SOUTH ISLAND- My favourite
Picton- Marahau, Abel Tasman. 26th-29th
Anyway it was time to leave the north island, and get the ferry to the south, luckily a couple of Canadians were driving to the ferry port as they were catching the same ferry, so they gave me a ride. Saw all the stray people there and we checked our bags etc in. Watched worst film in the world, called journey to the centre of the earth. Most unrealistic thing I have ever seen, so much so that we were laughing so much. Watched the scenery coming into picton was amazing, the mountains were so close to the ferry, it really was amazing. Everything was so green!!! We then took the bus, with crazy driver rob, who was getting really angry and impatient with everyone, and left two people behind so we had to turn around. I sat with Patrice-my dutch mate. We then went through the vineyards and did some wine tasting for $2!!! Felt a little drunk in the heat! I thought the wines were quite good, but then I have been drinking goon for 7 months!
We then arrived in Abel Tasman, in a little camp site where we could choose tents or dorms. I opted for tents as saved $6 and was more fun. We sat drinking that night with two American guys, a Canadian, Patrice and sian (an English girl). All exchanging stories on sketchy travel experiences. Then woke up early following morning and did a 19k walk in the heat with two of the girls, to meet a sailing boat in a place called anchorage. The walk was incred, the water was sooo blue and green and the beached were amazing. Saw some cool birds and waterfalls. Then got on the catermaran and saw seals and their pups on the rocks of an island, and sailed around some islands. The views blew me away, my friend Patrice said (in her cool dutch accent) that the views were so amazing that she wanted to cry which I thought was pretty funny, but probably true, it was the only way to explain them. We then saw this strange rock called split apple rock, it was a main rock that had split in the ice age apparently as some water froze inside it causing it to split in half .Was so relaxing just lying on the catamaran, and myself and one of the Americans had a glass of red wine to celebrate ha.
That night went to an open mic night in the only bar open, which was so good, there was some rock n roll, some frank Sinatra and some beat boxing and rapping (which caused a tarsan/ croc Dundee type character to climb a pillar and swing on this pole across the ceiling upside down) Was lots of fun.. we then said goodbye to the people leaving on the bus the next day, as I had opted to stay for another night, it was so nice. We all walked back down this black road, and the stars were so clear and amazing. We were all singing and dancing around. Once we got back our bus driver was hanging round the bonfire- really drunk, and I needed to get my fishing rod out of the bus, so he jumped over this massive fence to get to the bus and fell onto the floor and did a really funny bond style roll and got back on his feet, it must have really hurt but it was hilarious..he didn't even laugh he just got the rod and climbed back over and then got stuck on the top and I can't explain the look on his face!
Onwards to Barrytown (Bazvegas) 29th Jan
We had some great stops on the way, one of which included a great hour long coastal walk, me H-dowg (Heather- plain Jane(will) and Sian were walking together and the wind was so strong you could almost lie down on it with all your weight. It was quite sketch because you felt like you were going to blow off the cliff tops. This did remind me a little bit of walking on the headland at Old Harry rocks at home which was strange, and the weather matched well. But we walked for probably for 40 minutes until we found some rocks and loads of seals and their babies were all lying on the rocks, its was amazing . I thought they would be really lazy but they were all walking around, or kindof flopping around. I never realised how cute they were. Anyway we watched this for a bit, but moved on to catch the bus the other side of the walk. We then made another stop at a place called Pancake creek where there is loads and loads of big rock formations with lots of thin lines in, something to do with the wind and salt wearing it down into that shape, it was pretty cool. There was alsoa big blow hole, where we saw a few sprays but I have seen pics of this and it looks like it can be spectacular. Anyway we took some touristy pics and moved on to the big bad notorious Barrytown. This is a town, with 1 pub in the middle of absolutely nowhere. The town itself consists of one very small school and about 3 houses and the pub. The guy who owns it is called 'gorgeous george' a big crazy eyed mauri man who used to compete in boxing matched apparently (you can see why!) There is basically one room, and a few dorm rooms. The theme of the night was dress up..and there was a whole room dedicated to it! 3 big dressing up boxes for us to choose from an array of manky old clothes which definitely have never been washed. But it was pretty funny, we all put all the clothes on and tried different outfits. I decided after finding a couple of basketball jerseys and a florescent hoodie, that I was going to be a gangster style basketball chav. I added some home made tattoos and borrowed some of the boys leather converse (which I fell in love with- I may need to purchase some when I get home). We had loads of fun dressing eachother up, Sian was a pink lady H dowg was granny santa… Will was just a granny (the funniest granny I have seen), Guy was a sexy lady complete with Satsuma boobs which I took a bite out of and Gaylen was a hippy. There was also a girl who made a hat out of shoes which was pretty impressive. Any we all got very drunk and danced on the tables, I not surprisingly pulled a few breakdancing moves, but that's just a standard night out right?! Ha. Anyway it was nice to have a lie in the next day..
