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Published: April 11th 2012
I apologize for how much I have procrastinated blogging about the remainder of my New Zealand trip. I have put it off so long that I have done lots of other interesting things and they are more pressing on my mind. I really want to write about snorkeling on the great barrier reef, which I did last week or riding on The Ghan, which I am doing right now. But that would not be Chronological. Also, I greatly enjoyed traveling in New Zealand and I think it will be one of my favorite places. I am not sure how I came to have writers block about my blog, which has no deadline, besides the one I impose on it. And no one criticizes me or tells me if complains about it. In any case, I am writing now. In fact I think I will do something a little different and write about an aspect of traveling that doesn't have a direct relevance to a particular place but which I struggle with all the time. Namely, how do I feed myself. While it is true that I am not employed at the moment, I spend an disproportionate amount of time
searching for cheap ways to feed myself. Now the easiest way to do that is to eat in restaurant But even the cheapest McDonalds or Subway are not as cheap as self catering and frankly they are a little too American to qualify as a travel experience. Though it is always interesting once and awhile to see how an American franchise has adopted itself to a different country. In Australia, unfortunately the biggest difference seems to be providing smaller amounts of food for higher prices. So restaurants are easy but never cheap. Since I consider it my mission to get as much value for my money as possible I avoid restaurants. The good news is that hostels in Australia all have kitchens. Even the most pathetic hostel kitchen will at least have a refrigerator and microwave. This is more than I can say about European hostels. So, I can go to the grocery store and buy ingredients for meals and cook them, but now I face more problems because anything that I buy has to be consumed within the time I am at a hostel. So if I make a salad for dinner then I end up either throwing away
(or passing on to other backpackers) most of a bottle of dressing, or carrying it with me to the next hostel and just hope that warning about keeping it refrigerated was trivial. This is all the annoyance of cooking for one person without the storage capacity. So I end up eating alot of granola bars, sandwiches, and instant noodles
Now getting back to my discussion of New Zealand. My journey on the Kiwi Experience has continued from Wellington. I took the ferry to Picton where the bus took us to Kaiteriteri near Abel Tasman National Park. Here you can take a sea taxi to the other end of the park and hike back for three hours. The beach in Kaiteriteri is an interesting yellow/gold. I thought sincerely about acquiring some pretty sand to take home with me but I decided not to risk it as New Zealand and Australia customs are very strict about that sort of thing.
After a night in Kaiteriteri we traveled down the west coast through Punakaiaki park and we stopped in a few places including staying the night in a pub on Lake Mahnihaw. This pub is out in the middle of nowhere
and apparently they have an exclusive arrangement with the kiwi experience to stay there.
I spent 4 days in Franz Joseph Village. When we first arrived I really questioned spending that many days in a tiny village, but there turned out to be lots of hikes to do around the glacier that sucked up my time rather nicely. There is one walk called Alex Knobb that is supposed to take 8 hours round trip. Basically you hike straight up this mountain and then look down on the glacier from there. I hiked up about three hours until I could get a nice view and then I turned around. Really, three hours straight up a mountain is more than enough for me thank you very much. And then when I got up there I found out my camera had decided all on its own to stop working and the only pictures I could take were with my ipod.
From Franz Joseph we stopped in Lake Wanaka which is a lake with Dolphins. Then it was on to Queenstown. Queenstown is an icon of the New Zealand experience. Its where you can do buggy jumping, canyon swinging, white water
rafting, sky diving, canyoning, and take the day trip to Milford sound. I really wish that I had an unlimited budget to drop $300 on bungy jumping and sky diving. They sound like lots of fun. I did take the day trip to Milford sound which was phenomenal. Apparently Milford sound is not a sound, its a fjord. There is also a 4 day hike you can do through fjord national park but if I had wanted to do that I would have had to make reservations about 18 months ago. So Queenstown without the adrenaline is nice, but mostly just a tourist trap. From Queenstown it is a nice 8 hour drive to Christchurch where I was scheduled to fly back to Brisbane. I planned 4 days in Christchurch because it is the second largest city in New Zealand, but it had a massive earth quake a year ago and is pretty much a pile of rubble. There were a few interesting places, but mostly I just sat around and waited to fly back to Australia. So I guess that is all the stories I have to tell about New Zealand. Next time I will be talking about my
trip to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. 😊
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