We've decided to do just 2 blogs for NZ having one for our time on the South Island and one for the North. This is because the time is flying here and we don't want to have top spend more time typing than necessary!!!
New Zealand is spectacular! So far we have travelled round parts of the South Island in our van.
We started in Kaikoura and went whale watching for a morning, it was very exciting and although we were a little disappointed we didn't see dolphins we did get to see 2 sperm whales and New Zealand fur seals as well as loads of birds! Including the biggest of the albatross species with a wingspan of over 2metres! Luckily we weren't sea sick as we then headed inland to Hanmer Springs.
Here we spent a day going for a really long walk up to a waterfall before heading back for a hot chocolate/beer to watch some rugby before a quick dip in the thermal pools! The pool system is huge with sulphur pools reaching 43degreesC, although we didn't brave these ones as didn't fancy stinking!
We then made our way down to Queenstown, a really buzzing little city where we had a Fergburger (possibly the most delicious things to pass our lips and not remotely fast foody), travelled up the gondala and then went on 1 of the only 4 luge tracks in the world. A luge is basically a taboggan with wheels you steer on a track. That was great fun! After spending a few nights in Queenstown and meeting up with a girl R did geography with in a bar where you drink your cocktails out of mini teapots we headed further South into Fiordland.
We were extremely lucky and managed (accidentally) to see both Milford and Doubtful Sound. These are both spectacular Fiords, unfortunately the weather did catch up on us on the boat for Doubtful Sound but we still managed some excellent views of the sheer cliffs coming down to meet the dark water. Both of these sounds are apparently the top 2 things to do in New Zealand so we consider ourselves very lucky we managed both!
We then headed up to glacier country, and tried to get a tour of the Franz Josef glacier but couldn't as an Australian tourist had died on it that day, so we did a tour of Fox and it was so cool!!!We had a long walk to get to the glacier and then only about an hour on the ice, but we got to go into a crevasse and it was just very exciting being on the glacier itself and the speed it's moving is phenomenal!
We then headed into the Abel Tasman National Park which is New Zealand's smallest but probably most popular National Park and it was easy to see why it is golden sand beaches with sheer jungley cliffs growing right on to them, and the day we had was glorious!We did get slightly overexcited and irrationally think we saw some penguins on the beach but they just turned out to be black and white birds!
We're now in the North island and will update you in a few weeks. It hasn't all been sunshine and fun and games though, we've got a massive crack in our windscreen, killed an Australian harrier hawk when it flew suicidally into our windscreen (it didn't cause the crack), got a flat battery in the national park and tried to push start the van just the 2 of us on a slight upward incline (needless to say that didn't work)!But we've bounced back and it's all fun and games once more!lots of love to all back home, hope the weather is nice!!!xxxx