More days on the bus and the Akaroa

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Feb 28, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, November 13, 2010

I wasn't sure on what to expect given it’s the party capital of NZ, but Queenstown is lovely. Surprise surprise it is set at the bottom of a stunning mountain range, the Remarkables and another blue glacier fed lake. The town itself is bigger than the small sleepy places we’ve been to, but is hardly a large place. We had a lovely couple of days wandering around the lake and parks, climbing up to a view point next to the skyline gondola (that certainly worked off the few G &Ts from the night before!) But no bungy jump – you must be mad to spent a huge amount of money to throw yourself of a huge bridge – no thank you!  

Milford Sound was next, I had been looking forward to this for months and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The bus journey from Queenstown is 4 hours each way, but the drive is, yes you guessed it, amazing! The Milford Track is known as one of the world’s best drives and it’s easy to see why. Fiorland National Park is a world heritage area and rightly so. The mountains, lakes, waterfalls and snow make for a fantastic trip. Our driver was also hilarious and very informative – thoroughly entertaining trip! But the best was yet to come. We boarded the boat and headed off for a cruise along the Sound (wrongly named as technically it is a fiord) it was beautiful! We saw lots of wildlife including some very rare penguins. We stopped at an underwater marine observatory. They have managed to make a viewing deck 10 metres under the water. The fish were very cool!

The drive from Queenstown to Christchurch was long, but again it didn’t matter as there was plenty to see. My favourite part was our lunch stop at Lake Pukaki where we could see Mount Cook (NZ’s highest mountain) in the distance. We stopped at other lovely places like Lake Tekapo which had a beautiful old church next to it – lovely!

Akaroa is our next stop. This wasn’t part of the Kiwi Experience Bus but it has been so nice to break away from the commercial tourism and do things at our own pace. The drive over the Banks Peninsula was really cool. We had a bit of a geography lesson about how the peninsula was formed by violent volcanoes millions of years again. You can see the crater shape very easily on the way into the sleepy fishing town of Akaroa, which is a very special place. The weather here has turned recently and it is now so lovely and warm (hope November in the UK is nice J )We hiked up nearly 750 meters to get the best views of the harbour and the Pacific Ocean, it was worth the climb and a really wonderful walk (i can hardly move now) we finished the evening with fish and chips at the harbour watching the sun go down – perfect day!

Yesterday was probably the best day yet. The 28 degrees sunshine is certainly helping! We are staying in such a lovely backpackers, it’s pink! The garden has a lovely big hammock and is filled with flowers. It’s lovely to be in this tranquil place. In the morning we went on a dolphin watching cruise. It was wonderful. We saw lots of dolphins (Hectors Dolphins, the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins) They were swimming and jumping with the boat – we had a bit of a titanic moment! (no Leo sadly) The harbour is stunning the colour is just beautiful, i can’t tell you how nice it here. Luckily i have found a farm very close that i will be working on in December. This place is so I want to stay.

Katharine flies home tomorrow which i’m very sad about. We’ve had the best holiday together, but mum arrives on Tuesday which is very exciting! Looking forward to the next chapter in this wonderful adventure!

Given the sad news about my Grandma I’m feeling a little low so please send all your news it’s so good to hear from home.

Love Ax
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