Milford and Penguins and North Island now

Published: May 21st 2007
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Hi everyone
Well I have about a week to catch up on...havent had Internet availablity for a few days and done a lot of travelling.
Last time I was in Queenstown and setting off for Fjoirdland - well yes it was as amazing as everyone says it is. I have been so lucky with the weather too, it was a bit murky at Te Anau but now enought to stop me taking a trip over the Lake and to the Glow worm caves..never seen anything like that before ... a little boat ride inside the caves in complete darkness and silence and glow worms hanging from the rock above...was lovely. Rain that night was good news as you need rain for the waterfalls all the way to Milford Sound. Wot a spectacle...I was lucky to choose to go with a small local Ye Anau company calles Trips and Tramps ( thumbs up for them) - nice mini bus only about 12 people max. And the driver ,John, took us down small tracks to various places on the way which wouldn't have been accessible in a big coach. So lots of amaze you on the way there....and then a lovley boat trip 2 1/2 hour on the Sound - we went on the ship with sailing masts which normally people can stay on overnight ...very nice vessel - and a good commentary about the natural life and geology etc. Because of the rain that night before the waterfalls were fantastic and you look up and can't beleive the scael of it all as the rock towers above you over a mile high!!!WOW!!!
It was a bit blustery and cold but I was out on deck most of the time -woolly hat and rain jacket - I just wanted to expereince the weather as it is most of the time...not always nice some very atmospheric photos and dramatic shots - with swirling clouds - and there are hundreds of waterfall fotos!!!! Am up to 800 fotos I think- good thing I go a big memory card!!
So Next time I come back here I will do Doubtful Sound!!!!
Set off next day to return to Christchurch with a longest drive over 2 days as I decided to drive right round the coast and up the east side.
Thought I might catch the penguins on the Otago Peninisula but after driving out of my way and along a twisty narrow road for miles with the sea lashing waves over the road at times - the little buggers were all out fishing and so the Penguin Place was closed till 3.15pm - I wish they had said that on the brochures !! No way I was gonna camp there with the wind nearly blowing me went on up the coast stop the world famous ( have you heard of them??) Moreiki Boulders. These are amost perfectly spherical boulders along the shore line and formed on the seabed in some mudstone or something - well my luck was not in cos the tide was in and I had to scramble along the base of the cliffs to get near enough. But they are impressive and apparently there is nowt like them in the world anywhere else.
On them to Betty's last night camping at Oamaru -- with some impressive Victorian bldgs down by the harbour and names like Tyne Street - I felt at home there. And suddenly my luck changed cos as I drove into the Top 10 campsite there was a Penguin Bus Tours about to leave and the nice man waited for me to park Betty and I joined his tour. That was great I got to see the Yellow eyed penguiins who tippytoed in form the sea and tramped up the cliff and were on the nests about 5ft away from me waiting to have their photos taken...then we dashed off to another site to see little blue penguins coming in in groups and trunding acrss the grass to nest in their burrows....cute and well worth the trip....and then Bruce took us on a night tour of the town and the historic bldgs. So I was glad I got to see the penguins and thought back to weeks ago when Angie and I were wandering around the rainforest hoping we would not meet a Cassowary that might attack us!!!

So the next day was a good drive back up the Christchurch and for anyone doing that - the Inland Scenic routs from Geraldine to Christchurch is much the better road ..the Highway 1 is busy and straight and flat...but the other road ( rout 72 I think) is mostly straight and flat anyway but more scenic and only a few km winding steep roads around the Gorge....and I did it both ways and it is only a little bit longer.
Had my last night back a Diane and Dave's - and then made the trip to Wellington on Saturday by bus and Ferry...thanks Diane for getting up at 5.30 and taking me to the station...I hope you enjoyed staying in bed ,Dave!!!! A great couple we had lots of laughs...and I hope that one day Dave can work out how to send a text on his phone!!!!
Nice weather for the crossing but I was so tired that I fell asleep on the boat !!!
I stayed at the YHA Wellington - its very central and a v. good hostel....I got a double room to myself...I am not quite up to sharing in a dorm - a bit past that I think!!! reception very helpful and got my bus booked for me to travel onwards.
So yesterday - Sunday I had about 1 hour to have a quick look at the Te Papa museum - long enough to know Iwanted to spend more time!!! Lovely museum!!! And then I was off on a bus to the Hawkes Bay area - wine growing country on the East coast of the north island
- I am in a village called Havelock North, near Hastings!!! This is my 3rd Intervac stop and the couple whose house it is are in the UK at the moment, so I am hoping to meet up with them later in the summer. So I have a few days here and am planning a trip the the area where there is all the volcanic activity - and stuff about Maori culture - Rotorua and Lake Taupo. This afternoon I am off to historic Napier and will do a town tour of the Art Deco buildings , which it is famous for.
So now it is the countdown - last week in NZ - and I travel to Auckland on Friday for my last few days. Going with the Nakedbus hope it doesnt really mean I have to go naked as it is a bit cooler now.
So love to all and keep sending me messages.
Oh and one last thing - is there any one of my mates who can pick me up on Thursday 31st from Heathrow ...I realise that most people will be working that day...but just on the off chance I am asking - if not I will just book the car not to worry.
Love to all


21st May 2007

NZ sounds wonderful
so glad that everything is working out well for you Lynne. You should apply for a job on Getaway ( or buggeroff as Ed playfully calls it being the good Aussie that he is). I'll keep your blogs as they contain a mine of info. I sent a brief email to your other address re Bilbao- about booking our first 3 nights in Ria be Bilbao. Will check today to see if it's still available- it's a hostel but has v. good reviews. See you soon. Love Angela

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