Its been a while since I last wrote so am afraid this is a long blog… hold tight…
So arrived back in Sydney for the night and booked into a Formule 1 hotel, near airport thinking it would be better than a hostel for the night as its cost $90 per night!! But it was a complete dump… oh well only one night.. so what to do for the next day? I remembered I see a Harley-Davidson dealership near by.. so I looked them up and decided that was my plan for the next day.. however the weather gods thought differently as I woke up to find it was raining cats and dogs!! And it wasn't planning to stop! I heard risk of floods on the news in Sydney.. shame as the mardi gras parade was planned for that weekend… boo.. wet costumes wont be fun but nevermind.. so I spent a few hours in Mcdonalds for breakfast had pancakes… hmmmm then decided to walk to the dealership… was a good 30-40 minutes walk but well worth it.. Dealer was a franchise called Trivett, they also sell cars such as Mercedes and a few other premium brand products such as porsce and lotus. Dealership was within lots of car dealerships on a main road and was really nicely set up with chrome and full length windows everywhere. So I started chatting with the girl at the desk and quickly established that the shop had only opened a few years prior. Nice shop. I explained my job within H-D EMEA and tried to purchase a damaged Sydney Tshirt and was told I was having it for free due to the damage. I wasn't going to complain lol ;)
Back to hotel, flight was at 8pm and it was now 3pm. Decided lunch then get a taxi… I waited and waited and waited.. Taxi arrived at 5pm….yep apparently it rains and everyones gets taxi's! Lucky to be leaving Sydney before the floods as I heard later that people were being evacuated from the city! Flight was painless to Christchurch.
Arrived in Christchurch guess what? It was raining…. Again.. got a shuttle from airport which cost $15 which was pretty cheap so I later found out.. (exchange rate is exactly 1GBP to 2 NZD, easy maths) stayed in Christchurch for a couple of days to sort out my plans.. stayed at Basekiwi hostel, was nice.. bit boring, not much happening there.. Christchurch was completely destroyed by the Earthquake in Feb 2011.. The whole CBD (City Business district) was slowly being demolished! The cathedral that once stood as the oldest and historic tourist place was in pieces. Some cool shopping centres had been set up though using shipment containers of all sorts of colours was pretty cool that they had opened so quickly and for Christchurch people its business as usual. Christchurch is still experiencing some tremors on a regular basis. Apparently I was there during one at 8.05am but must have been sleeping. The following day I took the shuttle tour bus around the local areas which was a good deal with hostel (a local guy started this company and works with the hostel for a cheaper deal for anyone staying there. The tour guide was really cool told us all about his life) We visited New Brighton along the coast which used to house the longest wooden Jetty but unfortunately it burnt down many years ago and looked very similar to the jetty in Brighton UK. The place remained empty for years until the locals decided to raise some money to build a new jetty. Which they did and the library sits at the end of it. The library has full length windows and a computer room. You can sit here, drink a coffee whilst surfing the net, looking out across the sea and jetty.. Amazing view! Then the bus took us to Lyttleton (cant recall spelling) which was lovely, lovely views and amazing roads. We came across some more rural areas hit by the earthquake. House built in the mountains had been cleaned away by boulders falling from the mountains. One guy had 2 boulders still inside his house and cannot return. Apparently he comes back to cut the grass every know and again. These boulders are the sizes of houses and large cars. WOW! Everyone in the area had evacuated houses and there were more boulders waiting to fall.. very scary place to drive through. Driver mentioned that he was driving a tour once and an earthquake hit. The road became like waves and he had to stop the bus. He told the customers that it was an extra $10 for the experience of an earthquake on board. Lol funny guy.
