The coolest entry ever

Trip Start Jun 30, 2004
Trip End Feb 14, 2005

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Saturday, October 23, 2004

" I have to admit it's getting better, it's getting better all the time" - The Beatles

Ok, since the last few depressing entries, New Zealand rocks again. Big long entry.

One time, we are looking for a place to stay in Greymouth at 1:00am. We pitch on some verge at the bottom off a hill and set up for the night. When we get up in the morning, some woman pulls up in her car. We think we're gonna get a bollocking for pitching on some dudes garden, but this woman invites us all up for breakfast. Sweet!!! So we all wonder up to this woman's house. Its AWESOME!!!! She has this totally sweet house on a hill which overlooks a some rainforest and the sea. And all the windows in the house are massive (ceiling to floor) so they let in loads of light(exit geeky architect mode). She cooks us all breakfast and we all chat about stuff. I have to play some songs as a token of thanks, but 'my body's defect' gets her vote hands down. Damn that song is good!! Sue (the woman) tells us to check out these caves nearby. So we do. These caves are deep set in a forest and were originally used to mine for gold (still massive business here). So we are wandering around all these caves by torch and its just too cool. Like being 10yrs old again. We even see a glowworm and didn't have to pay $15 to see it. I'm caked in mud after brusing against the side of the walls. We go back to this woman's house, where we end up staying for 2 nights, where she cooked us dinner and was generally great company. The husband Geoff, mines gold for a living and brings home his days find, worth about $4500. Gold. In my hand. Sweet!! They have a son called Navare (pronounced N'var), who plays excellent piano for a 6yr old. Apparently, this isn't the first time they have had people living with them. They had an Israelie couple living with them for 6 weeks in return for them helping around the house and doing a few jobs here and there. It was just totally cool being pitched up in this woman's pad for a few nights. Man, travelling rules.

So we continue south, down the west coast of the south island to the Glaciers. These glaciers are super famous and a big tourist puller for New Zealand. The drive down along the coast was just amazing. We were pulling over (and still are) every 5 mins to take pictures. I've said it once, and I can say it again. THIS COUNTRY IS GORGEOUS. Driving through the mountains is just too cool and I need to get my jaw fixed from all the 'hitting the floor' its doing. So we get to Franz Josef Glacier. Sue is feeling a bit shitty, so she stays in town. Mark, Ulli and I begin the hike to the Glacier. Now I have to say, that I have been getting a bit sick of all the hiking we have been doing. I don't mind walking at all and seeing as I can't pass my sodding driving test, I might as well use my legs, but I don't want to have to walk EVERY SINGLE HIKE in new Zealand I mean, I lived in Wales for 2 yrs dammit. But the walk up to the Glacier front was absolutely brilliant. The hardest one we have done so far, easily the best, but was not any clear path. The path was across streams, rivers, across suspension bridges which hang over 200 ft drops above waterfalls, through lush rainforest (the rainforest and Glaciers co-exist in the same environment - the only other place in the world is Patagonia - Chile). There were no laid out steps, no handrails barring the walking up the side of a cliff. It was all about finding your own way. I loved it. Minimal human interference. It was just awesome and beat the hell out of the Abel Tasman trek we had done a week or so ago. Apparently THAT'S the walk to do. Paff. What do they know.

The Fox Glacier was a different matter. When all these places advertise doing Glacier walks, people are shown walking through Ice caves. Now we didn't get to do this, so I was disappointed in that respect. Apart from that, it was cool. There was about 12 of us with a really cool guide, walking up to and across the top of the Fox Glacier. I ain't gonna go into details of what a Glacier is, but is was cool. We all walked across the snow with ice clamp-ons and walking sticks. We were quite high up almost within reach of the clouds. I have to say on of the most fascinating things was the perception of scale on both glaciers. The Glacier pretty much runs between two mountains (in this instance). When looking to the mountain on the other side, it looked like you could climb it in 20 mins being as the detail was so big. But what looked like a stepping stone was actually a rock which would take about 10 mins to get around. I hope that you can see this from the pictures once they're up.

I'm also covered in mosquito and sand fly bites. The girls insistence on us sleeping and eating next to scenic lakes and rivers has it's downfall. I'M GETTING EATEN!!!. Seriously, I have bites all over my head, which now looks like the surface of the moon. The other day, there was this mossie on my arm sucking away as I'm looking in the wing mirror at all the food around my chops. The wing mirror is covered in spider web. I blew the little bugger off my arm in to the web, where this spider came from nowhere, wrapped him up in web and proceeded to eat him. That'll teach you, you little git!! There is now a daily ritual of killing the mossies and sandflies before we sleep (a long and tiresome process)

Journey continues on to Queenstown. The adrenaline capital of the world. Its not a very big town for somewhere that boasts such a luring name. There is a massive lake and Qweenstown is built around that. There is everything here from the highest Bungy Jump in the world (144ft), para this and para that, rafting, boating, biking, you name it. First things first, drinking. We end up in bar listening to some guy jam away on his guitar (I LOVE live music). This guy was playing all kinds of stuff, but we knew he had the rock in him and by the end of the night, he was playing Tool (sweet mother of all things good),rock band this and metal band that. I even got him to teach me a few chords to a song I've been struggling with for years.

Nuff said


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