Trip Start Jun 30, 2004
51Trip End Feb 14, 2005
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Crazy new maps have just appeared on my travelogue.
As I said before, Queenstown is really cool. I have met too many cool people and plenty of Irish women, so no complaints. The town is really tiny, probably about half the size of Farnborough. I've spent most of my time here wandering around, taking in the scenery which is toooo cool. Its a complete hippy town, but different from Ocean Beach in San Diego, which I also considered VERY relaxed. The sun has been beaming everyday. So with 'The Remarkables' (Like the Alps, but not!!) 5 mins drive away, this massive lake and clear blue skies, this place is just sweeeeeeet!!! Apparently Michael Douglas and Sam Neil have houses here, not that I give a monkey, but thought I would mention it, as this places pulls in a lot of people. The world's first ever bungy jump is 2 mins drive from the town centre suspended above the Karawara river, though now its dwarfed in comparison. Though you won't catch me anywhere near them. I am a water man. It's a bit too cold to go scuba diving here, so I have opted to go white water rafting.
This is one of the many things that I have wanted to do since forever. It was good value and the company that run it have won loads of awards and stuff. The drive to the top of the river goes along the scariest road I have been on yet called Skippers Canyon. There are 2 roads in New Zealand where you are NOT covered for car insurance and this is one of them. Its made the ride very interesting and I spent whole ride there guessing how many centimetres we were away from death. So.....rafting. It was cool. There was loads of quiet periods, where we just rode the river and looked around the canyon. Yet again, this is another place where something was filmed from Lord of the Rings. Then we started hitting a few of the rapid parts. Awesome!!! Some dude in the front of my dingy went overboard at some point and was stuck under the boat. But he loved it, and clambered back into the boat, happy, swearing and now a funny colour. The water temperature was like 1 degree. The guide said that we all had to go overboard, I did reluctantly. Cue the look of horror as I slowly went blue from feet upwards. During this brief period of being reduced to a complete retard, we went into more rapids, whilst I was still hanging onto the side of the boat.......turning blue!! My head get bobbing under the water and I smacked my ass on a rock (water isn't too deep). Now where did I put my piles cream? Went through a massive tunnel and probably about 10 rapids in total before finshing with a big one and having cheesy photo's taken (I can't upload these). So yeah, I could do that all day....if the water was imported.......from Fiji.......and heated.
So we eventually move on. Go off to a place called Milford Sound, which is on the west coast. Only 170 people live there. Arguments are now daily in the van as living with 3 strangers is taking it's toll. For the first time on this whole trip, I didn't think we should have gone to Milford Sound, with a limited number of days left. And we were going back on ourselves to get there, but I was outvoted, so off we went. We had to drive through some amazing mountains and the drive to Milford, turned out to be amazing (eats words humbly). We past many signs pointing out not to stop as this was a avalanche area. Sweeeet!!! We did actually manage to see one as well. You could hear it rumbling in the background, though it looked like ANOTHER waterfall from where we were standing. Ha ha. You have to drive through a tunnel cut through the mountain to get to Milford. The whole point of going to Milford Sound was to go sea kayaking, which we didn't even get to do (which made me even more annoyed). The other guys went on a tour of the sound for nearly $60 for a 3hr boat trip, but I stayed in the van, annoying the wildlife with my guitar and singing. Bumped into a guy that we met in Queenstown who is travelling New Zealand by bike. Maybe I'll do that next time. He said it's boring on his own. I beg to differ.
More arguments have followed as it seems that we are visiting EVERYTHING suggested in the guidebook, which the girls look at daily(not me at all), but no-one seems too aware that we have just over a week left to get back to Auckland. So I am bored of putting in my 2p's worth. Plus the fact that Mark argues with everyone daily and purposely pisses everyone off. What a dick!! So now everyone, but me (i have my 'I told you so' head on) is panicking, as we are now cramming in places and doing a lot of driving. Popped in Invercargill on the south coast for 5 minutes, but spent most of the day travelling. Apparently, we are going to Invercargill because the road there is scenic. Er.....so is the rest of the country?? What about every stretch of road we have been on so far?
So yeah. The rest of the east coast is a little un descriptive as we spent most of it driving. In all fairness, most of this side is farmland, so there is not too much we are missing out on. Pit stops have been made in Dunedin, where we stood at the foot of the world's steepest street. It was kinda cool. It must be a bugger if you live at the top and funny enough, there are no cars parked up it. At the side of the street, the pavement has been turned into steps. The same can be said about Christchurch and Kaikoura. Most of the time, popping into the towns consist of getting food for the van, checking e-mail, doing laundry, showering, etc. The road on the east does wrap around the coast, so we are seeing a lot of the beach despite the weather turning out to be a bit shitty. Also popped into a winery in Blenhiem to find out how wine is made. That was pretty cool and interesting, and it was only $10. I ain't a wine man, but I sank a bit of it before we left. Cue the headache in the van. So then we are in Picton, where we crossed over into the South 18 days ago. Nearly missed the boat, as our van was the only one outstanding.
If anyone ever comes to New Zealand, PLEASE GO TO THE SOUTH ISLAND FIRST!!!!!!!!! It's beats the pants off the North Island (with its 'smelly egg' towns), the scenery IS REALLY THAT COOL, and it has Queenstown, possibly one of the coolest places on earth.