Glaciers, lakes and extreme sports.............
Trip Start Aug 18, 2008
32Trip End Aug 17, 2009
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We went to Abel Tasman National Park which is a gorgeous place to spend a day. There are several hikes that you can do in Abel Tasman, we did the 12.4 kilometre hike, some of the hikes take five to seven days! To get to the national park we were brought by bus and then catamaran. It was a lovely sunny day with a nice blue sky. I didn't really know what to expect. We were told to bring our own food for lunch as there are no shops in the park.
We docked in Anchorage and spent a few minutes just admiring the view
When we were finished our walk we had a look at some wooden carvings. The person that did them made some of the musical instruments for the hobbits in The Lord of the Rings.
When we left Nelson we stopped off in Punakaiki to see the pancake rocks and blowholes. The tide was out so the blowholes weren't very exciting. The pancake rocks looked like a scaled down version of the twelve apostles in Australia
After spending a few days in the sunshine it was bit of a shock to the system when we got to freezing Greymouth. It was a compulsory stop over and there's not a lot to do there. We stayed in a hostel called Noah's Ark, every room has a theme of a different animal. Ours was a cow and it was really well decorated with cow print curtains, blankets, a cow windchime, cow ornaments and even some cows painted on the walls.
We stayed in Franz Josef for one night. It was bit of an action packed day for us. We arrived in the afternoon and did a half day hike up the Franz Josef glacier which was a bit of hard work. It stared with being told that we had to wear socks that they provided! We were kitted out in socks, boots, jackets, waterproof trousers and campons (spikes that go over the boots for walking on ice) for our hike. We were also advised to dress warmly with three layers of tops under the jacket!
The Māori name for the glacier is Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere ('The tears of Hinehukatere'), arising from a local legend: Hinehukatere loved climbing in the mountains and persuaded her lover, Tawe, to climb with her
The glacier is bit of an optical illusion, when it is within your view it looks very close but in reality it was 2.8 kilometres away. As we are travelling on a tour bus we have got to meet a few nice people and we were all doing the same tour. We were divided into three groups and so Jenny was with us.
To get to the glacier we had to walk through a forested area which involved a bit of climbing and crossing streams which resulted in being roasting but knowing you shouldn't take any of the layers off because it would be cold on the glacier. There were also a few large waterfalls that were pretty cool.
Before we started walking on the glacier we had to stop to put campons over our boots to help us walk on the ice. This made me feel like I was carrying around weights on my feet and so climbing the steps was just that little bit more difficult! The guide that had went ahead of us had to cut out steps for us with an axe. He also secured ropes for us to hold onto beside some of the steps as it was pretty steep. Even though the group ahead of us were only ten minutes ahead of us our guide had to shovel ice off the steps.
Being on the glacier was incredible, it's not something I can do at home
The next day we stopped in Wanaka leaving everyone that we had met on the bus. We stayed for two nights. Our hostel overlooked the lake and mountains, a pretty amazing view. We did our sky dive there and it was just a totally amazing experience. Neither myself or John had done one before and thought our first jump mayaswell be fifteen thousand feet - the highest you can do in New Zealand. We held off doing one in Australia because the highest is only fourteen thousand feet. I had managed to get a horrible cold so I was warned if I couldn't clear my ears I could do permanent damage to them!
There were only three of us jumping when it was our turn so the three skydivers, three professional skydivers and camera people all got into a tiny little plane. I was really calm and collected while ascending in the plane
When we reached three thousand feet Eugene my skydiver pulled the parachute cord. When it was released we just sprung back up and Eugene was pointing out different mountains, lakes and a river to me. Then we were in the landing position and my feet touched the ground. Our landing was very smooth. It really was just a totally amazing surreal experience.
It was funny that we spent the morning freefalling in the sky and then we were back to reality making lunch and went to the local cinema in the evening
Katy and Dominique had been on the same bus as us a few stops beforehand. The day we left for Queenstown the girls were also leaving. The sun was shining in Wanaka with some eager sun worshipers sitting outside the hostel with no tops on! It wasn't hot enough for that!
On our bus journey to Queenstown we passed some Lord of The Rings locations, the pond where Gallum ate the fish. Franz Josef glacier was also featured in it for a second.
When we got to Queenstown it was freezing! We had somehow manged to book ourselves into a hostel that was up a lovely steep hill! Queenstown is a real ski town with lots of hostels, motels and hotels. From the garden in our hostel we had a lovely view of the lake and mountains. New Zealand just seems to be full of mountains and lakes because I am typing this I am yet again beside a lake! There are also gondolas you that can take up one of the mountains that get a lot of use during the ski season. We met up with the four lads that we were travelling with from Nelson until Wanaka. John and three of the lads, Chris, Gorby and Hishem all did the AJ Hackett Nevis bungy together
We all went out to Buffalo bar which is a great spot with an open fire, two for one drinks, good band and a great DJ. The World Bar serves cocktails in teapots and you have to drink them from shot glasses!
Still having a great time we are currently in Tekapo and I have just made a snowman!