Published: November 4th 2008November 4th 2008
After landing from the ferry in Picton, we hopped in our sweet little car and drove west toward Nelson. Nelson proved to be one of our favourite towns in New Zealand, we both agreed that this could definitely be a town to live in. It was spring time in Nelson, so there were some amazing smells everywhere we walked. We spent most of the time running around the street smelling everything trying to figure out where these scents were coming from... seriously amazing. We found one of the cutest hostels we have stayed in so far, It was a reconstructed house with a huge kitchen, amazing bunk beds and a pool! which we didn't use because it was cold... but we did use the Hot TUB! woo! It had a cool hippy atmosphere to it, everyone was really relaxed and chill. Unfortunately we only had one night, but we will always remember those smells and an amazing walk by the river where there were random SWANS... beyond belief. The next day, what we thought was an allergic reaction, got worse so poor Em spent the day at the doctor's and the pharmacy and on the phone with our insurance
After getting that out of the way, we continued south west to the coast, and one of the most amazing scenic drives in New Zealand. This was breathtaking the whole way I'm surprised we're still breathing. This drive was also one of the most terrifying with curves that you basically had to stop to get around, while going up and down mountains and sheer drop offs to the ocean (Mom (Jennie's Mom) It still wasn't as bad as Ireland).
We ended up in Punakaiki that night, which is this little town just off the road. It's famous for Pankcake rocks, which are natural structures that look like stacked pancakes. See Pictures! We stayed in a hostel just on the beach.. called the Beach Hostel hah. It was freezing but we had an amazing time kayaking up the rainforest river, and trekking to see the Pancake Rocks. On the way to this trek, we found a random cave that cut directly into the mountain, just on the side of the road. Unfortunately we didn't have any flashlights so we couldn't explore too deeply.
The next day was mostly filled with driving, but once again it was incredibly
In Punakaiki, the rocks are all stacked and look like pancakes... theres a scientific explaination look it up if you're interested haha. We definitely had some amazing pancakes for breakfast here heh
beautiful. We meant to stop off in Fox Glacier to do some sky diving, but it was raining. Luckily we spoke to a guy who knew all about the amazing places to sky dive in New Zealand, and he called ahead to Wanaka for us. Because of the weather we just decided to head on to Wanaka that night. This guy also told us about a place to go see penguins on the drive to Wanaka. So we stopped off randomly on the side of the road for our penguin search. It was a pretty random spot, we got freaked out by strange sounds on our trek and didn't even see any penguins! We think he's still laughing that terrible person, sending us on random treks. We continued our drive towards Lake Wanaka once again through some amazing sights. Emily actually made me pull over at one point to take some pictures of this truly ridiculously beautiful lake. We were lucky to find a hostel late that night, it actually turned out to be a pretty nice one.. very clean.
The next day, Jennie came down with the weird facial rash that Emily was still suffering from. So she
had to visit the doctor as well. He thinks it was a viral illness we got in Fiji and reacted with this crazy rash. Luckily he prescribed a very strong cream that took care of it.. in a couple days. We spent the rest of the day in Lake Wanaka searching for Halloween Costumes, and couldn't find much.. that we could afford at least. We decided to do what we know best and went as beach bums! with leggings cause it was freezing. We had a pretty fun night, met some super cool people and tried to get to bed early because we had "plans" for the next morning! Which didn't happen because of the rain (read on to understand). We made arrangements for the following day, and decided to head to Queenstown for the night.
In Queenstown we found the best hamburgers we've EVER had. It was at this place called Fergburgers, notice the massive burgers we're eating in our pictures. But seriously so delicious, we want MORE! It was pretty terrible tho, they had some other choices including 'Sweet Bambi' and 'Little Lambie'. Gross.
