It's been 12 days since our last blog and we're now two-thirds down the South Island of NZ. We've been travelling with our friend, Doc, who's out from Ireland for a three-week holiday. It's been a bit of a whirlwind tour as he flies out of the country tomorrow, but we've spent two days in Abel Tasman National Park on the northern coast of this Island. The day sea kayaking was perfect - great sun, a few rough bits of water, seals and blue penguins. The second day involved a 5-hour hike along the undulating coastal path, then a water taxi back to our hire car.
A couple of days later we were at Fox Glacier (having made a couple of stop-offs including the spectacular pancake rocks) and did a half day trek onto the glacier. It was made more exciting when the front part broke off and people were fleeing in all directions. The river from the bottom of the glacier swelled significantly flooding the path we'd taken as we climbed up. The 'drumming' of huge ice boulders going down river was amazing, as was all the ice debris along the riverbed when we returned to the carpark.
Milford Sound has been another highlight. It was quite a drive (10 hours return over 2 days) but the multitude of mountain peaks, rock amphitheatres and waterfalls was amazing. We took a 2-hour boat ride along the Sound and out into the Tasman Sea; saw seals, but no dolphins.
One of the highlights of our NZ tour has been the 'flat white' - it's what NZ calls a white coffee and our country-wide sampling has shown it to be pretty good all over. This is not to say that we haven't also sampled quite a few stronger beverages too!