In Queenstown I did my bungy jump! I dont know where the sudden urge to do it came from but I suddenly felt I couldn't come to New Zeland and not do one! I'm glad I did. I went in to one of the offices and booked one so that there was no backing out. The next day I went out to Kawarau Bridge, the location of my bungy. It is the site of the first ever bungy. When I saw it I was terrified but at the same time was really anxious to jump off. There was absolutely no queue and I didn't even have a chance to watch anyone else do it (probably best really). It all happened so fast, I was on the bridge being strapped up. All the staff were really good and reassuring. Before I knew it I was jumping and falling 43m towards the river. It was an awesome feeling but was over too quickly. After dangling for what felt like an eternity a boat came and picked me up and untied me. It was amazing, and for anyone who doens't believe me I have video evidence!
To finish off my day off adrenaline fueled activities both me and Lauren went to Shotover River for a shot on the jetboats. These are boats that fly through canyons at top speeds narrowly missing rocks, floating trees and scaring the living daylights out of all the tourists on board. They also do 360degree spins. It was great fun, we came off absolutely soaking!
That night to celebrate our bravery we sampled Queenstowns Ferburgers. Highly recommended by fellow travellers we thought we should definitely try one for ourselves. They exceeded our expectations! Oh... they were soo good, and big too, I couldn't even finish mine.
The next day in Queenstown we took a trip up the gondola. It was a clear sunny day and we could see amazing views out accross Queenstown and beyond. It was beautiful. At the top we took a couple of trips on the luge. For those of you who have never been on a luge, its similar to a go-kart. It was great fun. We did the scenic track first then moved on to the advanced track. Back down of the gondola we took a trip to the gardens. We read there was a Frisbee Golf course there! Yes Frisbee Golf. Well we played a few rounds... and were well, pretty useless, so gave up!
Our last night in Queenstown we eventually found the World Bar where we heard you could drink out of teapots. Not tea, but actual alocholic drinks. Being as excitable as we are we couldn't wait to sample the delights of this bar. I tried the Bubble Bliss first and it was yummy. Teapots do go down pretty quickly so so we did have to have quite a few.
I really enjoyed Queenstown. It was a shame there was no snow at the time as we hoped to hit the slopes but there was still lots of activities to keep us occupied.
We left Queenstown and drove on to Wanaka. Wanaka was nice, small but quite pretty. We only stayed one night before driving north to Fox Glacier. We did a guided tour of the glacier. It was pretty incredible. It was really big and because its winter it was a really nice blue colour. Apparently its not so blue during the summer months. We were all given a pair of crampons (spikes to attach to our boots) so we could walk accross the glacier. Without them it would be impossible. They have a team of people who have to hack away at the ice in order to make a path for the tourists. The glacier changes shape so quickly that this has to be done most days. It was really interesting walking accross it. We got to see a carvas which had formed. Our guide encouraged us to lick the ice - he promised our tongues would not stick to it! They didn't. It was a great day out - its not often you find yourself on a glacier.
That afternoon we drove on to the sight of another glacier, Franz Josef. We didn't climb this one, just took a look.
From Franz Josef we drove to Nelson through Hokitika, Greymouth, Punakaiki and Westport. We did a lot of driving that day through much torrential rain. We stopped off at the Pancake Rocks. They were big rocks that looked like lots of pancakes stacked up on top of each other. There were lots of blowholes too so every once in a while there was a big spurt of water. I came away really hungry for pancakes! The west coast was very beautiful, very green and tropical looking. That surprised me. It was a shame the weather was so miserable.
We didn't spend much time in Nelson. It did seem nice, the most liveable city in New Zealand apparently, but there was not much for tourists. We drove on to Picton. It was a nice wee place. We had a look round the shops then at the harbour then left for Blenheim.
Blenheim is well known for its wineries so thought it rude to leave without visiting one. We went to Brancott Montana Winery hoping do so the tour, however as its winter they only did two a day which weren't at suitable times for us. Instead they let me sample some of their wines. They were nice. Lauren drove the rest of the day!
On our way to Kaikora we stopped off for lunch right beside a seal colony. It was amazing! There were so many of them, big fat ones, little babies. It was so windy and rainy I felt sorry for them but they all looked happy enough. I love seals!
We had thought about going out on a boat to see the whales in Kaikora but because of the awful weather there were no boats going out. Instead we found a table tennis table at our campsite and kept ourselves occupied with that.
The next day we drove to Hamner Springs to use the hot water spa pools. These are pools of water that have been warmed by the earth. Some of them were as hot as 42degrees. It was really nice and relaxing but then it began raining really heavilly.
We still had one day left with our van but due to bad weather and as Lauren was feeling poorly with the cold we decided to head back to Jans in Christchurch a day early.
Back in Christchurch it was my birthday. To celebrate Jan took us out to the casino. We had an amazing buffet dinner! They had everything I could want. I ate loads but made sure to save room for my 3 puddings! mmmm! After we went and used the slot machines. I'd never used them before so would just randomly press buttons. Sometimes I won, mostly I didn't! but it was a lot of fun and highly addictive. We only allowed ourselves $20 each to spend so no harm was done. It was a really fun night out.
We had come to the end of our time in north island. We had driven pretty much right round it! We left Christchurch and flew into Auckalnd where we were met by Lauren's dad and Anne who live in New Zealand. They drove us to Hamilton and we have been staying with them pretty much ever since. We have used their house in Hamilton as a base and have been borrowing Scott, Lauren's brothers car to drive out to the local sights. Hamilton itself seems quite nice. They have some nice gardens made out into all different themes and countries. I was incredibly surprised by Hamiltons nightlife. On a Saturday night all the bars are packed! We had a great night out.
One day we drove out to Tauranga and climbed Mount Maunganui. It was a hike and a half! The view from the top was definitely worth it though. We also used the salt water spa pools there. I liked Tauranga. It had a nice kind of holiday feel to it. It was also the first time we had been able to sit outside and eat lunch in a long time. If only the sun came out more often!
Another day Scott came out with us to Waitomo Caves. We visited 2 of the different caves. One of them was another gloworm cave. It was pretty different from the Te Anau one though and had a lot more glowworms. You couldn't get as close though.
Lauren's dad works with helicopters so we both got to go up in a helicopter and have a go of steering. I was absolutely terified. You cant make any sudden movements while steering which I found hard considering how much I was shaking!
Another day we all went up in a 4seater helicopter and flew over the Coromandel Peninsula. The views were spectacular and the water was so blue. It was definitely the besy way to see it. We were lucky to get that opportunity.
In order to explore further north we borrowed Scott's car for a few days. We drove up spent a night in Whangarei, then drove on to Paihia to do a boat trip on the Bay of Islands. The boat we were booked on to was a dolphin and whale discovery trip. We saw no whales or dolphins! Despite this the Bay of Islands were really beautiful. They gave us a free voucher to do it again. So we did... the very next day. However still no whales or dolphins.
We decided to take the long drive up to Cape Reinga, the very northmost point of New Zealand. It really was a long drive! To be honest I expected more. There was a lighthouse and a broken sign. Its where two oceans meet so thought there would be information on that. There wasn't. There wasn't even a cafe where we could get a hot drink to warm up after with! Ah well.
We drove south on to a place called Dargaville where we spent the night before heading on to Auckland. I'm in Auckland now and the weather is still miserable. We went out to Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World today. I was impressed and learnt a lot about the Antactic. It was a good way to spend a wet day. We are going to visit the Sky Tower tomorrow then head back to Hamilton again.