Franz Joseph glacier 30th Jan- 1st Feb
We got to the Franz Joseph town near to the glacier that night and had a nice early night after a stressful evening trying to navigate in the kitchen with lack of pans or any kind of cooking devices for that matter. The kitchen was so tiny and there were so many people and a random cat walking around on the cooking surfaces- very hygienic! Sian and I finally managed to make a nice healthy meal of veg and cous cous and collapsed in bed. Ready for our early morning hike up a steep mountain to the Franz Joseph glacier, complete with our bright blue coats, bum bags, hiking shoes and crampons (the spikey shoes to walk in ice) and ice piks. We walked for a couple of hours up hill, but once we got the glacier itself, we forgot about being exhausted and all blisters on our feet seemed to disappear as it was just so beautiful. I couldn't believe there was even ice there in the summer! We went into the crevaces, one was called the blue mist and the walls of ice were so tall you could hardly see the sky- which was amazingly clear and bright blue! Our guide Brooke had a really strong kiwi accent which was quite funny but she was cool. She told us about how the glacier is mauri name translates to the tears of the avalanche girl- the legend of how a girl lost her lover in an avalanche and she cried a million tears which turned into ice and formed the glacier. We spent the whole day navigating through the ice and taking loads of pictures. The views of the mountains against the ice and the waterfalls down the rocks were just incredible- you can see the pics on fb. That night we were so tired we watched a film and crashed out. I was also due to be sky diving the next morning so I was a little anxious about this. I hardly slept either because there was this annoying guy snoring and moving around on the really squeaky bunk above me. I really wanted to skydive ontop of the snowy mountains but unfortunately it got cancelled due to high winds. So I got on the bus for the next adventure..
Makarora 1st Feb not much to write home about- stayed in small huts just for people from our bus. Was really cosy and chalet style with picturesque backdrop of mountains. Watched 'into the wild' with the girls, best film ever for travelling! Had the BEST EVER lamb shank for dinner for 10$ including loads of extras and sangria! It was so amazing we were still talking about it the next day.This was the last night we would all be together as some people were going straight to queenstown, but we were getting off at Lake Wanaka. We had to say bye to blind Dave.
Lake Wanaka 2nd -3rd Feb
I wasn't going to stay- I was going to go straight to Queenstown. But am I glad I did!!!I just have to write this down, this is the most beautiful country I have ever seen I think. The lake, the snow on the huge amazing mountain, the sailing boats, the cute town. I am speechless, my camera is going to break its so amazing I just cant think of the right words.. Having the time of my life and I don't know what I am going to do when I have to go home. I will never be satisfied with a normal life now I have seen this. Its unreal. I have to keep going…when does it end?! This lake was incredible- I got the last bed in a little friendly homely hostel and we just spent the day- me and sian taking photos and chilling by the lake. We then met up with Danielle, James and Guy and watched the sunset with a box of wine and a crisp sandwich.
Queenstown 3rd-8th Feb one word AMAZING! Time of my life!
Stayed in Nomads for three nights- not a big fan of the big party hostels but it wasn't too bad because I was staying with Danielle, James and Guy- some friends from the bus, and we met up with the rest of our crew Sian, Will and Katy and Katy. The good thing about the stray bus is you stay with the same people for a few stops at a time so you don't have to keep having the same mundane conversation "where are you from, whats your name, how long are you travelling for blaa blaa" and we all got on really well. Everyone had built up Queenstown in my head before I got there telling me how much I will love it etc, so to be honest I didn't really think it would live up to expectations and that it would be overrated.. but happy to admit I was wrong!! Probably had one of the best weeks in my life! The town itself is so pretty, It is built like a really fun ski resort with really quaint buildings and streets. And all around the town are huge mountains formed around one of the most beautiful bright blue- almost turquoise lakes. There is an awesome wooden boardwalk with an old steamer ship built at the same time as the titanic which is still working to take tourists around the lake and there are little wooden hut type cafes built around. The houses are all really cute holiday flats, and there are street players- a funny old fashioned man playing this crazy violin dressed up in a suit and then there was a man on tricycle and a kiwi bird with a NZ flag wrapped around him.
The first night we were so exhausted and got an early night and I had been meaning to do a skydive but it had been cancelled in Taupo and Franz Joseph due to high winds. I was secretly relieved both times but I knew I couldn't put it off, it was something I really wanted to do. The next day I looked outside and the sky was perfect blue not a cloud in sight, and I knew it was now or never so I just rang up and booked it for an hour away!! I was literally shaking when I hung up but I think it was excitement and nerves. Afterall I was just about to throw myself out of a plane with a complete stranger. It was an extortionate amount of money and I knew that I would be working for a week in Perth just to pay off what I would spend in a matter of seconds.. but I was pretty sure it would be worth it and a once in a lifetime experience. So I turned up opted for the highest and most expensive at 15,000ft with the photos dvd tshirt..etc my view was if its going to happen...it damn well better be documented! I turned up, signed all the wavers..signing my life away no doubt, I tried not to read it too much. And once we got there I felt a bit better as it was such a perfect day and I sat watching all the parachutes coming down and the grins on everyones faces.. I just felt excited by this point. There was a bit of waiting around which was a bit frustrating, but I made friends with a Swedish guy called Marcus who would be going up with me at the same time, he seemed a bit more nervous than me! So we finally got called and got all our harnesses on. I met the guy, ricky who would be my parachute man, he was so good looking I almost forgot I was about to jump out of a plane! He was joking around about not doing the harness up properly, he wasn't sure if the parachute would work and this was his first jump ha. Ha. But he was being really nice and saying he would look after me. I thought that even if I die I would die in style with a hot man attached to me!
