The cold South West

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July 18th 2006
Published: August 25th 2006
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Puzzle WorldPuzzle WorldPuzzle World

Great fun

The road from Fox to Wanaka had been cleared so was open in the morning. We set off with the aim of getting to Wanaka that day. I think I have fallen in love with this Country already. Every few kms down the road there are more beautiful sights to take in and different landscapes to explore.

We stopped at a place known as Blue Pools. This involved a nice short walk through the forest and over a small suspension bridge and along a walk way. The pools were not blue that day due to the heavy rainfall over the previous days but they were still lovely and with a little imagination you could see what they would look like in the summer. One of the other stops we made was at Thunder Creek Falls. There are so many falls in NZ ranging from little ones along the road side to great big roaring ones.

We arrived at Wanaka and after finding the camp site we ventured into the town to buy some lunch and have a look around. It is such a picturesque town, right on a lake and surrounded by lots of mountains ranges and is
View from HostelView from HostelView from Hostel

What a view from a Hostel, never expected this!
famous for being a gateway to the ski fields. I have never skied before and would have liked to have tried it but it was just not in our budget so we had to give it a miss. There were lots of other people that had blatantly been on the slopes, many dressed in trendy ski gear and most cars sporting roof racks. After stocking up on supplies we just stayed in the van and watched a DVD that evening.

We had booked up to do the Jet boating in the morning. However the weather was not on our side and the trip was cancelled! Was quite gutted as it looked great fun. We knew that it was possible to do it in Queenstown (next place on our adventure) but it was more expensive. So instead of doing that we visited Puzzle World. What a fun place!!! Basically it has an outdoor maze where you have to navigate your way around with the goal of locating the four corners. Now this really did not appear to be hard in the beginning and we found the first two corners with ease. We went down hill from there. After finding the
Bungy siteBungy siteBungy site

This is the bridge Thommo and Mon jumped off! 43m high
two remaining corners with a bit more of a struggle we tried for ages to find the exit!!!! In all the excitement I had forgotten which way we had gone. We went up the stairs, down the stairs, back to all the corners and in the end we managed to get out of there! The other part of Puzzle World consists of illusions and a room that is tilted so that you lose balance quite easily. It is a fun, activity filled place even for big kids like us!

We decided a while ago that we would stay in a hostel in Queenstown, mainly to facilitate meeting fellow travellers and partly because it would be nice to get out of the van for a few nights. We found a lovely hostel right on the lake front that also had off road parking for the van. When we checked into the dorm we met Monique, an American travelling and working in NZ at present. (Hi Mon, hope Christchurch is treating you well?). Anyway, we hit it off straight away and after talking about our adventures for a while it turned out she too wanted to do the bungee jump that
Thommo Thommo Thommo

Before the jump
Thommo was so excited about. So they decided to go for it and do it the following day. That evening Monique and Ryan showed Thommo and I around a few bars and clubs in the centre, ended up shaking our stuff on the dance floors. It was a quiet night though and the bars were not that busy so we didn’t stay out too late. Which was a good thing as the bungee jumping was all booked up to take place the following day.

Thommo drove us four up to the bungee site. There was a bit of nervous banter on the journey and you could feel Thommo’s and Mon’s excitement. I really wanted to do it but think that my back would have given me major pain for putting it through something like that. So after hanging around for a while Ryan and I witness them both hurl themselves off the bridge and into the canyon. Monique was fist then Thommo followed shortly. It was great to watch them do it and it just reconfirmed my thoughts about my back. We got to see quite a few people jump and some of them looked like it could really
Me on jet boat rideMe on jet boat rideMe on jet boat ride

All wrapped up warm!
jar. So although I was gutted I missed out on the rush I was pleased I had made what I consider to be the right decision.

Queenstown is another lovely place, again right on the Lake front. It is similar to Wanaka however, it is larger and more expensive but is still a gateway to some ski fields and has a large number of young people wanting to party. It was quite chilly while we were there so we were pleased about forking out for a hostel.