Anyways left Christchurch on the Kiwi bus from Christchurch at 2pm that day, met a guy from Canada on military leave from Afganistan. So we boarded the bus, soon started chatting to a few people on the bus and quickly established our driver Vaughen was new to Kiwi buses. It took us 6 hours to get to Kaikoura when normally it takes 2-3 hours tops.. Annoyed.com. We arrived in Kaikoura at 8pm. It was still raining. I decided to chance it and stay another day and hopefully swim with dolphins in the morning at 5.30am and hopefully see the whales at 12.45pm that same day. The weather had a different idea. That night we decided to go to the liquor store to get some beers with Luke George, Josh and Gorrit from Holland. We went to a local bar called Strawberry tree, had a live band which was pretty good. Met a few locals which was nice. Then headed back to Hostel to get stuck into the beers in the TV room. Hostel had a VHS!!! OMG.. we watched a crap film with Antonio Banderas and Enrique Ingelius , finished in 30 minutes so went to bed as had early start. Found out we started film half way through. Phone died in night so didn't get up for dolphin swim.. Josh promised to wake me.. he didn't… anyways turns out they didn't see any dolphins so got charged $20 for nothing. But got refunded the $130 which was a result instead I woke at 7am. Annoyed that I missed the trip though. Josh left on kiwi at 9. I stayed in the hope that I could see whales at 12.45pm but that got cancelled too. So decided to treat myself to a porterhouse steak and a beer at the hotel on the westend rd that evening. Headed back to hostel btw hostel was called Lazyshag lol. Went to tv room to find 3 guys watching billy Elliott lol funny! Another early night to catch bus at 9am next day heading north to Kaiteriteri. Luke and Lewis wanted to do the 16'500 ft skydive over Abel Tasman national park. I was convinced 16'500ft jump! Arrived in Picton enroute to Kaiteriteri to collect from people from the north island travelling south, some funny characters got on the bus! 5 girls, Sally from England, Reina from Canada, Nikki, Kate from England and another (cant recall her name) they were talking about the previous nights shag fest lol was pretty grim convo. Nevertheless was a bit of fun. Arrived in Kaiteriteri, we stayed at the pub next to hostel with Lewis, his gf Eli and Luke. Had the most amazing fish and chips for $10 dollars and a few jugs of beer. Nice evening. The next day woke up to get shuttle to Skydive centre.
Skydive, OMG I was excited and nervous! But all was good wrote some little slogans on my hands. One side said "Love life" the other said "love this". Made a mistake and told my tandem guy and camera man I support Man utd. They threatened to unattach me from chute.. Gits! Skydive was amazing.. first jump I did in the UK at Hinton skydive centre near Brackley so I knew what to expect. This time through views were amazing, the only skydive in NZ where you can see both south and north islands… We left plane and was wicked I was going mad. I could breath and smile and shout and was doing loads of things with my hands and shouting and screaming.. sooo much fun.. I was not to swear on my video I think I succeeded lol got a free tshirt and photos and video as part of my package for $600 (£300 approx) which isn't too bad.
Kiwi bus picked me up from the skydive centre, heading to Westport which was the newest place on the west coast of the south island. Recently established for its gold mining and recently had a huge explosion which a number of miners were killed. Stayed the night in Westport, Reut (from Israel) and I went for a lamb roast (wasn't the best but it hit a spot) the next day we were heading to Lake Mahinapua to the oldest West Coast pub (Les the owner was like 80 odd years old). We had a fancy dress party planned and theme was bin liners so I bought a few things in Westport from a cheap shop.
That night in Westport I made a number of new friends, including some lovely girls from Wales Sarah and Lisa. Everyone was so much fun. We played some games about Triangles etc. Then headed to bed, after I quickly washed off a bottle of rose as strictly no alcohol allowed at the poo pub the next day.
Kiwi bus pick up was at 9am heading to Lake Mahinapua. We stopped at some lovely places along the way. Punakaiki and saw pancakes rocks and blow holes which were formed by the crashing sea. We had a lovely stop at Cape Foulwind and walked along the coast. Shame I didn't get a panoramic view photo of this as it was stunning. You could see across all the mountains and the sea as well as seeing some small seal colonies. Nice walk. I ran abit of it.. Fed up of sitting on a bus all day long now.. Kiwi bus is starting to annoy me.. Good people but the sitting on a bus all day feels like a waste of time with not much to do.
