Another perfectly freezing morning in Queenstown. I've got two flights today. The first picks me up outside a snowboarding shop and busses me up the into the Remarkables. As the pilots start assembling their craft, we punters are strapped into a harness, given the safety briefing and told precisely where to hold the pilot. I'm invited to upgrade my experience to include a period at the helm under the pilot's instruction. I promise to consider it carefully.

Launching the hang glider is a simple as the paraglider - just step, step and then we're dangling side-by-side from our harnesses in the chilly mountain air. Because this is New Zealand, the pilot has a camera on a stick to record the morning's entertainment. But you won't be seeing those photos any time soon given they want 30 squid for them.

Although I have left my underwater camera lying around for the ground crew to use.

It turn out that even without investing in the upgrade, my pilot offers me the steering wheel. In fact, it doesn't feel all that responsive to my touch. It does feel pretty failsafe though - it returns to straight and level flight if I let it free. While I don't push it too hard, it's clearly capable of more as the landing involves a couple of tight turns before rolling out to a stop on the grass.

So is it better than the paragliding? I'm not sure. I was looking forward to gliding in the prone position for a more authentic flying feeling than sitting in a seat. The best comparison I had beforehand was Alton Tower's Air, which I rode giggling like a small child the first time I experienced it. I can't say I had the same feeling from this glider, but perhaps that's a little unlikely after all the other experiences of Queenstown. It was still a great experience, and I'd strongly consider taking it up if I ever live somewhere with hills.

A ride back into town from the bottom of the hill connects me with a shuttle to the airport and the second flight of the day - back to Christchurch. I don't feel a lot of regret leaving this town. It's been an enjoyable visit, but I can't help considering that Queenstown doesn't have all that much of an identity beyond beyond its job as a kicking off point for adventure sports.

It's a fine journey back to Christchurch with another spectacular climb out of Queenstown. The Southern Alps give way to panoramic views over the Canterbury Plains.

Back in Christchurch, I get myself back to the Chateau on the Park and happily submit to the warm soft bed.

Later on I venture out towards the Art Gallery and discover that it's mobbed with school kids carrying paper lanterns. Clearly that's out for the time being, so I adjourn to the pub.

There's a samba band starting up as I leave it. Naturally I follow, and discover it leading a procession of lanterns from the Art Gallery to Christchurch's central Cathedral Square. Being a natural follower, I go with it and attempt to find out what it's all about.

As the MC tries and ultimately fails to herd the kids into forming a 2 of lanterns, he reveals that this is the opening ceremony of Christchurch's Kidsfest. Which is nice. I leave for more beer once the samba band's finished.

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