Kaikoura to Queenstown

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February 16th 2012
Published: February 16th 2012
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Arthur's Pass, Franz Joseph, Makarora, to Queenstown: We left Kaikoura early for a long journey through Christchurch (without stopping) to Franz Joseph. Most people decided to trek up the glacier (bad choice, it rained all day- first real rain we've seen- a few of them had to be guided back down by the medical team. You have to wait for steps to be cut into the new formed ice, then move on and wait again, lots of people got frozen just waiting. We opted to kayak lake Mapa.... and through the lagoons to a piece of Rainforest that is so protected it has never been touched by humans. It's thousands of years old and kiwis still live there (as NZ's 70 million possums can't reach them!!) Beautiful in the pouring rain it was atmospheric and shades of grey. Photoes are on a CD so they will follow later.
Arthur's pass was pretty uneventful apart from the kea bird, a form of parrot that has learned to entertain the humans to get food, it solves puzzles too and can unlock boxes, unscrew locks etc.
On from Franz Joseph to Makarora, a one pub, one shop hicksville beside a beautiful mountain. Duing the karaoke night we met the natives who congregate in the bar every night, just like they do in the tiny towns in Scotland- one girl who has lived there a year now, is from Thurso- exactly the same place but with better weather. She has no plans to leave.
We did, and the next day we travelled back westward to Queenstown stopping on route to witness, but not take part in a bungee off a bridge. Awesome, if you like that kind of thing.
Queenstown is a busy, beautiful wee city. Set on lake Wakatipu , there's a paddlesteamer takes you round the lake, or you can kayak. In the 1860's gold was discovered and the place was swamped with prospectors who used Chinese navvies to pan the alluvial gold. Queenstown, and Arrowtown (these days historic village) with a Buckingham street were the places in NZ thought good enough for the queen (Head of state in NZ) to live in- that's right not to visit but to live here. So in anticipation of her majesty Queen Victoria living here, they gave the place regal names. This place is definitely fit for any queens. Swim in the lake, try any sport, perfect weather- lovely holiday town. Don't forget the wine and food, superb!!

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20th February 2012

What an amazing start to your trip! Looks like you're really having fun. Haven't heard of many of the places you've already visited. Looking forward to next installment.

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