Published: May 26th 2012May 26th 2012
So... it's me again!
I told a bit of a porky in my last blog. I did not in fact hike on Fox Glacier, it was on Franz Josef Glacier. Woops. But it was beautiful, I got the helicopter up to the top of the glacier mid morning and we walked around on the ice with crampons strapped to our boots for a couple of hours before coming back down. We also walked through (or rather slipped through in my case) some ice caves and walked over to the waterfall which is where all the liquid run-off from the Glacier descends the mountain. Included with the hike was a free trip to the local glacial hot pools so I took advantage of that by sitting in a pool that was 36 degrees for most of the afternoon and chatting with friends.
The next day, we got back on the bus and were driven from Franz Josef to Wanaka. On the way we went for a walk around an amazing lake. It refelcted the image of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman in the background and since it was a lovely warm day, the hour and a half round walk was
really very pleasant. In the afternoon we stopped to take in some spectacular waterfalls. It was lovely but I ended up with a really nasty sandfly bite on my hand which ruined it a little. We arrived in Wanaka in the early evening.
I woke up early the next morning and a friend off the bus, Laura, and I headed for the local airfield. We were hoping to do a skydive at 9 o'clock but since it was very foggy, we ended up waiting until 11 when it was clear again before actually taking off. The wait did nothing for the nerves, of course. I was surprised that I actually felt a lot more relaxed about the jump than I had done the last time. It was pretty cold up at 15,000 ft, -6 centigrade this time. Not that I really noticed it. They also gave us oxygen on the way up which I hadn't had previously.
During the 60 second freefall, there was some stunning scenery to be seen. Completely different to my last jump over a beach and coast line because this time there was mountains, lakes and a lot of low clouds. It was just
amazing. Hopefully the photos will give you some idea of what it was like. I also have a DVD of my fall which I've been trying (but failing) to upload so I hope at least some of you will be able to see it when I get back. The rest of the day was pretty much spent getting to Queenstown, in the South of the South Island.
From Queenstown the next morning, I headed for the Fiordlands and the Milford Sounds. Again the scenery was just amazing. I know I'm saying this a lot but that's just what New Zealand's like! We did a boat trip through the Sounds and went to an underwater observatory to see the fish and coral that live there. Then had a pretty windy bus journey back to Queenstown.
The next morning I had my first lie in for absolutely ages before going up the gondola and seeing Queenstown from 400m higher than normal. At the top I had the most amazing buffet lunch, I sat there for about two hours and ate probably 7 or so courses. It was YUMMY! After that I met up with some friends from the bus and
went down the luge track. Luges are kinda like go karts but without engines... can't really describe them but I had a great time racing the others down the hill and I wasn't TOO terrible at it. Well maybe a bit. I spent the rest of the afternoon doing some laundry and then in the evening had a great night out and buying a Fergburger (the most amazing burger I have ever ever eaten) on the way home.
Yesterday was adventure day as I decided to do a canyon swing. 4 of us went to the bungy site at Kawarau bridge and 2 of my friends threw themselves down the 43m drop. It looked absolutely terrifying but distracted me from what I was about to do at least. We then got the bus up to the Nevis bungy site and walked over a very rickety bridge to the startpoint of the swing. It has a 300m arch and a freefall of 70m at the beginning. I decided to do the swing in tandem with a friend, Conor, as we were both absolutely petrified. My legs were shaking so much when they were trying to do me up in the
harness. Once we were all strapped in we were dropped and it was such an amazing feeling. The 70m freefall was by far the best bit and I was grinning like an idiot afterwards! Think I might be becoming a bit of an adrenaline junky.
We went out again in the evening and ended up in a bar with a bucking bronko in. It was interesting! I have found out that staying on one of those is not one of my hidden talents, I was terrible!!
This morning I left Queenstown and headed for Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. It is often used as a training mountain before people climb Everest and Sir Edmund Hilary climbed it before he headed off to Everest. Once we arrived here I went for a short walk in the bush and now I'm here! I'll be back in Christchurch in 2 days and then will be flying to Auckland before heading to Samoa on the 31st May.
There are more photos below