Stopped at Greymouth for a few hours for lunch and toilet stop. Back on bus heading to Lake Mahinpua for poo pub experience. I decided on going as Eve from Adam and Eve. I sewed some leaves from Westport onto a bin liner. Just needed a Adam… arrived at Lake Mahiupua, Les came on board to tell us the deal for dinner etc. Was $32 for dinner and the bed for the night (PS most uncomfortable bed so far!! They sunk when you sat in them, might as well been on the floor) Got to room and met 2 Austrian guys Andrew (Andreas) and Renee. Nice guys. We had a bit of laugh about political situation between Israel and Iran. Andrew agreed to be Adam in the Adam and Eve theme. We all went for dinner.. Big dinner, we had steak, roast potatoes topped with cheese, corn on the cob (my fav) pasta, veg, bread roll and some coleslaw. Then headed for showers to get ready. Reut offered to curl my hair which was nice. Got dressed, Andrew/Adam needed help with his outfit so I sewed some nipples on his bin liner as well as some freshly picked "small" leaves. Then he decided to add 2 pink bags filled with socks and another black liner filled with socks to represent his man hood. Was pretty funny. Party was mental.. One Swedish girl took a wee the smoking shed in front of everyone when the toilets were 2 metres away.. lol and a certain welsh girl got lucky… We headed to bed about 1am(ish) then all 4 of us stayed up for a bit and was pretty funny.. someone banged on the wall to tell us to be quiet. We fell asleep. I found out the next day the following story. I went on a little sleep walk during the night. Andy told me he woke up to someone whispering "Andy…. Andy… Andy…" he shone his light on the floor to find me sitting in and amongst loads of black bin bags (the remains of everyones costumes) I said "I am lost and I don't know where I am" then I rolled back into bed and fell asleep! Very funny.. I think I tried to go to the toilet in the night but it was dark so only managed to find the floor…lol (ps I wasn't even drunk this night, just a few tequilas) Sally stressed as a gimps boy and spent the evening crawling around on all fours with people spanking her all night, one guy dressed as grapes, some girls dressed as flies, the 2 brothers dressed as coca cola and pepsi max, mickey mouse and many many more fun costumes. The grapes won the competition.
Up early again the next day to skype home. 80 year old rude Les interrupted whilst I was on the call.. (Andrew said to him the night before "I am hungry" Les replied "I couldn't give a f*** mate", the no alcohol rule was also broken as Louise (Irish girl) bought her wine into her room and left it on her bed, they were fined $20!! Then Les got on the bus in the morning to say farewell and hope we had a good time and announced "some p**** bought some alcohol off the bus" harsh…
Anyways we left there and 30 minutes into the drive we stopped at the Possom Pie shop, this place had lots of history catching wild deer for venison meat etc by helicopter. They flew over the deer and jumped onto its back and wrestled it to the ground before slicing it throat. Very horrible thing to see apparently at the museum I didn't go but was told it was terrible torture and death for the deer. The restaurant was funny but annoying. We was told to not bring any water or drinks not purchased in the store into the shop. I girl bought her water bottle and proceeded to order pancake for breakfast which was $4 he charged her $7 for the water.. the water she had already purchased elsewhere.. harsh! Seems that kiwi's can be p**** at these places..
