April 23rd 2007
Firstly apologies for the gap since my last entry I've been ridiculously busy (doing my second sky dive - I think I'm addicted!!). So be prepared this will probably be my longest entry yet.
When I finished my last entry we'd just got to Wellington, our first night there was spent trawling around trying to find a decent place to go out, with two guys we'd met on our bus Darryl and Mike. Unlike England where bank holiday weekends are an excuse to go out more, New Zealand completely shuts down. Most bars/clubs aren't open and those that are charge extra for drinks and entry. Wellington was absolutely dead so our unsuccessful night ended earlier than planned.
On Tuesday morning we went for a walk around Wellington and then went to the museum, Te Papa Museum. It was pretty cool (especially because it was free!!) and we learnt some interesting facts such as Wellingotn has one recordable earthquake a week umm... OK I'm rubbish can't really remember anything else, but there was an earthquake simulator which was good to go in and lots of interactive stuff. Wednesday we took the cable car up to the botanical gardens which were really pretty. I had a dodgy knee from my big walk though so I had to walk like I had one wooden leg on all the sloping paths. Hayley was supposed to be arriving in Wellington that evening but we got a text to tell us that she'd messed up the time difference so was actually running 24 hours behind - only Hayley could do it!
The next day we got the ferry across to Picton in the South Island - straight away you could notice the difference it's a lot colder here. We were really looking forward to coming to the South Island because everyone had told us it was absolutely beautiful and there was more to do than up north. From the second we got of the ferry the scenery was phenomenal, huge mountains and windy roads with beautiful little beaches and coves - wow. When we arrived in Nelson later that day Hayley was already there - it was so good to see her, and she brought us Easter Eggs from Mum which went down a treat (thank you!!) After having a good old catch up with Hayley and exchanging Australia and New Zealand stories we went out to a bar called Greasy Moles for our first night out as a 3. We had a wicked night, we beat a group of English lads at pool and then danced on the tables to really cheesy music all night - what more could you ask for!
On Saturday we went to Abel Tasman national park for the day to do a half day trek and half a day sea kayaking. The walk was lovely but my knee was playing up so I had to keep stopping which slowed everyone down. After the walk we met our guide at a really pretty cove for lunch and then got in our kayaks. Laura and Hayley were in one and I was in another with a girl called Olivia (very sweet but a worse paddler than me and I'm rubbish). We kayaked close to the coast and all the beaches were gorgeous, white sounds with mountains behind. We stopped after about an hour and a half for a well earned break and swapped kayaks so I was with Laura. The last bit of kayaking was really hard because the wind was quite strong and Lor and I were so slow that the guide had to come and tow us using a rope - it was hilarious!! I think Hayley was a bit embarrassed by how bad we were, she was a machine (her new nickname) and didn't even break a sweat. Then when we got out of our kayak Laura fell straight onto her bum in the water - so funny!!
The next day we traveled to a place called Greymouth, we wouldn't have gone there but we had to do an overnight stop and get the bus the next morning. It was the quietest place ever there was hardly anyone around and we were glad to move the next day.
Next we arrived in Franz Josef, which is where one of the glaciers is. On our second day there we went on a full day hike up the glacier and it was absolutely amazing - it was so surreal walking up this massive glacier right next to the rainforest. As you'll see from the pictures we had to wear some very attractive clothing yet again!! We spent about 3 and a half hours climbing up to the top of the glacier because our guide took us over lots of ice waves so it was quite slow going at times. We wore crampons (spikes on our shoes) so that we wouldn't slip as easily, and about halfway we were given ice picks to help us climb. The group we climbed with were really good except for two American girls (we called them Paris and Nicole) they were so whiney and annoying all day and kept holding the group up. The view from the glacier was amazing you could see right down into the valley and across the mountains, the ice itself was stunning, really blue in places. The way down was a lot quicker it only took us about an hour, but one of the guides had to be airlifted off by a helicopter because he put his ice pick through his leg - not nice. When we got back to the hostel I realized that my wallet (which I couldn't find that morning) had definitely been taken. I was so upset but the hostel owners were really helpful scoured the whole hostel for it and then called the police for me. It's so annoying because I lost my driving licence and bank cards and also sentimental stuff like my student card from uni but never mind.
On Wednesday we got the coach to a ski town called Wanaka where Hayley and I were going to do a skydive ( Hayley's first). The skydive was amazing, definitely better than the first one because I knew what was going to happen so I could appreciate the amazing views a lot more, and my tandem guy was gorgeous which definitely helped take my mind off the nerves!! Hayley was a true pro she wasn't scared at all and really enjoyed it. That evening we went to the cinema in Wanaka - loads of people had told us to go there and it was brilliant. There was only one screening room and it had old comfy sofas and even cars to sit in. We watched The Last King of Scotland which was a brilliant film.
The next day after a morning visit to puzzle world which had a really cool maze we got the coach to Queenstown. On the way into Queenstown the coach stopped at the original A J Hackett bungee jump site and Hayley did a bungee ? - we were so proud of her Lor and 1 are wimps and could never do one. Yet again she showed no fear at all and just dived off - the girl is crazy. We arrived in Queenstown at about 6 and met our hostel mates two guys called Chris who were from Manchester and Charley (a teacher) and Katie they were all so cool, and we spent our first night playing drinking games with them, another English guy Owen and two Swedish guys and then went into Queenstown. We went into the World Bar which serves drinks in teapots and had a brilliant night, the girls from our hostel especially are really good fun. Queenstown's such a cool place there's always stuff going on and it's really pretty, next to the mountains and the lake - I think I could quite happily stay here for the rest of my trip.
On Friday we had a day exploring Queenstown and then had another little hostel party that night and went back to the World Bar. The next morning the two Chris's left and we decided to walk up the mountain and then get the gondola back down - not the best idea with a massive hangover and wearing flip flops!! At the top us three and Owen watched the two Swedish guys, Peter and Fabien, do a bungee jump over the mountain, it looked so scary. At the top you can also do this thing called the Luge, you sit on this thing that's a cross between a go kart and a tea tray and go down on a track it was so much fun. Laura was hilarious she looked absolutely terrified. After that we got the cable car back down the mountain because we were too tired to walk it again, and a bit lasy.
Yesterday we spent the day at Milford Sound which are ffiords about 5 hours from Queenstown, it was an absolute mission to get there and back on the coach but the boat ride we went on was spectacular. It's so difficult to do the landscape justice. Last night we had our last night out with Owen and the Swedish guys, they went to Wanaka this morning. We had a wicked night playing drinking games with the girls and also randomly bumped into the guys we'd beaten at pool in Nelson which was wicked. This afternoon we're going on a bike ride and then out again tonight to meet our mate Hamish from the glacier (he's actually called Adrian but we renamed him because he's Scottish!!).
Well I think I've condensed that quite well. We're in Queenstown for a couple more days and then it's off to Christchurch where Laura leaves us on Saturday. I'm thinking of stealing her ticket so she can't leave, will miss my traveling buddy loads! Anyway I'm off on my bike ride now, all email me soon.
Lots and lots of Love
Laura B - I keep wanting to write you an email but not sure if you still check it ? let me know. Miss you and Bex lots wish you were here it would be class with the 5 of us xx
Gary - Ah glad the kids are jealous. When's your 40th? Give Michelle, Gem and Jase massive hugs from me xx
Kerry - Sorry it's taken me a while to write back. Quit and go travelling honestly you'd love it, get the kids and Russ rucksacks too they'd be fine. Been very well behaved and only bought two new pairs of shoes so far and both were needed not an impulse buy, shock horror!