Rachie and Joey's Round The World Adventure!
Kia Ora! Greetings from the South Island! Well moving on from the North Island we boarded the Inter Islander ferry...we'd heard some stories about it being pretty choppy, but I never thought it would be THAT bad....wrong! I was pretty sure we were going to roll that day, I was absolutely petrified! Plates were smashing and everything...I was so pleased to get off in Picton!! We picked up our new car - a Mazda Familia...I thought the Nissan was a tank, this was a beast!! It was pretty battered too so I made sure they lady took down every last scratch I could see before we drove off :) On we went to Nelson. We stayed in the nicest hostel ever called The Green Monkey (how appropriate!). It was soooo much like a real home! Gorgeous kitchen, living area, log fire, the most comfortable beds our very own cat called Charlie! Free hot chocolate, tea and breakfast! What else could we ask for? We were only going to stay one night....but we ended up staying four, it was so hard to leave! hehe. We chilled a fair bit in Nelson, but did take a nice (tiring) walk up to the centre of New Zealand. The views were pretty amazing :) We also took a trip to Abel Tasman National Park. We thought we'd do a nice walk as the weather was pretty amazing that day. We took the water taxi and got dropped off at the beach where we wanted to start our walk. All was well, apart from one part of the beach was seperated by the sea, so we had to cross it with our trousers rolled up and our shoes off! No problem we thought, although it was tricky deciding where to walk through as it looked pretty deep! The water taxi driver shouted at us to walk further down the beach to a shallow part....easy! So off i trotted into the 'shallow' water further down the beach...only to find the sand was like quick sand. One leg quickly disappeared under me, so i dragged that out and then the other one sunk too....I was knee deep in the sea, soaking wet trousers and funnily enough I wasnt smiling :) By the time Id said every swear word I knew (I had my lifes posessions in my bag and was petrified I was going to be fully submerged) I managed to drag myself out. I was drenched...and had a four hour walk ahead of me with wet trousers near to my waist! (stop laughing...) I can laugh now as from people looking on, I can imagine I looked like a right idiot trying to save myself! But I had the scars to prove it...my trousers rubbed the whole way on our walk and I ended up with bloody legs :) Was a gorgeous walk though, definately recommend it as the scenery was fab! From Nelson we stopped off at a seal colony in Westport which was cool, although seals are the laziest animals ever! :) Quick stopover in Greymouth and then we arrived in Franz Josef. We stayed in yet another gorgeous hostel called Glow Worm Cottages! Very cosy room, tv area and we had free soup each night! Here we decided we were going to do the 3/4 day glacier hike! On the morning of the hike though the weather was pretty rainy, but on with the show we got ourselves all prepared! I have to admit this was one heck of a day. I never thought it would be as hard as it was!! We met our tour guide Nemo, and armed with his axe (which he used to create steps for us!) we followed him onto the glacier. Him and his work mates worked on the glacier everyday and created walkways for us tourists, using their axes to create steps and ensure it was all safe. I dont think I felt safe all day though hehe!! We were climbing really steep parts of the glacier, and every so often he'd walk ahead, and the ice he'd walked on would fall into a deep dark hole....so he'd get out his axe and chip away to make us a safe path *gulp* :) We even went through the tiniest of cravasses that you had to squeeze through (whilst breathing in!) to get to the other side. This was soooooo scary, I never thought i was afraid of tiny spaces until this point! On our 2nd cravass though it went slightly wrong...I made my way through first, and being slightly curvy I found it a lil difficult to get out at the other end, so Nemo kindly pulled me through, but all I could think about was one member of our group who i thought may have a wee bit of trouble....and she did. Bless her heart, this girl got well and truly stuck in this cravass!! It was so scary, she couldnt even feel her legs! We had to call for backup (the full day hikers came to the rescue) set up a harness that could be placed under her arms, in order to winch her up! (I was on the winching team, although with my arms Im not sure I did much hehe!) After a few failed attempts (and a few