Hi guys, this is just a quick update to let you know roughly what I have been up to since my last blog. I haven't been on the internet for a while cos I have been too busy enjoying myself!...should probably check the old bank balance tho...hmmm!
I have loved everywhere we have stopped on my tour of New Zealand....it is such a fantastic place, everyone should visit here if they get the chance, because it has something to appeal to everyone. The scenery is some of the best in the world and there are awesome activities to keep you occupied...anyway, enough of the travel agent rubbish!!!
From Wellington we crossed over on the ferry to the south island, and as soon as you reach the island you get a taste of the fantastic scenery in store... There are loads of little islands and it is really pretty. We reached the island around lunch time, and made our way to the Abel Tasman National Park. I think it is a world heritage site...and basically it is a gorgeous piece of coastline with loads of secluded golden sandy goves, green/blue water and small islands dotted just offshore. I'm fast running out of words to describe the scenery here...but it is all so stunning.
When we first arrived at Abel Tasman, I opted for the tandem Hang Gliding, as it is another thing that was on my list of must do's...It was brilliant!!! I was towed up to height by a microlite, which was really cool...I was watching him go up, and then the tow-cord tightened and we left the ground, and were pulled up higher and higher....then once we reached height after about 6-8 minutes the pilot released the cord and everything went amazingly quiet, and I could just look round and take in the views while we were hanging in the air.....sooo cool! Also, because it is so quiet I could talk to the pilot and ask him what different places were that I could see. We got views over loads of vineyards and along the beautiful coastline. I could take my camera up with me as well, so I could take photos while laying down in my little cocoon thousands of feet above land...which was a pretty cool experience. I was allowed to take control of the steering for a bit, but I didn't feel that confident!!! I preffered it when the pilot had control...and then he had a bit of a play and did a few sweeping dives as well...very cool!!
The next day I went on a full day sailing trip round the Abel Tasman, it was a great day out although the weather was not too good...overcast with showers. The scenery made up for the weather though, and we saw 'little blue' penguins and seals as well which was cool. There are loads of beautiful little secluded coves along the coast line, and we stopped off at one called Anchorage for a picnic lunch.
The following day we were still in Abel Tasman and I did a great 3 hour walk along the coastline back to Anchorage cove....as usual there were excellent views! The water is an amazing colour in the Abel Tasman...it's varying colours of deep green to blue and it' creates a beautiful contrast to the golden sandy beaches, green pine and tree fern forests and blue skies. The walk took me through some great forests, which at times looked like scenes from Jurassic Park with the huge New Zealand Tree Ferns and little waterfalls.
After Abel Tasman we travelled onto a little place called Barrytown, which is a tiny fishing village with about 40 residents and one bar/hostel which the Stray Bus takes over each night!! I had a great night out though, because there is nothing else to do at Barrytown we made our own entertainment and everyone from the bus had a Fancy dress party in the bar. It was such good fun and we got the locals dancing with us, it ended up with just a few of us left in the bar dancing behind the bar with the barman at 3.30am!!!
Next stop was the Franz Josef Glacier which is an awesome place, the mountain scenery is soo dramatic it looks surreal. I did an all day glacier hike there, which was a brilliant experience. We were hiking for about 7 hours, but we had plenty of breaks so it wasn't too hard going. We started the hike about 2.5km from the foot of the glacier and as we approached the glacier it didn't look real at all...we were walking on a rocky surface beside a small chalky white river with this huge glacier in front of us, which was ice blue at the summit and it just looked like a fake bluescreen back drop for a movie! Once we got onto the Glacier we had some really steep steps to walk up which the guide before us had made with his Ice Pick. At first it was quite strange to walk with the Crampons, and I was a bit wary walking on ice, but I soon got used to it, and the crampons gripped really well....which is good, because there were some sheer drops of the edge of the glacier into icy pools in deep crevices!!! The ice pools were really cool (no pun intended!) they were clear ice blue and really deep. We walked through a couple of ice caves as well, which was fun...they were really narrow, and not very tall either, so it was a bit of a tight squeeze! Lunch was a pretty cool experience too, we stopped and had a picnic near our summit and overlooking the valley below...and it's not every day you have lunch on a glacier eating sandwiches on ice in a t-shirt!!!!
The following day we made our way to Makarora, and we had a fairly leisurely travel day, just stopping for a few photo's and nice walks along the way.
Today we are travelling onto Queenstown, which is the adrenaline capital of New Zealand...where they come up with all the mad extreme activities!! We have stopped off at a small lakeside town called Wanaka. It is beautiful here, a really sweet little town, i think the blue skies and sunshine definitely help tho!! We have named ours the Sunshine bus, cos we have a good habit of dodging the bad weather that others have been having....happy days!!!
Take Care, speak soon xx