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Published: February 19th 2012
We drove along the northern coast of the south island to get to Abel Tasman National Park. We had some time to kill when we got there, so we decided to go...SKYDIVING! Well, it wasn't a totally spur-of-the-moment decision, we had planned on doing it somewhere in New Zealand. This seemed like the perfect place, with mountains, Carribean-blue coasts, and a overal great views of both the south and even the north islands. It was an awesome experience. The views from the plane were great, and we went up to 16,500 feet. Briana jumped out first- "ladies first", Brian said. The guides were great at making you look at all the cool things and Briana's even let her "steer" the parachute for part of the way. We have photos and a DVD we'll share when we get home.
Abel Tasman National Park is beautiful- curving coastlines with water that is as blue-green and crystal clear as the Carribean. There is a very long (4 day) hiking path, but we just did a short bit of it. We also did a full day sea kayaking tour out to the marine reserve. We were able to see some fur seals, sting rays, and lots of birds. Luckily we had great weather and the water was fairly calm, so it was a good experience.
After leaving Abel Tasman we spent the large portion of a day driving because we got stuck behind a big motorcycle-camper accident and had to take a 2 hour detour. Detours are pretty significant here- there aren't a lot of roads to choose from. We made a few stops along the beautiful rugged west coast to look at the scenery and were able to watch sunset from the Punakaiki "pancake" rocks. They're formed from layers of sea creature fossils, and look kind of like stacks of pancakes. When the water is high it pushes up through some of the gaps to make "blowholes" where water sprays up and makes sounds like a train or thunder.
Today we drove further down the west coast to "glacier country". We hiked up to Fox glacier and tomorrow we will take a helicopter to the top of Franz Josef glacier to hike around. We've added a few photos to the Facebook album. We'll try to update again once we're in Queenstown.
Briana and Brian
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