Having left the memorable Barrytown we headed off down the West Coast to Franz Joseph. Pretty amazing to see a glacier tucked away in a rainforest. Carmel and I decided to do a heli-hike. We were helicoptered 2/3 of the way up the glacier where we were supposed to do a 2 hour hike. We put on all our warm gear and crampons but after 15 minutes the weather had closed in and we had to make our way back to the helicopter. On the way back down Carmel wanted to get my attention, she 'tapped' me a bit enthusiastically and nearly pushed me over.
I decided I wanted to jump off Princes bus in the beautiful Wanaka so I said my goodbyes to Prince, Sarah and Carmel and checked into the Purple Cow hostel with stunning views across the lake. One of the highlights was the Paradiso cinema, a tiny place with comfy sofas and armchairs to sit in. At half time the film was stopped and fresh baked cookies and home made ice cream bought out. This place was like going back in time. I also bought a rubiks cube from Puzzling World which kept me frustrated for about 36 hours (until I got hold of the instructions!).
The next stop was Queenstown which had been a highlight of my trip last year and as soon as I arrived I fell in love with it again. I made some new friend playing pool Jamie, Liam, Wayne, David and John (the Irish Contingent) and I ended up changing dorms so that I could be entertained by them. Jamie told me how he wouldn't skydive or bungy 'I'm not afraid of heights, I am afraid of impact!' It makes perfect sense to me! Queenstown is also the home of Fergburger the best burger joint in the world where burgers are bigger than me (slight exaggeration but they are pretty big)and very tastey. The World Bar is also where you drink shots out of teapots. Every night I intended a quiet night and never made it in before 4am (if anyone has seen my willpower please could you send it back to me?). On the plus side though due to the magic of vodka, lime and water I am hangover free! The weather has been great since arriving in Queenstown so I decided to do a paraglide which basically involves running off the side of a mountain (with a parachute and a pilot attached). The conditions were officially described as 'MINT' and once we had actually got into the air I relaxed and had a fantastic flight down to the bottom of the mountain. Maybe one day I will pluck up the courage to do a bunjy....or NOT!
After 3 nights in Queenstown I went for detox on an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. Doubtful Sound is mystical with perfect reflections in the water. We saw sealions and dolphins as well as the rarest penguins in the world, The Fjordland Crested Penguin. At one stage they turned the boats engines and generators off and we got to hear perfect silence with just the sound of the birds and waterfalls to break it. It made me cry.
Back in Queenstown the party resumed. Movember is upon us which is where the kiwis grow moustaches of all shapes and sizes to raise money for prostate cancer. The World Bar decided to do Mohawks for Movember and various drunken men lined up to have their mohawk cut by....the barman! A disaster waiting to happen. The night before I was due to leave for my trip South I met Jenna (from my Whanganui river trip) and we went up to the Stray drivers flat to watch a DVD and have some pizza. My quiet night was all going swimmingly until I arrived back at my room and the Irish Contingent were getting ready to go out as they were also leaving in the morning. The next thing I knew I was eating Fergburger chips at 3:30am???
I love Queenstown!!