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Published: March 8th 2008
Hi, sorry it's been a while, been staying in some tiny little town whose population of 3 haven't heard of the internet.
New Zealand is hideous, really unpleasant place to stay. The views are spoiled by these enormous mountains everywhere. Every direction, as far as the eye can see, just seas full of ugly seals and dolphins or mountains. I’ve heard a few people call them the Southern Alps to give you and idea of size. The public loos before every walk don’t have the soft paper, the bar last night left the door open so I got a cold chill and actually had to go and collect my jumper before I could enjoy my free drink. Also… umm struggling now. Oh yeah, my feet hurt.
Ok truth now, this place is everything I dreamed it would be. Stunning scenery, empty (not even seen many sheep), paradise. Also, everything here is designed for the adrenalin junkie backpacker. Been pretty busy in the last week, ticked off many of the things that everyone needs to do before they die. Have the scars to prove it.
28th Feb: Flight delayed, a lot. Seen the entire of Melbourne airport, admired the stuffed Koala
Standard view of the beach
16 times, watched a bit of the Steve Irwin video playing in every gift shop, joined the ever increasing crowd watching Transformers in the electrical goods store, (silly film) enjoyed ordering the most expensive thing on the menu in Starbucks to use up last of cash and the meal voucher we’d been given. Steak Pie, Caramel Slice, and a litre of tea. (most quite disgusting, but cost nowt) Wandered round a bit more, and starting talking to the stuffed Kangaroos. (not sure if that was boredom or madness, but they were answering back)
29th Feb: Arrived at the Hostel at 3.30am, woke the entire dorm, oops. Quite difficult getting undressed in the dark and climbing on to a top bunk when there’s so much crap on the floor, it would have been difficult to find the bed with the light on. Got woken up at 7 by the building site outside the window. Drilling the solid rocks for an hour. AHHHHH. When finally caught up on half a nights sleep, Had really nice wander round Christchurch. The Hostel is right in the middle of the main square. Festival of Flowers in full swing so the place had a really nice
carnival atmosphere. Christchurch is a charming little town. Reminded me a bit of Cambridge, could even go punting on the river. Impressive Art Centre with large collection of galleries in an old college. Will be back again in a week or so will explore properly then.
1st March: First taste of Kiwi Experience buses. Not exactly comfy. Packed full, but dragged out of bed so early North to Kaikoura. Stopped for photo’s above the city. Since snoozing on the coach, limited chance to enjoy the view till now. Wow. Went for a walk around the headland. Great views including wild penguins. Walking back up the beach, listening to Meat Loaf so in own world, look up and there’s a little group of seals on the beach. Awwww, soo cute.
2nd March: Very early day. Up at 4am, fell down the road while still dark. Not much to do today. Boat to catch, but few instructions to yawn through first. Bouncy boat took us down the coast. Then this evil woman kept pushing me into the freezing cold water. Still, can’t complain too much, the sea was full of dolphins. Gorgeous creature. So so cool. Wild dusky dolphins. Didn’t come when
Lots of Lanterns dotted about, animals and stuff
called so we had to attract them. Noise worked well. I’d Do Anything for Love worked a treat. (no they weren’t coming to tell me to shut up). I’d swim towards where I hoped they’d be, see nothing for a few minutes, then suddenly they’d appear out the gloom. Circling round me. Tried to keep up with them. Could see in their eyes they thought my feeble effort was quite funny. Amazing feeling to get so close to them in their natural habitat. Again, WOW.
Onwards to Middle Earth. Well, the centre of New Zealand, but same thing. Back on bus with wet salty hair, ick, (no time for shower) couple of hours on bus. Watched Black Sheep. Evil sheep take over the farm. Very funny. Anyway, headed onto Nelson. Nice enough town. Empty, but it was Sunday night (I think). Over looking the town was a nice little hill with a marker point signaling the centre of New Zealand. Couldn’t resist. Wonderful view from the top as well.
3rd March: Odd day, got dumped on a beach in the middle of nowhere. Given a map on which the bit we needed was 2 inches long. Barely any paths on
Look more impressive underwater
it. Many more to chose from. 6 of us had chosen a 2 day walk and kayak trip. None of us had a clue what we were doing. Wandered off on several tangents. One being Cleopatra’s pool, which was well worth getting our feet soaked an risking getting marooned for a nice waterfall. Isn’t very accessible, an we didn’t really know where we going when we waded in. Good fun though. Arrived at campsite to find our tent in a bag, with sleeping bag. I put up mine fine, looked pretty good. Then had to swap, the other 2 girls had been given a 1 man tent, maybe, was hard to tell. They made a feeble attempt to put it up, then nicked mine. Had quite a good night, bit cold, played with stove for a bit. Turned my salmon paste sarnies into slightly revolting toasties. Quick game of pontoon in the fabulous tent I’d put up. Had good debate about football. Had Villa fan, 2 Tottenham fans and some one from Sheffield who complained there wasn’t a decent football team in Sheffield. He he. Fellow Maths Grad from Shef uni. She also has no idea what to do with
her life, except see the world. Is it something about Sheffield, living there makes you want to leave England. Kidding, miss the place, and the people.
