us as we headed up to the top.

Once at the top we spent time looking at the amazing scenary which makes you realise what a beautiful city Auckland is on a great day.  

It certainly was a memorable day and very proud of my Mum to make it to the top!

Happy Birthday Mum
Love, Lisa xx
17 Dec 09

A double whammy was coming up ie Go Figure's 100th episode and yet another one of my birthdays.  I was thinking of what I could to to remember both milestones and I thought why not just go and conquer the biggest birthday candle in Auckland, the Auckland Skytower!

So I gave the Skywalk, a platform that goes around atop the Auckland Skytower a go.  There was the Skyjump option where you basically throw yourself off the tower but I wasn't feeling that brave or crazy! 

Click right pic or this link to watch video of Lisa's skywalk
The skytower candle

I'm ok with heights, I've been up some pretty tall buildings around the world such as the Eiffle tower, Empire State Building and Sydney Tower but I was in the comforts of being in the building so walking around outside was going to test my fears....of falling.

The build up to the actual event was probably the most nerve raking. As I was sitting there waiting for our guide to turn up I was thinking of what its going to be like up there.  Afterall we're going to be 192 metres above ground and walking on a plank about 1.5m wide!  It was a beautiful clear blue day but I imagine it was going to be cold and breezy so wasn't looking forward to any gusts of wind which could wipe me off my feet.  Yes I'm an optimist!

Finally after 15min of pondering on all the bad things that could happen, our cheerful guide turns up.  I guess he knows how nervous we were going to be and he's seen many with the same apprehensions.  But he was cool. 

We first had to get a breath test to make sure we were sober enough to walk, let alone on a platform so high above ground.  Actually I probably should've had a couple drinks to calm me down as I was super nervous.  Then it was to the metal detector test. As we were going to be so high above ground, we weren't allowed to take anything with us.  No cameras, coins, watches and even our shoes had to be lace ups as we didn't want anything falling down on people below us.  Something coming down from that height could hurt!
 Skytower from below.   Getting breath tested.        In the sexy suit.          Not the Skyjump!

So once we got our pretty orange suits and harness on, up we went on the elevator.  The higher the elevator got, the higher my heart rate went. When we finally got up to the Skywalk level, the view was amazing. Nothing beats Auckland on a clear blue day.  But it was cold!

We stepped out onto a seethrough platform, I felt little nervous but I was still ok with the height as I was still close to the building and behind a gate that led us out onto the skywalk.  He then hooked us up on to the ropes and went through a number of safety procedures which made me feel more comfy.

  And then it was time to go.  Eeek, now my heart was racing.  As soon as I stepped outside the gate and the only thing that was keeping me from falling was a couple of ropes attached to me, I admit I was scared but revelled in it at the same time.

The plank was wider than I imagined.  I was ok walking on it but when he stopped and chatted about the view, standing still did make me feel abit funny.  Why was he stopping!!  just keep moving man.  He then got us to step close to the edge and place half our feet over the edge.  No way hosay!  I stood firmly right in the middle with my hands tightly held to the rope.

He then got us to do another activity.  He wanted us to sit down into the harness then slowly move our feet back towards the edge of the plank so that our butts would be facing out over Auckland.  Hmmm this really tested my faith in the equipment.  It took me a while to trust the equipment and eventally sat into it but straightening my feet out did take awhile but after some encouragement I did it.  So proud of myself and got the pic to prove it. Hooray! 
After that exercise I did feel more confident being up there.  But standing still and just looking out did still make me bit 'wobbly'.  So I was glad when we finally walked back to where we started and into the sturdy confines of the the Skytower.

Overall I did enjoy facing my fears and overcoming another challenge. Who knew I'd enjoy the feeling of adrenalin pumping through my veins.  Thanks to my friend who encouraged me to do it and spoiling me for my birthday!

Lisa, Go Figure
29 June 09

Safe in the confines of the Skytower, Auckland 

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