I've been in New Zealand for about a week and a half now and so far I like what I see. My NZ adventure started fairly quietly in Christchurch. It was a bit strange turning up somewhere on my own as I'm used to having S by my side (I do miss you love) but I managed to navigate my way from the airport to the hostel and then do a wee wandering tour of the city without any dramas.
I was made welcome to NZ by a Scottish band playing the bagpipes. This would have made me feel all warm and missing home if it wasn't for the fact that there was a band that played outside my flat in Manly for 3 hours every Wednesday night and I now feel like i've had enough of the bagpipes to last me a life time!!!
To be fair Christchurch is pretty but there isn't much to do here. I wandered into Cathedral Sq and considered taking a tram from there around the city but when I saw that it was full of the purple rinse brigade I decided against it.
Luckily I bumped into a guy Gareth who I had been sat next to on the plane from Sydney. My first friend in NZ. What better way to celebrate than to go to the pub?!
The following day i booked myself onto the Stray bus tour which is a bus which is aimed at backpackers. It was on joining this tour that things turned from being pretty tame and quiet to being more like the ''extreme'' type of place that NZ is known for. I've added some photos which show what i've been up to. Here's a little bit of chat on all the extreme things I've done so far (ok they aren't all that extreme but some of them are):
- Extremely wicked - Sky dive at Abel Tasman.
Myself and 2 girls from the stray bus set the standard early by doing a 13,000ft sky dive over Abel Tasman in the north of the south island. So much fun!!
- Extremely beautiful - walk to, afternoon sunbathing on and water taxi home from Anchorage beach in Abel Tasman.
- Extremely in the middle of nowhere - Barrytown (or Barry'no'town)
We spent a night in a place called Barrytown. It's one of these places that has got a pub, a cemetary and a primary school and nothing else. Thankfully we were staying in the pub. We had a lovely roast dinner and then amused ourselves by dressing up in order to get cheap drinks! In the morning I went for a walk down to the beach. This place was more grey than Aberdeen but it made for a nice photo!
- Extremely cold - Frans Josef full day glacier hike
The ice started out a bid dirty but the higher you climbed the more blue it became. There was no doubting the fact that it looked amazing. There was also no doubt that our leader was an 'extreme' ice explorer. He seemed to overestimate our ability to climb cliff edges made of ice and at points people in the group got stuck. V funny for those of us watching but not for those stuck. I managed to take a wrong turning and ended up sliding down an ice valley only to be saved by Emma holding onto my hood. Thanks Emma!! People in the group scrambled to help me get back to my feet but I don't think our guide even noticed that I'd been in trouble!!
- Extremely bad singing - Karaoke at Makarora
We had a night in Makarora where they had a karaoke. I'm quite becoming the karaoke star (ok so star isn't the right word i'd say participant might be more suitable) but tonight ended in a competition of who could sing Fraggle Rock in German the best.
- Extremely wet - Jetboating at Makarora
A few of us wet onto the river jet boating. It started as a bit of a scenic experience but turned into the thrill that we paid for - speeding and 360 degree turns. It was wet but fun. The child in me loved racing along the edge of the river near the cows and hikers and soaking them with the splash from our boat!!
- Extremely terrifying - Bungy jump from 134metres in Queenstown.
Doing the Nevis bungy jump is without a doubt the scariest thing I've ever done in my whole entire life. There are 3 jumps that you can do in Queenstown (bungy capital of the world) one is 37m, another is 40m and the third one is 134m. I decided to do the 134metre jump. My logic behind it was that if i was only going to do one jump then i should do the highest one. I started having doubts about this the night before the jump - I was so nervous i hardly slept a wink and when i did i had nightmares about jumping into a pool of sharks. Luckily it was a case of safety in numbers because there were 6 of us from our bus doing it at the same time. I hoped that the others would manage to calm me down but Emma had been awake all night worrying about it too, Cherie had been so nervous that she had been out drinking until 4am and was now crying and still drunk and the 3 guys were scared stiff too despite having done one of the smaller jumps the day before. When we got to the place where we were to jump the guy asked Emma if it was her first bungy jump. When she said yes he laughed at her and asked her why the hell she had decided to do the scariest one for her first time. Not very comforting!
Anyway, after a nervous wee (or two) and a cable car ride to the bungy platform we were ready to go. Standing on that platform with your legs tied together and looking down is the scariest thing. I don't know what was going through my head. I just knew that i had to go when the guy counted to three because not going first time would make it so difficult. So despite the fact that every natural instinct in my body was telling me not to jump i went for it and dived before i even heard the guy say 3. I fell and fell and fell some more. Then i went up and up and up and then I fell and fell again and then i went up again...
I still don't know if i enjoyed it at the time or not but afterwords i had the most amazing high!!
- Extremely relaxing (and well deserved) - Champagne in the bar after the bungy jump.
Despite the backpacker budget Emma and I decided we should reward ourselves after the jump with some champagne overlooking Queenstown.
I'm now in the very south of the south island. Heading to Dunedin next which is meant to be just like Edinburgh. Then I head to north island for a week before heading to South America.
Will keep you updated on any more stories. Enjoy the photos.