the longest blog entry in the history of the world....
13.01.2010 - 08.02.2010
Be warned...this is the most mammouth catch-up yet (it does cover a month though!)- you may want to do it in a few sittings!
So, where did i leave off?
Ah yes, smelly Rotorua!
Our next day, we had a wander round exploring -including a walk through a park where on every corner were STINKING bubbling mud pools - as exciting as they are initially - it doesnt take long before the smell makes you feel ill! We then did a lovely walk through a huge redwood forest. The following day, we went to 'Wai-o-tapu thermal wonderland'..!! Saw a geyser and lots more...thermal wonders!
We then drove to Napier...a beautiful drive which ended in drama when a lorry kicked up loads of gravel chipping our windcreen in 4 places...before i could say 'at least they're not cracks'...one split into a huge 7in crack... Windscreens our not covered by our insurance - hurrah! Oh well...we gave intot he fact we'd have to pay for a replacement windscreen and carried on our way (the crack is now about 20in - in imperfection in Stevie we've grown to love!).
Walked to a great lookout in Napier - with icecream in hand - then headed back to a night in a lovely hostel, preparing for a big drive to wellington the next day - saying goodbye to the lovely weather as we left...
Wellington was possibly the most windy and rainy place i have ever come across - I actually got physically blown across the road! But it was still wicked. Met up with a friend Matt who has lived there for a while who gave us a chauffeur driven tour...so from the comfort of a dry car we still saw the sights and enjoyed the local bars and a restaurant!
A few days later we on a very bumpy ferry ride to the south island - and luckily, by the time we arrived, we'd left the wind and rain behind us!.
First stop in south island was Blenheim where we used the free bikes at the hostel and went on a mini wine tour of some local wineries...lost of free tastings made the cycle back rather entertaining! It was wonderful though - and continued my wine tasting in all countries i've been to so far!
We then went to Kaikora where we saw lots of seals and did a whale watching boat trip and saw 3 sperm whales (amazing!) and a pod of about 200 dusky dolphins - they were incredible - jumping and twisting and back-flipping all over the place!
Our next stop was Christchurch...we got there to discover it was the opening day of the international busking festival which was brilliant! After I did a fudge factory tour (Mikey chose to do something else - shocking!), we spent the evening watching the opening night outdoor comedy show which was awseome! Before leaving the day, we walked into town to see a few more acts - one of which 'Mario, Queen of the Circus' - saw me get dragged up on stage as a volunteer! Ended up having to do a stupid dance thing and then sat on the guys shoulders while he unicycled round a very wet rainy stage! Mikey got involved to, having a banana fight with the guy and singing - it was the most random thing ever, but so much fun! We got spotted twice later by stranger who said we did a great job - fame at last. An english woman filmed the whole thing and said she'll email it to me when she's back from travelling - oh dear!!!!
Next stop was inland to Lake Tekapu where we did a brilliant walk, and relaxed by another lake waiting for our first sighting of a snow copvered Mountain - Mt Cook! Well worth it...but we'd be seeing it a lot more over the next few days!
We then headed to Queenstown which may well be my favourite stop so far - the most stunning spot for a town ever - gorgeous lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. We had an action packed 3 days involving a cable car up to see incredible views, luging (basically sledging/bob sleighing thing with a brake on the front) - so much fun, and...my skydive!!! 12,000 ft with a 50 second free fall of pure terror! I loved the plane ride up...dangling on the edge of the plane and the free fall were less fun - i was terrified and couldn't breathe! As soon as the parachute came out though it was phenomenal - the views were just unbelieveable! (I did however get a bit of post-sky-dive-sickness...but it was worth it!).
On our first day in Queenstown we randomly met a guy from the UK called Steve while we were sat on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere with no one around. We stopped for a chat for about an hour - he was hitch hiking around NZ -so after promising to pick him up if we ever saw him again (doubtful!) went our separate ways...why do i mention him I hear you cry?...All will become clear!
So, after 3 nights in QT we then had a big drive to Fjordland...Milford Sound, where we did a boat trip to see the fjords...just stunning. Not much more to say there...other than, as we pulled into the car park of the hostel...who did we bump into again but Steve, just as he was hitching a lift out of town!
Anyway - after a night in Milford we headed back to Queenstown for a few less adrenaline filled days of relaxing on the beach. We stopped on the way for an incredible hike to a secluded Lake Marion.
I know I'm rambling now - but i've got free internet and i'm making the most of it!!!! SO sit tight.... i'm carrying on!!
Our next stop was Wanaka - a mini queenstown! Lots of chilling on the beach to start with - but we more than made up for it by doing our toughest walk so far - we climbed Mt Roy (1580m) - a steady solid very steep climb for 3 hours! But the panoramic views more than made up for it at the top...and it was only 1.5 hours back down!
We then had a quite stop for a night in a TINY place called Haast (population 250 or something!), relaxed in an even smaller fishing 'village' (aka..3 huts!) called Jacksons Bay during the day, before heading to the one pub in Haast begging them to show the Aussie Open final between Murray and Federer - with success! Success sadly not matched by Murray himself (so I had a piece of Carrot cake to console myself!)...next time Murray - NEXT TIME!!
We were then off to glacier territory - first stop, Fox Glacier. Drove to an AMAZING look out - incredible views of snow topped Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, then did a walk round Lake Matheson - famous for being a 'mirror lake' - got some wonderful reflective photos of the mountains there! The next day we did a guided hike on the glacier itself - so much fun!!! We then moved on to the next glacier town - Franz Josef where we did a 5 hour hike - with a few hairy spots as there had been a few landslides so there was a bit of scrambling (!!)- to an amazing view of their glacier.
I woke (after lots of waiting by my phone for the last week!) to find out my cousin had had her baby (Welcome to the world Sophia Rose!)- so after a little jig of excitement, we headed to Greymouth...which was basically just a stop for a night to break up a huge drive to Abel Tasman (I was persuaded to stop there because there was a hostel that had bubble baths and free bakery goods every day!!)...so after a cream cake, toast to Sophia, relaxing bath and good nights sleep we headed off the next morning for a 5 hour drive...next stop Abel Tasman National Park..aka - HEAVEN.
We stayed in the village right next to Abel Tasman National park in what was yet another gorgeous hostel.
We hired a kayak and spent a day kayaking up the coast stopping at loats of secluded stunning beaches..and boy did my arms ache the next day to prove it! But it was well worth it...many people stay in the park for longer and camp and kayak up further..I WILL be back to do that at somepoint!
After a tough day, we relaxed back in the hostel and as i was making a cuppa - who did i look up to see next to me...Steve!! The ironic thing is - we've now all swapped emails and are trying to actually arrange to all meet up in where we are now (Nelson)...and we can't get hold of each other properly to organize it!!
So...nearly up to date now (WOW!!)...
After a day relaxing on the beach in a village near Abel Tasman, we drove to Nelson for our final stop before catching the ferry back to the North.
We've just met up with some of the girls we spent New Years Eve with in Sydney. They are doing a similar route to us, just a few weeks behind - so we arranged to cross over at some point...and here we are! We're having a BBQ and some drinks tonight, then we're catching the ferry to Wellington tomorrow afternoon...hopefully to see it without being blown about and rained on!!
Huge amounts of love to anyone that's reading this still...such dedication. I hope you
ve not got bed sores from sitting still for so long.
Love to you all xxxxx