Abel Tasman, Greymouth & Franz Josef Glacier

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January 24th 2012
Published: January 26th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Day 10-15

From Wellington we left for Marahau which is where Abel Tasman National Park is. We checked into the backpacker camp called Old Macdonald's Farm where we divvied up the dorm cabins. They were a little rough, but that's to be expected. What isn't to be expected is a nest of dead spiders tucked into your curtains. Yum! René found them when he closed the curtain and a bunch of the dead spiders fell onto the pillow of the girl sharing the cabin with us. She wasn't there at the time so we did a little damage control before she got back and all was well in the world (minus a minor case of the heebie jeebies...there were a lot of spiders). She still doesn't know what went down and it's probably better that way.

Next morning was action packed. We started off sea kayaking for 3h which was quite lovely. At first my arms were really sore and I wasn't sure how I'd get through the rest of the trip, but shortly after my arms woke up and it was very enjoyable. After that was a 20 minute scenic walk through forest to get to Anchorage beach to catch the sail boat. As soon as our kayaks touched sand giant droplets started falling. Lame sauce because as you may recall I forgot my waterproof jacket on the plane from Ottawa to Vancouver and haven't had the opportunity to replace it. René had his rain poncho so we opened that up and huddled under while we walked. Despite the rain we were able to get some scenic shots. We got to the sail boat for the next leg of our adventure and it really started pissing rain, but this only lasted about 20 minutes or so and was the last of the rain for the day. Eventually the clouds cleared up and we had a lovely sail. We stayed for another night and then we were off to Greymouth.

There's not much to do in this city but it is home of the Monteith's brewery: an excellent local NZ beer (although we found out on the tour that it's now owned by Heineken. Small world!). After watching their presentation bit we moved on to tasting their 6 different beers, which got better by the beer. After that we were off to dinner and more beer, then back to the hostel bar for some partying. They gave us garbage bags to make outfits out of and everyone dressed in a garbage bag got to play Bingo. I had the best garbage bag dress but I lost at Bingo. You win some you lose some. For once we were able to sleep in so the party lasted until 1 or 2am. It was a good night!

When I said 'for once we were able to sleep in' I meant everyone excluding myself and 7 others who decided to do jade and bone carvings. When I ha to wake up I regretted this decision, but all in all I'm glad I went because it was a great experience. I carved myself a lovely jade necklace with a ton of help from Hamish the carver. I had so much fun and now I have a really nice necklace made by moi. Très cool!

Next it was onto Frans Josef Glacier, one of the most famous glaciers in NZ. One of it's special features is it is one of the few glaciers that travels from source to ocean. We had an epic day planned: a heli hike in the morning followed by a skydive in the afternoon. Unfortunately the weather had other plans and decided to be cloudy all day (turns out it's illegal to fly vehicles through clouds). Boo urns! To top it off the walking tours up the glacier were all full so we didn't get to go up the glacier at all. Le sigh. We did have a wonderful nap, a delicious breakfast and a nice soak in the hot tubs. Not ideal but not a bad day. Also, manage to find a windbreaker for a decent price.
Next morning it was off to Queenstown: the adventure capital of the world! It was a packed day starting at 7am with promises of skydiving, bungee jumping and...a flat tire. We were merrily driving along the road singing songs from days of old when there was a giant banging at the back of the bus. I thought someone's really heavy bag fell from the racks above but it happened again and we were informed there was a flat. Since we were driving in the mountains cell phone reception was non existent so the driver hitched a ride back to town and saved the day. We merrily continued on the road and high tailed it to Queenstown. Here we are in Queenstown with a 143m bungy jump, a 12000ft skydive and Shotover Jet Boating planned all in one day. Cross your fingers the weather is good!!

Additional photos below
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26th January 2012

Great notes
Hi Leah really enjoy reading your daily trackings, while I sit at work looking at rain, snow and ice pellets all in the same day. Take it easy and glad you got a new rain coat. bam
26th January 2012

Excellent photos Leah. Glad to see you're having a good trip.
26th January 2012

Pictures are amazing - the scenery sure is beautiful. Can't wait to see how you make out with the "extreme" sports part of Queenstown - make sure they pack your parachute correctly.
27th January 2012

Keeping tabs on ypu
Hi Leah, keping tabs on you, moms gotta do what moms gotta do. Enjoy your adventure. Love you

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