I am afraid this is going to probably going to be a really long entry as we have just done so much! Well we stayed in Auckland for a couple of days whilst we waited for our spaceship (our camper van) and as s oon as we got that we headed straight for Rotarua where we had a look at the hot springs and then went to s Polynesian Spa where we had a soak in some pretty hot baths, I couldn't even get in the 42 degree pool!
The next day we headed to Lake Taupo where we happened to arrive the day of the Iron man competition so didnt really get a look at the town itself but we went on a nice 14km walk along a river which was a good warm up for our Tongoriro crossing we did the next day! We camped at the base of a massive dark mountain which had a massive hotel at the foot which looked like soemthing from the shining! We got up and got on the 8am coah to the start of the hike. The day was really nice and it was pretty hot when we started but once we gained some altitiude I was really grateful for the cloud cover and the cool! The day was brill and I enjoyed the day which was surprising as i thought I would only like it on hindsight but it was amazing and you cross all kinds of terraine. We walked up a few mountains and saw thermal lakes and by the end of the walk we were walking through rainforest! They estimate the walk will take about 8 hrs and we did it in 6hrs so really pleased with myself as it was 17km as well! My God di I ache that day and for the next 2 days I walked like John Wayne!
The next day we caught the ferry from the North to the South Island and almost immediately we noticed the difference and the scenery was amazing as we headed south and drove past vineyards and mountains! The next day we arrived in Franz Josef but it was pretty overcast and we didnt get a great look at the glacier, we also drove on to Fox Glacier which was our favourite and we stayed that night by a straem in a field where we could see the mountain and glacier it was just amazing! When we awoke the next morning we have never seen rain like what was coming down! It was terrential and coming in almost horizontally so any hope to climb the glacier was out of the windo so we headed to Wanaka. Wanaka was lovely and we fell in love with the town. We spent the night there and did the most beautiful walk the next day called the Rob Roy Hike. It took you through rainforest up a river gorge to where you arrived at the base of a glacier and there was literally 14 waterfalls coming off the mountian...my pics really dont do it justice and it has to be the nicest walk I have ever done!
That afternoon we drove to Queenstown which was so nice and beautifully situated on a lake surrounded by mountains. We aslo arrived around dusk so the harbour lloked amazing! We had a bit of a disaster that night trying to find somewhere to camp and we ended up in a car park which seremed dodgy that night in the dark and we got a bit scared when we saw police lights flash but when we awoke the next moring the car park was in a beautiful spot so it didnt seem so bad!
Our next stop was Milford Sound. We arrived at about 1 and booked ourselves onto the 4.30 boat trip as this had been recommended to us as it is cheaper! The Milford Sound lodge we stayed at has to be the nicest place we have stayed at over here. We got a free bus to the village to catch our boat! The trip was amazing and what really made the trip was when we spotted dolphins when we were headeed out to sea so on the way back we caught up with them and they were so playful and were jumping all around the boat. Another boat came to join in and this meant we got to see the dolphions jumping out of the water alot better! It was amazing, especially when they told us this was the first time tyhey had seen dolphins all week as the weather had been so bad! Then to top it all off when nick and I were waiting for the bus back to Milford Lodge I spotted the dolphins as they had swam right into the bay!
After Milford Sound we headed for the South Coast to the Caitlins which wasnt initially planned but we had done things a lot quicker and we are so glad we did as the south coast is full of wildlife! We saw sea lions, seals, penguins and even Royal Albatross! It was great fun as we spent a few days along the coast and also saw a petrified forest on a beach. We then headed back up the island to Mt Cook and stayed the night near there but the weather was awful and we couldnt see anything. I am still glad we went though as we saw Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki which are jkust the most amazing blue colour. Also alot of Lord of the Rings was filmed all round there so we got some snaps! We visited the highest slamon farm in the world where we fed the fish and bought the nicest smoked slamon which we had for dinner last night and we plan to eat the rest tonight!
We are now in Kaikoura and we have booked ourselves onto a whale watching trip tomoroow at 6.45! Apparaently its the best time to go though so fingers crossed! Its also good because if you dont see any you can go on a another trip for free or you get 80% back. This afternoon we went on a wine tour for about 3 pounds which was great fun and I am still a little light headed now! We plan to stay in Kaikoura a couple opf days as there si quite a lot to do here and we plan to go walking a hire some bikes so itshould be fun, before we have to return the spaceship to Christchurch on Sunday and we then fly to Bangkok on Monday!
Hopefully I will be able to post some whale pics tomorrow so fingers crossed!
The next day....... Well we have been on the whale watching trip and it was just amazing! We had to be up before 6am which was a bit of a shock but we got to see the sun rise which was pretty. Our trip still went even though there was a storm last night and the swell was 3m! Luckily I took some sea sickness tablets which did the trick! The boat ride in itself was so much fun and I couldnt stop giggling! The boat shot along at 27knots and we were bouncing all over the place!
Within 15mins of leaving we saw our first whale...a male sperm whale whcih we were able to watch for about 15mins bobbing on the surface before it dived down a massive cliff face to 1500m deep. We then went to see some dusky dolphins which were so playful and alot smaller than the bottlenose dolphions we had seen in Milford Sound. After that we saw a second sperm whale and then the biggest school of dolphins imagineable, they were everywhere and jumping around it was amazing! To top it all off we saw a couple of wandering albatross gliding just above the water!
It was a truly amazing and unforgettable trip that I have no regrest about and it was well worth the money! I am on such a high now! Also the campsite we are staying at is on the beach front and apparanetly you can see dolphins most days from the waters edge so we will have to get Nick's monoculor out later!