That afternoon we went to do the Jet boat ride we had booked the previous day, but there were not enough people to do it so we went to Starbucks for a tea and then went back an hour later. There were loads of people there, enough for two boats in fact. So we got the chance to be freezing cold for an hour and hold on tight whilst being whizzed in 360o turns. It was an awesome ride though and would love to do it again! Afterwards we went out with Monique and Ryan again, had to celebrate the bungee efforts! This time it was busy out in the town,
Thommo and MeThommo and MeThommo and Me

At the beginning of a night out.
it was the Friday night after all. Again we shook our stuff on the dance floor and after consuming lots of shots of a cocktail from a teapot we were all quite merry. It was a good night and enjoyed by all I think.

The following day we had to recover from our night adventures. We went to sleep in our van in the hostel car park while we waited to be able to check in for another night. When we finally checked in we showered and chilled out some more after dinner. We wanted to see Pirates of the Caribbean two that evening but were two late to get tickets so instead we watched Final destination 3.

After checking out we walked up to the Gondola to go on the Luge. The gondola ride up to the top was quite good as the view just got better and better. The funniest part though was sitting on the three wheeled luge car and just leaning back, flying down the hills and nearly falling off a few times. I had trouble getting on the ski lift! I have never been on one and although it is easy I just
Thommo, Ryan and MonThommo, Ryan and MonThommo, Ryan and Mon

A lot later on in the evening! Quite drunk!
didn’t turn around the first time so kind if just of pushed out of the way! Thommo found it quite funny! Exclaiming loudly ‘Haven’t you ever been on a ski lift!’ It was great fun though and we acted like excited kids the whole way through the five rides.

That afternoon we set off to travel towards Te Anau. When we got there we were just in time to check into the camp site by the lake. After some food and a spa we settled down for the evening. In the morning the weather wasn’t good, a heavy fog had set in but when we enquired in the camp office they checked the weather in Milford Sound it turned out to be nice so we booked a boat trip. From what we could see of Te Anau it was a nice place, situated on a lake.

The drive there was amazing. After we got out of the fog the views were fantastic, lots of mountains. There are quite a few places to stop off along the way. The ground soon become snow covered but the roads were pretty clear until we got through the Hommer Tunnel. The snow fall had then been heavy and we pasted lots of men and machinery clearing and maintaining the road. We got there in one piece and had had enough time to stop off at viewpoints including the Mirror Lakes. There is a stretch of road for about 17km that you are not permitted to stop during as it is prone to avalanches!!

Once there we had a drink in the café and then after a short wait we walked over to the terminals and boarded our nature trip. The tall boat was called the Fiordland Navigator. It was quite luxurious and not full, so there was plenty of space to move around and get good views. This boat goes a bit further than some of the other tours and we even got to some dolphins swimming alongside the boat. We learnt a lot that day about the discovery of the sound and some of the history surrounding it. We also saw quite a few birds, all of who’s names have totally escaped my memory. After the trip we headed back down the road with the aim of getting to Invercargill that same evening.

Onwards to Invercargill….

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21



View from up on the Luge
Me on the lugeMe on the luge
Me on the luge

It goes really fast if you let it! Got the hand after a few rides!

Nice quiet place but worth a visit. Loasds of old buildings from gold mining days
Night SkyNight Sky
Night Sky

On the drive from Milford Sound to Te Anau. Seen some lovely skies here.
Pink SkyPink Sky
Pink Sky

New camera is must better than old one but still getting used to all the settings!
Mirror lakesMirror lakes
Mirror lakes

Beautiful place
Water fallWater fall
Water fall

So many of them around the sound.
Me on the BoatMe on the Boat
Me on the Boat

In Milford Sound. Sunny day but chilly too!
Can you see the rainbowCan you see the rainbow
Can you see the rainbow

So close to the rocks!
Frosty startFrosty start
Frosty start

The morning on the way to Milford Sound.
Monkey CreekMonkey Creek
Monkey Creek

NZ has a avst number of creeks, most of them with funny names too!

25th August 2006

Hope youre a little warmer now. Looks superb countryside xxxx
12th October 2006

Catching up on some light reading!
Hay my lovely, sorry Ive been pants at reading catching up on your exciting adventures now. Wow that bridge looks uber scary *shakes in boots* Enough cold weather bring on the sunshine xx

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