4th March: Tough day. Crap nights sleep. Cold, and I’ve gone soft. Couldn’t get comfy on hard ground. Need bed, or at least an airbed. The job for the day was to Kayak back the way we’ve come. Long way, and waves huge. Thankfully we weren’t allowed to do the full run. Waves way to high. Didn’t really want to drown. Headed for seal colony so a nice view. Had small problem on way back. Got sea sick. Being an unstable craft, I capsized, at the same time as being sick. Falling into my own sick hasn’t been the highlight of the trip so far. There are advantages to sea water, washes all your muck (and carrots) away. Felt very sorry for the bloke in the back of the kayak who had no warning before being dunked. Sweet bloke, still talking to me so can’t be too mad. Even though I drowned his wallet. Oops.
5th March: Nice quiet day today. Stopped at a gorgeous lake on the way
Seal on Beach
Wander round the corner and this just appears
down the West Coast. Had some spare bread so few a few ducks. Great fun, but then a huge black swan appeared and wouldn’t sod off. Lots of people laughing tell me to watch it’s wings. To be fair, it just lingered a bit too close. It was the cheeky ducks that were standing on my feet. Had a choice of several expensive activities later but opted for aimless (free) wandering round the tiny town of Westport. BBQ, cooked by bus driver, in the evening. Nice way to meet people from other bus. 2 Kiwi Ex buses running together, but we’re always half an hour ahead of them so not much chance to meet everyone.
6th March: Lake Mahinapua, nothing there. 1 pub/hostel. That’s it. Had nice walk to lake. Ok, not stunning, peaceful though. Till the blokes came to play footie, with tops off, stopped looking at the lake then. Beach great. Empty. Not a soul in sight. No one to get disturbed when I starting singing Bat Out Of Hell. Had party in the evening. The famous “poo pub party”. Fancy dress, using bin bags. I opted for the lazy option of a Hannibal Lector mask. Looked quite
cool, but not enough horror fans out there. Others went all out, and went for it with the alcohol. Opted not to drink much while away. Costs too much, and spoils the next day if you’re hungover. I also have been known to be a little reckless when pissed. Walked into the sea on last night Blackpool, I had spare clothes for next day, and could still see the shore. Bloke who followed me in didn’t have spare jeans, but thought I was going to drown. Sweet bloke, albeit dozey. You get the idea anyway. Staying off the evil drink. (mostly) Party ok, but can’t sing boyzone at top of voice when sober so drunks got irritating eventually.
7th March: Yay, no hangover. Enjoyed watching everyone crawling onto the bus, cowering away from the bright lights. Some still in fancy dress. First stop was a really odd museum. Started with a video showing how they catch and kill deer in New Zealand. Lots of bambi’s getting shot with top gun music in the background. Museum in small shed. Couple of possums (really cute) eels, and a big pig. Arrived in Franz Josef at luchtime. Quick trip to see Glacier from
a distance. Free time in afternoon so went to see Canavan’s Knob. Why not. Is just a hill, offering nice view of the coast and glacier. Night off with book. Bliss.
8th March: Great Day. Walked up onto Franz Josef Glacier. Knackering. Boots provided not quite fit, so starting dreaming of slippers. Too be fair, they got a better test than usual. Route to the glacier impressive enough. Waterfalls all other the place. River in the way so had to clamber up elaborate network of ladders and ropes into the forested cliff to reach the ice. Lots of steps cut into the ice to scramble up. Ropes to hang onto, but really difficult. Particularly coming down. Ended up on arse once. Thankfully where there was a nice run off, so fun slide. Had full days to climb up and down. Had to learn to walk again. Crampons felt very strange, wonderful as soon as I’d realised I could trust them. Particularly coming downhill when you had to forget you're walking on ice and trust your boots to hold you in place. Amazing experience.
Hopefully more of the same to come. Heading for Queenstown shortly. The home of Bungee jumping.
I’ll just be watching obviously. Far to dangerous. Internet should be easily accessible there, and in Christchurch again in a few weeks so will try to keep the blogs coming.
Oh yes, saved someone’s neck this week. Literally. Door on side of bus dodgy. Got within 5cm on cracking someone on the back of her neck. Very heavy, and sharp so could easily have done some damage. Caught it just in time. Ripped chunk out of finger so made good use of the first aid kit I’ve been carrying around for a month. Nice to know my reflexes still good after a month of crap sleep.
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