Back on bus heading to Franz Josef glacier, excited! Arrived at Franz Josef and checked into complete a full day hike up in the Glacier! Excited for the next day! Hostel was amazing Rainforest Retreat, we upgraded to a ensuite room with 6 sharing for an extra $2 each, $30 per night…the most comfortable beds ever.. I was sharing with Reut (Israel) , Denise (Dutch), JP (Dutch) and German guy called Matteus. Hired some mountain bikes, me and Reut took a cycle up to the Glacier! Wicked ride and I managed to walk up to Sentinel rocks to see my first shot of the Glacier. Lush! (I keep saying Lush, Laura Godfrey if your reading this that's your fault!) Headed to bed early due to early start on Glacier. Woke early and headed to Glacier for a full day hiking experience. Lots of people on the tour, 5 groups of 11 people.. group 1 was the fastest group so I challenged myself and joined group 2! Long hike to get to the ice was 1 hour and half. Was really cool day, the tour guides were hacking away the ice to build stairs for the group to walk, we were given boots, socks, coats, cramp ons etc. We found some cool ice pockets/holes then climbed through them. One was so tight that I had to be pulled through it. Was fun though. Some of the guys got naked at the top, photo evidence too.. Hopefully will be able to find them on fb to tag them lol I am sooo cruel..Full on day of hiking, my cramp ons broke twice, first the left and second the right and a blister stop was ordered by me.. I asked myself why is it always me??!? Anyways was a good day.. Reina was chatting up the 19 year old tour guide called Will and suggested he bring some friends for 5 girls on the kiwi bus to the pub later that night. He agreed! On our way back we spotted the 5 girls (minus Reina as she was on our tour) and Sally flashed her boobs. Reina reminded our tour guide Will that was Sally! Said bye to tour guide and headed back to hostel and stopped at the pub in the corner called Landing where Sally and co plus a few kiwi drivers Cam (my driver) and Dillion (Lukes driver) were having a few beers (afternoon drinkies) I had 1 pint of cider then went to cook myself lamb chops, potatoes and veg and guess who I bumped into my little bro Luke (I left him , Lewis and Eli in Kaiteriteri) Headed to bar briefly for 3-4 glasses of wine before heading to my bed to skype Will, lovely 45 mins chat. Then bed as up again early to catch bus to Fox Glacier. Arrived at Fox and bus dropped us at Lake Mathieson for mirrored views across the lake! Was lush, you can see Mount Tasman and Mount cook reflecting on the Lake! Amazing. A little sad today as leaving all my friends on Kiwi bus.. Said bye to Sarah (Welsh), Lisa (Welsh), Reut (Israel), 2 brothers from Bulgaria/Manchester, JJ, Jake and Joe from London along with Sally, Reina and the other nutters. Turns out Sally got laid last night after snogging one guy from the tour, managed to ditch him for the kiwi bus driver Dillon. HA HA.
I was dropped off at Ivory Towers in Fox's to do some ice climbing the following day, so decided to hire another bike for the afternoon. (Cannot wait to buy a new bike when I get home, come on!!) Had so much fun on the bike. Got over the glacier which was a 30 mins cycle. OMG see the best lakes at the bottom of the glacier I have ever seen! Bright neon green algae in pools with blue and turquoise waters… amazing!! I kept asking how could this be?! Walked to the glacier and took some pics then headed back to car park and chilled there on a rock for a while enjoyed the amazing scenery. Fox glacier is bigger than Franz Josef and not visited by as many tourists as Franz Josef. Plus the lakes there were amazing. This was the most relaxing place I had been so far! I took a nice fast ride back downhill to hostel. I stopped along the way to see a the river bridge. Very nice! Then rode home and prepared some dinner of cheese sausages, potatoes, mushrooms, veg basically left overs and added some sausages… Sausages were horrible so offered them to some people in Kitchen, they gobbled them down. Bumped into a girl who was hitching called Shelley, lovely girl, she thought she had lost her phone so I called it and eventually we found it. Invited me for a free cider if I would join her for dinner (she didn't like to eat alone) we chatted for ages about her love life dilemma. Was fun hearing her going on about her exciting life she was about to embark on in Brazil although I was so tired from yesterdays hike and todays cycle. I drank up and headed to bed. They went to the free hot tub in the hostel. Ivory towers was pretty cool, free tea and coffee, herbs, spices, salt pepper and the most amazing wooden table in the kitchen and dining areas, unfortunately I didn't get a picture. Free luggage room too.Bed at 9pm was a first for me but had to be up early again for Ice climbing on Fox's glacier. Arrived at café at 7.30am but for some reason I was really nervous, I hate waiting for things.. the suspense always kills me. I ordered a massive fry up. Couldn't manage it but then 3 people came in, Michael from Canada, Magdelaine from Sweden and Luke from US. They were going to be Ice climbing with me, they finished off my breakfast. Then Scott our tour guide for the day called us through. We got Ice climbing boots, socks, rain coats, cramp on, gaiters (boot cover things) over trousers, 2 pairs of gloves (1 leather and 1 rubber) a hat