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Published: March 6th 2009
If you feed a child chocolate spread and diet coke in a forest, and no nazi organic food only mother is around to see it, are you still wrong? Backpacking round the world on a budget is kiddie food heaven. Chocolate spread sandwiches (‘cos no fridge, so can’t take along butter), cereal bars and a variety of meals in tins and pasta and tuna. He’s loving it!
Well, yesterday was a big day for driving. We drove all the way through from Queenstown to Fox Glacier, stopping along the way every so often for the sights. With stops, the drive was about 7 hours but the funny thing is, with these great views, it only seems like half an hour. Fantastic roads, yet again. We stopped at Arrowtown, which is a lovely little place. Picture perfect main street. Buddy wanted to go to the museum, so that’s what we did, and it was pretty good fun. They have an old street set up, and a school with a woman dressed up as a strict old fashioned school teacher, which he loved.
So, anyhow, we stayed the night at Fox Glacier, but we arrived pretty late in the day, so
we didn’t do much apart from pootle around the campsite.(Just to mention a great camp site. The Fox Glacier holiday park is brilliant. It has been all newly refurbed and had great shower at kitchen facilities, and a great view of the summit of Mount Cook! I finally saw it! The park is on the road out of town towards Lake Matheson. It’s the first campsite that has been a pleasure to stay at!) The glacier itself was ok,yanno, for a glacier. I’ve seen better! We did the long walk up to it, which was a bit hellish as it was such a hot sunny day, yet again. We made our way to Lake Matheson afterwards, which was brilliant. It was a perfect day so the reflections in the water were amazing, but it was a bloody long walk! It took us about 2 hours to walk round the whole lake.
While fox Glacier was a bit blah, Franz Joseph glacier on the other hand was stunning. Even the walk up to the face (or as close as you can get to it without being faced with signs that if you go any further you will die a horrible
death) is brilliant fun, its like walking across the surface of the moon, loads of rocks and a really cool stream to cross. I absolutely loved it there. We have been so lucky with the weather so far. From the second day here it has been blazing hot sunshine. The sand flies are a killer though.
We decided not to stay at Franz Joseph the night, but headed up the coast in search of somewhere to stay and a trip to the beach. Firstly, we stopped at Hokitika. Mmmmm, bit of a dump. We stopped at the caravan park which is highly recommended in the guides, but looking round, I was having visions of being murdered in my sleep! The guide called it a hidden gem; in reality, it was a glorified car park on a railway siding, and the toilet and kitchen blocks looked as if the were going to fall down as soon as a train whizzed past!
Anyhow, we ended further up the road at a place called Rapahoe, just outside Greymouth. (One of Buddy’s little quips for you “oh, Rappers rap about ho’s, is that what it’s named after?” I swear to God, I
do not know where he gets it all from!). Our night was interesting to say the least. We had about half an hour on the beach (at the campsite we stayed at, each bay had its own little track to the beach, which was great, even if the camp facilities were a little run down, but hey, as long as I can straighten my hair I am fine with staying anywhere!) before the heavens opened, and an almighty storm rolled in and lasted ALL NIGHT. Not a good time to be staying about 100ft away from the shore line, with only a privet hedge between your van and the beach! After the miles and miles of walking we did, Bud was out like a light the second his head hit the pillow, but I just could not sleep. The weather looked ok when we got there, so I had set up the Spaceship with the tent extension on the back, but boy, did I regret that many many times during the night! The wind was just so loud, it would have been so much better if we were just inside the van. Still, I had a fully charged I pod
with two series of The I.T Crowd on it to watch, so I was fairly happy!
Today we have ended up in Murcheson. We are staying at a campsite on a farm, and Buddy is having a great time as they are letting him help out with the animals. Plus, they have a huge, slobbery great dane who is soppy as anything and keeps following him around and liking him, just like out dogs do. I hunted this place out, as he kept getting upset about missing his animals, so he is very happy right now.
On the way up here, we stopped at Punakaiki to see the pancake rocks, and also at a real goldmine, still working and worked by the same family who founded it during the gold rush six generations ago. There was a lovely old man running the place, and he spent ages telling Bud all about mining. Apparently, it’s the only real Goldmine in the area to visit, the rest are just imitation tourist attractions.
Driving through the Buller Gorge we stopped at the swing bridge, the longest swing bridge in New Zealand, and it was very scary to walk over! But,
we didn’t walk back….we took the zip wire thing back over the gorge! I didn’t want to do it, but Bud was really excited about giving it a go, he has no fear, so I did it with him. You are seated in a padded swing seat thing and are sent flying over the gorge, it was terrifying! Bud loved it, he was just ahead if me on the wire, and he was laughing his head off! We have a video of us doing it, I look like I am about to poo my pants, and Buddy is grinning from ear to ear! I am so glad I did it though, if it wasn’t for Bud I don’t think I would have done.
We are just having a ball here, and I don’t want to leave. It’s so much better than I ever expected, and the ease of having the camper van is great. Its fab to be able to just go and get wet somewhere and not have to worry about it as we have all our stuff with us. I treated us to a power site in Fox Glacier, so we have everything fully charged up now.
God, I am going to be sad to leave here. England just seems so crap and ugly in comparison. And before I get flamed, yes, I’ve been to the flippin’ Cheddar Gorge, the Malvern’s, the Lake District, all the so called beauty spots, and I grew up in Cornwall. Its all just a bit rubbish compared to the rest of the world. Small, dirty, crowded and expensive. The more of the world I see, the more I wonder why on earth I am wasting my life living in the UK.
The campsite we are staying at tonight at Murchison is great fun. They have a little farm here, and the owner has been showing Bud how to hand sheer sheep and has let him go round the farm with him helping to feed the cows and pigs and sheep. Bud loves animals, so he has had a fatastic time.
Heading off somewhere else tomorrow, but I haven’t decided yet. That’s the beauty of this entire trip, total freedom. And did I mention how much I love the Spaceship? I don’t want to give him back!
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