The next morning, we woke up in Queenstown, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We
up the river in Punakaiki
were about to embark on one of the CRAZIEST experiences of our life! We jumped in our car and started heading back towards Lake Wanaka, for our re-scheduled "plans". Our appointment was an hour away and we unknowingly decided to take the scenic route. Trouble. Now, "scenic route" in NZ means the craziest twists and turns over top of jaw-dropping cliffs. Having a feeling of possible death to come later that day, it wasn't that big of a deal if we fell off the cliff while driving. Once we realized we took the longer route, we madly rushed and called them to let them know we'd be late. Hearts pumping and palms sweating, we soon arrived realizing we were quote full fledge about to jump out of a plane at 12 000 ft end quote. Our briefing of skydiving consisted of watching a video of people literally throwing themselves into oblivion. There was a very brief description of body positions as well.. but who could concentrate at this time?! After dressing into our full on jump suits, we were forced to step outside and watch other people plummet to their death.. that certainly didn't help our nerves! After what seemed
to be ages, our names were called to prepare for our jump. Jennie was called first by her tandem jumper, but he was cute so it helped. Next, Emily was called and we were given our jumping gear. As if dreaming, we started our march towards this itty-bitty, little plane which would soon fly us up into the heavens above. It was our time, and we accepted that. Getting boarded onto the plane, we were luckily able to sit across from eachother to exchange terrifying looks! As we flew up, we noticed our tandem's altitude watches rising and marking the half-way point. This was high enough! Rising higher and higher, both Tandems pointed out surrounding landmarks... and all we were trying to do was simply breathe. The time had come, with no warning. Jennie was first to go, as her tandem literally threw her to the edge of the plane, sitting "calmly" with her now attached legs over the side of the plane. As he asked her "you ready?"... Jennie glanced back at Emily and gave her the most horrified look before being plunged into nothing-ness with no time to respond. Emily, still in the plane, watched Jennie disappear, never
knowing if she'd ever see her again. And where did her cousin go!? Terrified, Emily knew she was next in line. Her tandem scooted her to the edge of the plane, told her to lean back and soon enough, flipped her off the plane's edge! We had a free fall of 45 seconds as the air pushed all of our skin back from our face, tears streaming, drooling.. not a pretty sight.. but what a feeling. Never before have we felt so free while looking over mountains, rivers, lakes and the most beautiful scenery we have ever observed. After free falling, our shutes were pulled and we exerienced first an upwards pull, followed by a calming, luxurious ride down. There was not a cloud in the sky that day, it was just beautiful. After landing, still tied to our tandems, we started running towards eachother screaming. After tackling eachother to the ground and yelling like we never have before, we wanted to jump again! It took us the rest of the day to calm down, and we couldn't drive for about an hour!
Once able to drive again, we got back on the road to visit Jennie's friend, Amanda
(from Barrie, Ont). Her and her fiance, Mike, live in a quiet little town just south of Queenstown. It was a breath-taking drive beside the ocean and we got to view endless little sheepies. The road was incredibly windy as it brought us threw this gorgeous landscape. We finally arrived in Lumsden and found the road Amanda lived on. We stopped in awe to notice these two crazy looking sheep outside someone's yard. They were the harriest creatures and we soon realized it was Amanda's house! She owned these wacky looking sheep! We had arrived to their place before they had gotten home. However, Amanda had called to inform us they'd be bringing home a rescued, little, one and a half week old baby lamb. They walked in the door, immediately gave her a bath and slapped a diaper on her. She wandered around the house stumbling and we followed her around laughing as her knees kept collasping beneath her. We had our own bunky while staying there, with our own double bed and our very own clean bathroom. It was pretty much luxury for us. The next morning, Amanda made us an amazing brekky. Emily worked on her school
We've had some of the most beautiful drives on the west coast
applications in the morning, and we all went to Queenstown in the afternoon to see the city. For lunch, suprize suprize, we went back to Ferg Burger! After walking around the harbour and cooling our stomachs with ice cream, we went up the gondala to experience the thrill of lugging! Lugging was pretty much like go-karting but down a mountain in crazy, windy tracks. We raced down the mountins half a dozen times, running into eachother repeatidly and throwing eachother off the sides! It was an amazing afternoon, yet again! We spent another day at Amanda's, when Emily spent the day continuing to work on her applications.
The next morning we said our goodbyes to all the little animals and jumped in the car to experience the wonderful and beautiful Mt.Cook. We were in the car the majority of the day and arrived around dinner time. Sounds painful, but our road trips were another highlight of our time. We continuously saw NZ's scenery and pretty much laughed the whole time, with some random naps here and there. It was snowing in Mt.Cook when we arrived and we put on all the warm clothes we owned. This consisted of one
sweater and a rain coat. The next morning, we packed a lunch and went for a hike on "Hooker Valley". For lunch, we ended up at the most beautiful spot over looking a river, endless mountains and a gorgeous glacier. Life doesn't get much better than this.
After our Mt.Cook hike, we discovered a beautiful french settlement town, called Akora, along the East Coast of the South Island. We got in late and had a goodnight sleep. The next morning we found a park to walk through, which lead us to a historic lighthouse. It was incredibly beautiful, overlooking the bay with heaps of sailboats surrounding the shore. It reminded Emily of her St.Andrews by-the-sea summer in New Brunswick. We explored the town for a few hours and headed into Christchurch.
In Christchurch, we spend a night out on the town. We thought at the time this was a good idea, however, when we woke at 4am to catch a flight the next morning, we thought otherwise. Somehow we had to drop off our rental car and make it to the airport for an early flight. However, becoming professionals with this lifestyle, we arrived nice and early to
the airport. We were flying up to Auckland from Christchurch that day.
Arriving into Auckland again on the North Island, we had one day left before leaving NZ and heading to Australia! We were very sad departing but had so much to look forward to.
On November 9, 2008, we left NZ and flew into Australia with Emirates Airlines. Buying dinner ahead of time, little did we know we'd have a three course meal available on the plane. Having our own individual TV's and what felt like tons of space, we felt so spoiled. Never would we have guessed getting on an airplane would feel like heaven. Excited about our lives and future to come, we weren't going home this time.. we were about to arrive in AUSTRALIA!
There are more photos below