Thursday 6th August
An early start was called for to see the albatross and to get to Wanaka the same day. Luckily the weather was amazing and we were luckily enough to see three chicks and their waking ritual. Our guide was an australian lady who had spent time in Mortenhampsted (Dartmoor), she was very knowledgeable and we learnt loads.
We arrived late afternoon in Wanaka, booked skiing and bus then headed to our accomodation for the next few nights. We were greated by Christine and a warm welcoming woodfire in our lodge.
After a good nights sleep we had another early start as we were off to the ski fields, Cardrona. Our route up was interesting to say the least with us on the steepest part being serenaded by 'Spirit in the Sky' and Katie refusing to look outside the bus. Chaos insued once we got off the bus with everybody clambering for the attention of the staff members to get kitted out.
We walked over to our lesson trying not to look complete idiots which is fairly hard in ski boots. Luckily we had nothing to fear as oodles of oriental and locals alike paraded around in what I can only suggest was rejected European ski wear as it was so foul. We had two lessons with a starting number of 10, which was quickly whittled down to 3 with Katie having to fallout near the end with very sore knees. What happened next was various interesting crash positions. Katie assured me that I was doing well but I'm still not quite so sure.
Next day we awoke to aching limbs and the confirmation that skiing may not be for us. Another great breakfast followed with out hosts sitting and chatting. We then headed to Mount Aspiring for pictures and a walk on the millenium track which was a good chance to stretch our legs, then off to Puzzle world!
We put our minds straight to work with the maze and completed it in a respectable hour. We then headed off to the illusion rooms. These were amazing and ranged from holograms to optical illusions on both the wall and entire rooms.
Sunday, we headed out to Queenstown..... the route was one of the best so far, amazing views all along the highway with the pinicle being a view point at the top and a plaque saying it was New Zealand's Highest Tarmaced road.... Once in town we parked up and headed out to get a quick idea of Queenstown and our first chance to have a Ferg Burger... which can only be described as inspirational... shame on all other burger outlets!
With lunch devoured we headed off to Te Anau. On arriving we parked up and decided to hit the road in another form of transport, with helmets donned we headed out in a two seater go kart. We did a circuit of the waterfront followed by an Ice cream then back to the camp and the usual ritual of sorting power, clothes and then food. That night we met a british couple who had spent three years at Plymouth University so Katie spent time reminiscing with them about the old uni haunts.
Monday, On arriving at Lake Manapouri, we were dismayed to find that a large group of Spanish tourists who had caused chaos at the booking office the previous day were on our trip...... Our fears were not unjustified as they proceeded to cause havoc wherever they went, from jumping queues, standing when asked to sit, pushing in to take photos and oblivious other people. Later a charming Lady, a term I use loosely, belched three times in front of Katie.
On departure from Manapouri, we headed along the lake to the Dam, where we disembarked and boarded a bus which carried us over the mountain pass to Deep Cove with stunning views around every corner. Near the end of our Doubtful sound trip we stopped in Hall arm and stopped all noise on board to appreciate the noise of nature, or atleast this was the intention until our spanish friends started tramping around the boat and slamming doors. Unfortuantely the moment was gone and most people were disappointed. Having said this it was an amazing cruise and was well worth the trip.
We are currently in Queenstown again, keeping our fingers crossed that it stopped raining and the wind drops so we can go paragliding today.
Keep enjoying the blogs and photo's.......
James + Katie xxx