and helmet, rucksack and an axe. We headed out to the car park to catch a bus to the glacier car park for a brief 30 minute walk to the glacier. We stopped to get our kit on. Cramp ons were proper decent ones unlike the ones at Franz Josef, plus helmet and gaiters, along with rain coats and gloves. We walked a massive walk half way to the top (ish) - This was the hardest part of the day! Then we got to this little cave and some of us had some pictures taken inside. Scott firstly showed us how to use our cramp ons, we trained to get the right angle on our boots/cramp ons so we always had 4 spikes hitting the ice. Then we trained walking up walls and then we trained walking sideways and then we trained walked steps on walls etc. Scott then asked us to get our axes, this time we first learnt how to get traction on the ice and how to hit it. We all hung from 1 axe to get a good understanding on the grip. Then we did some movements using both feet and axe. Now were all mastered the basics we headed up further into the glacier for some full on wall action! I was very excited by this point… Found some 30ft (ish) walls and Scott went to assemble 2 ropes for us to climb. First climb Scott asked if anyone was cold, ME ME ME!! I wanted to climb first, he wanted to demonstrate belaying to the others (I had belayed before, so that's all good. But he gave us all a first go to watch and guided us all through it first time) I climbed so fast (I remembered someone told me recently to keep moving) which I did, I tried a few techniques enroute up the climb. Axes apart with wide legs which seemed ok but not great balance trying to pull separately directions from above so pulled axes together and starting by getting better height by pulling myself up on staggered axes. Staggered axes was soon taught by the instructor Scott (I had mastered this without instruction) wide feet and keep axes close together, step using both feet then bring feet to same level then take 1 axe to reach high as possible then take another step higher, this will bring you closer to the higher axe, now take a swing with second axe now bring lower foot level with higher foot using the axe to pull up. Remove lower axe and repeat process until you reach top. Axes are always staggered using this method, basically like stepping up stairs. Was pretty good day. We did a few hours climbing here and moved the rope further up the wall to get some different climbing spots. Some were within little streams and some were with a slight over hang, others were steeper with some big boulders hanging out. Really cool, then Scott mentioned how he could lower us into a hole and we could climb out… YES we were all excited.. we headed off to this little place neared the bottom of the glacier. Of course I went first!! ME ME ME!! He lowered me and down and said shout when you want me to stop… I kept going for a while then came across this cool cave which opened up into a underground ice cave which drifted into a tiny valley. Water falls falling everywhere around me.. Finally found my feet and attempted the climb.. Was very hard as ice was so solid down here..arms started to turn to jelly as I tried to get my axes in a nice sturdy place. I finally managed and with a slight second panic I found the technique again and headed up the wall..Michael hung over the side from another rope and took some pictures on my camera. I thoroughly enjoyed this day.. highlight so far.. had a nice chat with Micheal about a girl he had dated a few times, he wanted some advice.. I said stop being a wimp and get on with it… nah gave him some pointers about not being so wrapped up in kids (he said I just want some kids?!?WTF) told him to chill he has lots of time and its not worth rushing it after all you wont be able to go on holiday again without thinking about kids activities etc.. lol anyways after a few little tips, he was very grateful. We headed back to camp and said farewell to the team and headed back to hostel. Was so tired but I wanted to tell Will about my fun day.. he was not able to chat as he had to get to work.. my excited had to wait.. went to watch a film in TV room about the band the doors, very pornographic which was fun.. lol then headed to bed. A few guys in the kitchen offered me some food (to repay the favour from the night before) they gave me a potato/cheese fritter thing and then later offered me some banana chocolate cake (hmmmm was lush) I polished off a bottle of cider then headed to bed. Had a nice text off Shelley, were gonna meet up on the North Island and she had sorted out a friend in Queenstown for me! Nice girl! Bed at 9pm, had a nap.. was gonna get up but couldn't..3 days of full on hiking, biking and ice climbing (cold sore on its way am so run down L but fun few days) got woken up by Will at 10pm (woke all my roomies up too) got up to call him back. Couldn't for long as he was at work. But he was glad I enjoyed it.
Up early today to find out the heavens had opened again (last 3 days were glorious sunshine, which is very rare for West coast of South Island) anyways more rain, which is crap because am just on kiwi bus to Lake Wanaka which had some lovely stops on the way including a lush waterfall. Were just passing Lake Wanaka and can only see clouds L mountain view is normally amazing so the bus driver keeps telling us..normally it doesn't rain often here too L rain is following me!!