We have arrived in New Zealand at last. We really like it here although the weather is a lot cooler than Oz.
Our last few weeks in Oz were a bit of a pain in the bum. We went up to Cairns with plans to spend just a few days there when a there was a big storm which dumped a load of water on the highway which cut Cairns off to the rest of the east coast. Apparently this happens every year. So to cut a very long story short we were stuck there for a week with our friends Chris and Mike when we decided enough was enough.
We didn't like Cairns all that much so it wasn't a great place to be stuck. We just decided to drive and get as far as we could. We had to take an inland route which was very scary as we did it in the middle of the night and it was only a one track road and all the road trains were using it to get supplies up to Cairns as a cyclone was about to hit.
Anyway we got back to Brisbane to sell the van in the end. We put the van up for sale straight away. In the last 10 days we had left we had a lot of interest and we were going backwards and forwards across the city showing to backpackers. In the end we sold it to an English guy who was married to an ozzy girl, we even made a small proffit out of it. We were sad to see Bertha go but at the same time we were gald as it ment we could move on from Oz and carry on our travels.
We did feel as though we had had enough of Oz for a while anyway. We managed to get to Steve Irwin's zoo which was good but not as good as Singapore zoo. It was sad that Steve wasn't there and there were lots of people trying to be like him but it just wasn't the same. We also managed to get tickets to see Little Britain Live. Very very funny if you ever get chance to see it, it is money well spent. Although I can't believe they let kids in. It was well below the belt, as funny as it was I can't believe they get away with it.
Now we are in New Zealand and loving it. Christchurch was our first stop. It is such a lovely city, it really reminds me of Stratford. There is even a river called the Avon. We took a punt down the river and had lunch in a pub called 'Bard on the Avon'. There is a lovely craft market on a the weekends and creates a really nice atmosphere by the arts centre. Liam got pulled up out of the audience by a street entertainer. Liam and another lad had to cross there arms while he stood on them and juggled knives!
We have spent two weeks doing a loop of the north bit of the south island. We picked up a hire car and drove to Hanmer springs where we lay in the natural thermal pools and sulpher pools in the ground. We bumped into Chris and Mike again which was weired as we didn't think we would get chance to see them again and they were staying in the same place as us. We all drove up to Kaikoura and went to the fur seal colony. The seals come in everyday to rest so there were lots to see, one was even lying in the carpark! We went whale watching with a local Mauri company. They took us out on a boat which has special sonar equipment to listen for the whales. We saw two sperm whales surface and stay there for a few minutes before they dived back down. We were also lucky to see a pod of about 100 dusky dolphins. They were really fun to watch as they all jump up and splash infornt of the boat. I was glad when we got back on land as I was feeling really sea sick.
We carried on and spent a few nights in Picton and Nelson before going to Motueka and spend a few days exploring the Abel Tasman national park. We spent a day sea Kayaking which was a great way to see the park. We went with a guide in a double Kayak and gently paddled around the edges of the park spotting some fish and loads of bird life. We had lunch on a beach before we joined up with another group to sail across a large stretch of water. The two out side people hold up their oars and they tie a sail to the top and bottom while everyone else holds onto the other kayaks creating a big raft. It was quite relaxing until a 6 ft blue shark came to check us out ! Luckily we were close to the end of the trip so we just paddled like mad to get to the beach. Everyone else thought it was great. I don't think I was built to be on the water. We really ached the next day.
The next town we stopped at was Greymouth which wasn't very interesting but he coastal drive to get there was lovely. We stopped at pancake rocks which was really good apart from the hoards of germans that were there. The coast looks really very bleack and not very inviting here. The waves crash down and look really feirce compared to the east coasts blue waters. We visited and old replica gold mining town where we panned for gold. We spent last night in Arthurs pass which was a tiny town set in amougst the Alps (yes they stole the name). The mountains were snow capped as they had had alot of snow the day before. We did a short treck up to a waterfall, but people come here to to massive 5 days trecks and there are little huts scattered about in the mountains where they stay. Not our cup of tea. We had a lovely hostel to say in with a log burning fire. Bet your all gald we are in the cold now arn't you.
We are back in Christchurch to pick up a mini camper/car, (a people carrier with a bed in the back) they are very popular here. So we will head south for 3 weeks before we catch a ferry over to the north island.
Sorry about the photos. We think you will all get very bored by them. There is just alot of scenery which is really nice when your here but I imagine a bit boring seeing mountain after mountain you have no clue where it is. There are a couple of videos of the whales and dolphins on there too. We hope they work.
Congratulations to Lisa and Andy who bought Daniel Alex Rogers into the world on 27th Feb.
Hope you are all ok. Can you believe only 3 months to go and we will be back home!
Lots of love
Carey and Liam xxx