Lake Mahinapua - Franz Josef - Wanaka - Queenstown..., New Zealand
So another week's gone by! Monday- we jumped back on our bus and went for a walk at Cape Foulwind, it was all along the beautiful coastline and we saw New Zealand's largest seal colony at the end, most of them were sat on the rocks and so well camouflaged that every time you looked again you saw some more! We jumped back on the bus who met us at the other end of the walk and then had lunch at a cafe and went for a shorter walk to see the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, definitely got our fresh air for the day.
We were off to Lake Mahinapua tonight which was renowned for its fancy dress nights so we had a stop at Greymouth at a warehouse to find something to wear, it was a beach theme for us so people were running around trying to find beachy things when it's going into winter over here! But we all managed to find something, we had a communal Easter egg for the bus too which was nice- but it didn't last long! We got to "The Poo Pub" as it's called and it was torrential rain so we couldn't get to the Lake. We were greeted by Les- New Zealand's oldest publican at 83 who was brilliant and ran as fast as we could with our backpacks on to our rooms! We had a buffet tea that night and some pre drinks in the bar and then went back to get ready for the fancy dress night. The boys had decided to go as Baywatch lifeguards with Dani being the Hoff, handlebar moustache and everything, I went as the sunshine with pipe cleaners coming out of my head and as much yellow clothing as i could find and Mary went as...not sure what the word is but kind of a Mexican tourist man! It was a really good night; we had jellyfish, topless Hawaiian girls with blow up boobs, a lot of lifeguards, seaweed and a baby seal!! Unfortunately as there were so many of us travelling down the island there were 2 big buses and a mini bus doing the same route, there seemed to be a bit of tension between the two big buses, a lot of "think they're better than everyone else" people on the other one so that was a bit disappointing but we still made sure we had a good night and had a big group photo at the end of the night. The Poo Pub itself was really good too, Les had hats completely covering the ceiling and polaroid photos all over the walls from all the parties he'd had there and when he ran out of wall space he had put them all in photo albums for us to see.
We got up the next morning, some feeling more delicate than others, I had a quick look in the photo albums to try and find Al's night out just over 2 years ago but I didn't have enough time which was disappointing, but he was in there somewhere!! We drove to Pukekura- Bushman Centre, this was a museum all about deer catching and possum hunting, with a very moody couple running it, they were renowned for their moodiness and even had the letters of complaints on displays and the rude replies sent back from the couple! Very strange but only a short stop there.
We arrived in Franz Josef in the afternoon and checked into the Rainforest Retreat. We had a lazy afternoon sorting everything out and airing our big bags etc.! Then we met up with our original North Island bus crew who we lost in Wellington, it was ace, we all went to Lucy and co's lodge and chilled out, caught up and played some drinking games, it was a really good reunion, we carried on until a guy with Party Animal on his t-shirt told us we had to leave...wrong t-shirt to be wearing for that job i think!
The next day was our Glacier Hike! We went and checked in, got kitted out with all our warm stuff, luckily I could fit the crampons onto my walking boots instead of borrowing theirs so i felt me carrying them since Thailand was slightly more justified now! We got the bus to the glacier site and it was a 2km walk to the base over the rocks and through a foresty bit. We fitted our crampons at the base, split into 6 groups; me and Mary went in the 6th one so we could take lots of photos! And then started up the glacier! It was a 14km walk altogether and took all day, it was such good fun, we walked up the ice, and army crawled through a tiny tunnel which was so so cold!! Walked down crevasses and took a wrong turn so had to shimmy past an ice pool about 2cm away from our feet with nothing to hold onto and so deep we couldn't see the bottom, that was so scary, even more scary than skydiving!! But we all made it :o) We had perfect weather for it as well as it was forecast to rain but that all came the next day, so had an absolutely brilliant day and one of the highlights of the trip.
The next day we got the weather we were supposed to have the day before and it was tipping it down, we ran to the bus and ended up dripping wet within a few metres, the glacier walk that day was cancelled so we were so lucky. We stopped for breakfast at a place where we were supposed to be able to see the perfect reflection of Mt Cook in the lake but we couldn't see ten metres ahead of us so we just enjoyed the food instead (my first veggie fry up which i was very impressed with). We travelled for most of the afternoon with quick stops for lunch and a race through a forest in the rain to see a raging waterfall, then arrived in Wanaka late afternoon where the sun came out, completely blue sky! We checked into Base and the boys went to play a game of football in the park, it was a beautiful town surrounded by mountains and a gorgeous lake. Today I invested in a hot water bottle :o) and for any of you who know my addiction this is dangerous but it's getting necessary, the tootsies are getting chilly!!
We left Wanaka the next morning, it would have been nice to stay there a bit longer, but again the people on my bus were so good i wanted to stay with them, in the morning we went to Puzzling World, we did a wooden maze here which took quite some time! You're supposed to have walked 3-5km by the time you've worked it out so that was a good problem solving start to the day.Then we went through some illusion rooms with moving faces, holograms and then a wonky room which confused us all and still to this day we can't work it out, if you look at the pictures the swing and the spirit level are all straight, very confusing being in there. In the afternoon we went to the Kawarua Bungy and saw some people from our bus do it, it was 43m tall and I was scared standing on the bridge with a big barrier in front of me let alone on the platform, I think it scared a lot of the people who had just paid for their 134m Nevis jump too! Don't think that's on the cards for mee!
We had a group photo of our bus in front of Queenstown's Lake and then met up with our north island people again in the evening and had a night out to Altitude Bar, but for some reason I wasn't feeling like being out so had quite an early night, 2 weeks in Queenstown though, I'm sure I have plenty of time for big nights out!
On Saturday we had a long long lie in which was lovely, first time in a while we didn't have to get up for a bus, I met Dave again (from Thailand) just downstairs in the hostel so that's every country I've been to so far he's been there so we all went for a wander around the town, found a market and just sat in the gardens for most of the afternoon which was really nice. We found a British Lolly Shop and Mary got her fix of Irn Bru and I found Robinsons Squash! I was so happy as I've been craving it since being away, but it wasn't in backpacker budget so i walked away!
A lot of people went for their bungee today so we had a celebratory "Fergburger" which every single traveller who's been to Queenstown has said we had to try, they were huuuge and really pretty good actually! Some were demolished quicker than others!
Then about 20 of us all went to the cinema to see the new Fast and Furious so that was a nice chilled out night and great that we've all stuck together in a big group although people start going from now on really so "Team Kiwi" is being split up.
On Sunday we had another lazy lie in again and I went to the gym next door, feeling the lack of exercise getting to me since being away, we chilled out in the afternoon then seeing as I bought a day pass I wanted to get my money's worth so went to a class in the afternoon, although i thought it would be an aerobics one, but it turned out in was an hour of the weights on the poles, manly style! So my poor little arms after that were suffering!! But being a true traveller I made the most of the power showers, the biiggg hairdryers (luxury) ...although my weak arm muscles struggled to hold it up! And the ghds! I was very happy, we all went out in the evening to say goodbye to Ozzy, Lucy, Kirsty and Ste, we had a group photo in the corridor pile up style with four of the guys on the bottom!! It was an eventful evening with Scott being arrested for climbing a street signpost and then running when the police came! (He turned up 3 hours later true Scott style and carried on the drinking!) We had a really really good night and said our goodbyes, couldn't believe people were leaving Queenstown already I had another week and a half to go!! x x x