Published: June 18th 2006June 15th 2006
The view from our hostel
Our time on New Zealand's South Island has been mainly spent on buses. We really didn't plan this leg of the trip particularly well. Two weeks is not long enough to try and do an entire country. We have visited Christchurch (1 night), Queenstown (3 nights), Franz Josef Glacier (2 nights), and Nelson (1 night), in that time we have had 3 days which haven't involved bus journeys, and 4 days which were spent almost entirely on buses (two 8 hour trips, one 10 hours, one 6 hours, and then a 3 hour boat to the north island). New Zealand is having it's worst weather for 60 years! It's snowing where it's never snowed before, roads everywhere are closed, there's a few cities without power, and it's just generally been cold and wet. And, if that's not enough, we are in the worst place possible to try and see the World Cup, it's a country that doesn't care too much for football, and game times are 1am, 4am, and 7am, so we have had many sleepless nights. That said though, I am enjoying the little time we have here.
We arrivind in Christchurch on the 9th, seemed like a nice
Cathedral in the City centre
enough city, looked a lot like we could have been in England though, a very different area to Cairns. We only stayed one night before getting on a coach to Queenstown. I was very suprised though with how much I actually enjoyed the coach trip... New Zealand is a very beautiful country, every inch of it is spectacular, so I was happy to sit on the coach with my iPod, just looking at the views. The coaches stop regularly as well for breaks, generally in the more scenic areas. Queenstown was a nice place, the view from the hostel was really nice, a glassy lake (can't remember the name) with snow-capped mountains behind it. Unfortunately the weather was not good on our first day there, so the day was, literally, a wash out. We intended to go on a jet boat through the canyon nearby, but they cancelled it. The next day was clear, so I went for a walk around the lake and up the mountains. Most of our time in Queenstown was spent in a bar called the Q-Lounge, we managed to watch at least one game every night there, and it was the weekend of the rugby
One of the stops we made on the coach trip from Christchurch to Queenstown
test matches as well. We worked out that we spent 9 hours in that place on Saturday watching rugby, football, and playing pool.
Before we got to Franz Josef we had another long, but interesting coach trip, stopping at loads of places we would have liked to stay at if we had more time. Franz Josef is a tiny mountain town, only 2 streets, and no bars to watch the football in, luckily the hostel (easily one of the nicest we have stayed in) had Sky Sports. In our only full day there we went for a hike on the glacier, one of the most amazing landscapes we have seen this trip, the hike was also possibly one of the most dangerous things we have done. Jumping over cravaces and walking on narrow bridges over big drops. Was a good day, but a very tiring one, walking on ice is hard. We also had a guide who managed to get us lost as well, the amount of times we turned around and went back the way we came, and the way he stood around scratching his head a lot didn't fill us with a lot of confidence. We got
Franz Josef Glacier
Nestled in between the mountains
back eventually though.
The next bus journey, to Nelson, was the longest, and the only one I've really got bored on, it went into the night, so there wasn't much to see anymore. We then got a bit worried because the hostel we intended to stay at didn't have sky, and it was the night of England v. Trinidad and Tobago, so we couldn't miss that. We spent quite a while wondering around trying to find a hostel which would show the footie, ended up at one with a massive tv, so yeah there was a happy ending! Got up at 4 to watch it, was bored and agitated watching it (why are we so bad?!), but happy in the end with the result, and then caught a bus to Picton so we could get the ferry onto the North Island.
There are more photos below