The most surreal bit is actually being in the little plane looking at the other peoples faces who are also about to jump, and then looking out the window and seeing the ground so small below and thinking oh my god I am actually about to jump out of here. But then once you do and you are freefalling the feeling is just incredible, it was quite cold and the wind makes your mouth dry (there is a funny pic of me trying to close my mouth) but I saw the camera man falling too and it was really amazing to see what he looked like flying around in the air aswell. I had completely forgotten about the parachute, and when it opened I was like ohh yeahhh ricky thought it was pretty funny, he said it was lucky he remembered! Then we floated down to the ground, the views were breathtaking- I will never forget it! (See photos by clicking this link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=85760&id=285901371&l=274c811ead )
That night it was one of the girls Birthdays so we went down and sat by the lake, drank red wine and had birthday cake, watching this amazing sunset behind the mountains. By this point I hadn't really seen much of the town but I had already fallen in love with the place! I also had a little pang of missing the snow after spending so long in the snow in Meribel in France. I would love to come here for a ski season- it would be so much fun! It really has everything you can think of. Lots of little shops, fun bars and restaurants, and backpackers everywhere. You can't walk anywhere without being tempted to doing some extreme adrenalin activity.
The next day, Guy, one of my friends from the bus and I had booked to go extreme jet boating through a canyon, it was lots of fun, and the scenery was so cool, we wereso close to the sides and kept doing 360 degree turns which were great fun but not as scary as I thought they would be. We then went out that night to world bar where we met the others and drank shot cocktails from teapots (which is a well known drink in queenstown)- a must do activity apparently. We did a bit of seat dancing (which is more energetic than you might think) and headed to the cowboy bar, it has moose heads all over the place and decorated like a well..an extreme cowboy bar. We were all having lots of fun until this idiot guy dropped a pint glass on my foot and a large piece of glass fell into my foot and caused a really deep cut on the top, there was blood all over the floor - it looked a bit like a crime scene. It didn't really hurt just looked bad and made me a little bit light headed. Needless to say this was the end of my night. I limped home and put loads of antiseptic on it. I think I potentially should have got stitches but left it a bit late. Anyway its healing now so all good- luckily its not on the bottom of my foot otherwise I don't think I would be able to walk!
Next day we chilled out, walked round the harbour and had a famous 'ferg burger' bearing in mind people had been telling me about these burgers before I even got into New Zealand and every person I spoke to asked if I had had a ferg. I had to get one! And I now understand the legend. They are INCREDIBLE!!! Absolutely huge, one burger is a meal! I had a tropical swine which had pineapple, bacon cheese,amazing Aoili sauce- was just awesome. Our friend Will opted for a 'Big Al' the biggest one you can buy with two eggs and everything else you can possibly think of and he managed it in 7 minutes! He must have made the record! I wish they had fergs in London!
That night we chilled out and we had moved hostel to Base (because myself and Guy had won a free night there for dancing on our seats in a bar really crazy and I also rapped on the mic about how much I apparently love Base hostels (I actually despise them- but I don't think base understood my sarcasm, or maybe they were just trying to annoy me by giving me a free night? If so that's pretty funny ha) Anyway this Base was pretty shabby, and the staff don't really care about anything which makes a change. We got a 8 bed room , but we had the room to ourselves, so we just stayed in and chatted about random stuff and chilled out. The following day, Sian and I went to the top of the mountain and went luging, which was really fun and really fast, going round the sharp corners on two wheels was a little bit sketchy and hilarious. We made friends with all the lefties and went down with an ozzie guy we met called chris who was good banter.
We then made it down the mountain in time for wakeboarding which I had organised for only 60$ for 3hours on a sweet as wakeboarding boat. Sharing our time between 4 of us in total. I managed to get the price down, and found out later, the other two people on the boat paid 180$ each which was a bit ridiculous, so we felt a bit smug. I had so much fun, the lake was completely mirror glass flat, and it was strange that it wasn't salt water. I felt like I had improved quite a lot and need to build up my confidence to do some tricks. I managed a few pops off the wake. Sian really loved it too, I caught her first ever wakeboard stand up on camera and she is now just as hooked as me. A guy also told me I can do kitesurfing for 5 day course in Vietnam for something like 100$ which is amazing value so im really looking forward to that.
So sad to leave NZ, had a last night out with everyone watched some crap karaoke and had a few more teapots. Bus picked us up really early. We were all depressed to go and looked very sad, but excited for the next place! Few more stops before Christchurch and home to OZ..