From Rolling English hills to European style Alps
This would be the first time that I would have been on a ferry. For some reason ferry's or big boats have always reminded me of Titanic, and like Kate Winslet if the ferry did sink there's no way Daniel is sharing my door to float to safety! :)
However the ferry had a cinema, bar, cafe and lots of seating. The scenery changes from N - S were immense, from the N (Yorkshire hills) to the S (Scottish Highlands). We arrived in Picton and jumped straight onto an awaiting Magic bus all the way to Nelson, to the west. Nelson was a one stop wonder, cute town, individual shops, lovely sunny weather, so we went out for our first pub lunch. We did look around for a riverside pub but then came to the conclusion that not many countires are as clever as Britain to situate a pub in such a lovely location!
On the road again on the bus of magical adventures, half way towards Greymouth we stopped at "Cape Foulwind", named by Captain Cook after his ship was blown off course. It's home to a fur seal breeding colony. At first we were struggling to see the seals, but with much effort we discovered they were exactly the same colour as the rocks they were sleeping on! The babies were so cute, trying to chase the seagulls, while their parents were sleeping in the sunshine! We also saw something called the "pancake rocks", a bit hard to explain so look at the pictures in our album instead :)
Greymouth was our next port of call. We stayed at a backpackers called Neptunes backpackers. It was a reformed pub/motel, we were sleeping in the bar area, they had over 500 DVD's...towels and mint and soap on our pillows, free bakery cakes and pies and animals such as tortoises, fish with legs that could walk - this was certainly one of the most interesting hostels we had stayed in. Greymouth was a bit of a ghost town really considering it was a Satuday night. We went to a brewery tour "Monteith's Brewery" where we pulled our own pints to drink and got rather tipsy in sampling! After that we went for a meal with everyone (included in the brewery price of course) A gormet cheeseburger later and we were trotting back to our hostel, all of a sudden two young men in a yute came speeding past. They were shouting and hollering, speeding and screeching and also following us!! When we got to our hostel we all agreed that if they came past again to show off their skills we will mooney them, and that we did!! About 8 of us! They never came back or botherd us after that, I think Dan's bum out of all of us scared them the most.
Back on the magical trail we stopped at the gorgeous, scenic Franz Josef. Nestled in the valley deep between the snowy mountains, I truely felt so far away from home. It was mother nature at its best, the pure beauty inspired me. In the freezing weather we spent our relaxing time in the 'outdoor spa', yes you heard me, outdoor spa!!! Our first adventure was the Franz Josef glacier walk. I, Fay, being the non-walker everyone believed me to be was persuaded to walk another walk. It was awesome and we walked for 6hours on ice and I loved every second of it! Again mother nature was at its best. The glacier moves so much everyday that the tour guides have to carve out a new route every day. There were ice caves, ice coves and holes. It was an ice jungle. We were wearing spikes on our shoes to help us stick to the ice. If you havent already checked out the glacier photo album you have to do it, its awesome!
The morning after the walk we were aching and tired. So we stayed in all day and watched Lord of the Rings. At 4 o'clock Daniel told me to get dressed, I was curious as to why but he was insisting that he wanted to go for a walk so i needed to get changed. While I was getting changed he was looking out of our bedroom as if waiting for someone. I had an inkling and said, "have you planned a sky dive and your trying to suprise me?" He replies, "Poop! How did you know" I looked at the weather which was cloudy and black and was sad. I didn't like feeling pressured into something and felt a bit cheated. However i gritted my teeth and got into the minibus (eventually) ;) Luckily the driver commented that it probably wouldn't happen which made me happy. However the next morning at 6.30 we were in the bus off to Fox Glacier to do our jump!
We arrived to what looked like a tiny tin looking aeroplane and a couple of primary coloured caravans in a deserted sheep paddock. To be honest I was scared because it looked a bit dodgy! I was dressed in an orange jump suit and Daniel in a purple one, and off we flew. I was petrified, extremely scared before boarding the plane. But on the way up I really enjoyed the scenic views of the snowy mountains and of course flying over the Fox Glacier itself and around the biggest mountain in Australasia! This skydive is renowned as being the 2nd best jump in the world. 1st is Mount Everest. These are the only two dives where you can jump next to the tallest mountain of that continent!
Freefall was a nightmare to start with. Hanging out of the plane was not a feeling I enjoyed. The fall was cold!!! I kept my mouth closed (unlike some people who dribbled all over themselvs... Daniel) (Hey in my defence my face had gone numb and I couldn't tell)!!! As soon as the parachute came out thats when I started to enjoy it. The sheer magnitude of the world around you was breathtaking and I didn't want to land!
My skydiver was "Big Rod" (because he was tall nothing else haha). He was the partner director of the Skydive NZ company and was one of the best divers in NZ. He had done over 16,000 jumps in NZ alone, not including the many international competitions and jumps also! At th beginning he picked me to dive with him as he said I looked 'keen'! Haha I was nothing of the sort I can assure you. After we landed he mentioned that I was the most panicked diver he'd ever instructed. As I was falling he commented on my 'riding a bike' falling technique. He really enjoyed the jump and I'd really made him laugh. It was like Giant and midget as one!