screams from hurting the poor girl) we did get her out! At that point, we were all pretty keen to finish the trip :) We did make our way back down the glacier, with a few more bumps and scrazes along the way :) Was well worth the hot chocolate when we got the bottom though, hehe! From Franz Josef we drove down to Queenstown for a few days, stopping in Wanaka to check out the scenery. In Queenstown we decided to have a day of snowboarding! We thought it would be a fun challenge as we are both newbies :) It was such an awesome day! We hired out all our equipment and got 2 lessons included for just over fifty pound, bargain! We were basically taught all the basics, and by the afternoon we were turning and everything! We had some fun trying to avoid other newbies, and I have to say I hurt like hell the next day from falling over a wee bit!! (Sometimes the safest way to stop and avoid hurting another snowboarder was to just fall on your bum...and thats what I did :) Thank god for the extra padding ive been blessed with hehe!! We had a few good nights out in Queenstown, making our way to the World Bar for the famous teapots (basically instead of a cocktail glass you have your cocktail in the teapot). Random but fun! Not the most elegant way to drink your drink but with everyone doing it, we didnt look that odd :) We also enjoyed a rather nice curry one night, although my vege one came out bright green which was pretty random...just as well it tasted ok :) One last activity we treated ourselves to in Queenstown was the one and only bungy jump!! I somehow managed to convince Jo that it would be fun to do it together!!! This was probably the scariest thing i'd done. Its one thing jumping out of a plane attached to a professional, its another having to throw yourself off a bridge all by yourself attached to a bungy!! The drive there we were both questioning why we were doing it! But hey, we lived to tell the tale! (woohoo!) After grilling our bungy instructor as he placed all the relevant ropes and everything on us, before we knew it we were edging our way to the end of the platform...*gulp*...we didnt even have time to re-think our decision! Before we knew it we were flying through the air and I was, as usual, screaming!! It was such a rush! I was so glad to finally be standing up straight though as the head rush was pretty intense! The pictures and dvd were purchased and I have proof that Im a crazy loon :) From Queenstown we had a very quick stopover in Milford Sound. Unfortunately the weather wasnt that great so we didnt stay for long, but the scenery was pretty amazing! From here we made our way to Invercargill so we could see the famous bluff sign that marks the very southern point of New Zealand. We had to see it as we'd had our photo taken at the most northern point of New Zealand too! We stayed in another really nice hostel which cooked us fresh bread overnight for our breakfast in the morning, bliss!! From Invercargill we headed to Dunedin. There was one main thing we wanted to do here....the Cadburys Factory!! The tour was so much fun! We were told we'd get freebies along the way, and we certainly got those! We were loaded up with all sorts of chocolate bars, awesome! We even took part in a competition....we did hesitate as we thought it might be one of those question and answer jobbies (my memory is awful!), but when we were told that all we had to do was scoff a bar of chocolate down before the end of the video clip, we were well in there! And being true chocoholics, we did the scoffing in style (I have to admit I was nearly sick) but we did do it in time and won ourselves two more chocolate bars! We must have looked so lady-like :)) After checking out the art gallery and the town in general, we took our final drive to Christchurch! Here we had a few leisurely days checking out the city, and recovering from all the other things we've been doing in New Zealand :) Another lovely hostel recommended by our friend Julia (The Old Country House) that again had fresh bread waiting for us in the morning :) And thats pretty much been the south island! Im now back where it all started, ACB in Auckland, and trying to control my excitement as we're heading to Australia tomorrow morning!! Apologies that i've written yet another essay, but its so hard trying to keep it down to a minimum when theres so much to tell you all!! Next stop...Cairns in Australia. I think Oz is going to be a well earned rest as New Zealand has been pretty full on! Definately looking forward to the sunshine and heat now, bring it on!! I'll update you guys soon :) Ciao for now bellas!