Trip Start Jan 16, 2013
Trip End Aug 18, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , West Coast,
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The South Island is amazing. Just driving along and looking at the scenery is something else. Even the ferry ride over was pretty cool. We were on this massive boat which also took cars, lorries and cows. The weather was perfect and the views of the Marlborough sounds were great. Also saw a few dolphins following the boat. Arrived in Picton and began the long journey to Kaiteriteri.

We planned to go on a walk around the Abel Tasman National Park but it cost $50 and we could only do a really short one due to the lack of people. Instead went for an early morning run on the beach, definitely out of shape. Got attacked by some birds, NZ seagulls are really aggressive. They fly behind me and go straight for my head but pull away at the last second. Really disturbs my rhythm.

Next stop was Westport. The plan here was to go surfing but apparently the swells were too big and the current too strong. Spent all of our time playing Lord of the Rings drinking games, very fun. Had another great drive to the next destination, Lake Mahinapua. Stopped for a nice coastal walk to see a colony of seals; reminded me of Cornwall. Also saw some massive blow holes which were awesome. The waves were crazy big so there was a ton of water spraying everywhere. One guy with a camera got completely soaked which was hilarious.

Spent last night in the middle of nowhere. We stayed at this hostel with an awesome bar called the 'poo pub', not sure where the name came from. Had a fancy dress party with the theme 'rubbish bags'. Best costumes were batman, penguins, salt and pepper shakers and mine - a rubbish bag. Just put on a bin bag and taped bits of rubbish to me. Very imaginative.

Winter has officially arrived. It is now so cold I can see my breath. Made toast this morning and it was steaming as soon as it was out of the toaster. Luckily Martin gave me a thermal and a wind jacket so I should be alright. Still need gloves though.

Had the best drive ever on the way to Franz Joesf. It was our first sight of massive snow covered mountains which were just awesome. Stopped at this cafe/museum which is owned by this guy called Possum Pete. It's officially a town but it's population is only 2: Pete and his wife. Watched a 30 minute video about deer hunting. They used to go up in helicopters and jump on to the deers back to take it down. The cafe served possum pie but it's not legal to sell it so it was free, however a $4 donation is suggested. Pete has a whole table of complaints from customers who can't take a joke. It was hilarious reading his sarcastic responses to some of them.

Currently in Franz Josef. Spent all morning walking around on the Franz Josef Glacier which is one of only three glaciers in the world which ends in a rainforest. Also the place they filmed the 'lighting of the beacons' scene in lord of the rings. We got a short helicopter ride to about half way up the glacier which was pretty scary. Not a fan of helicopters, amazing views though. We then spent about three hours walking around the glacier looking at the different ice formations.

We were all kitted out with about 5 layers, hats, gloves, boots and spikes because it was so slippery. It was absolutely freezing when we started but when the sun got above the mountains we were too hot. Got some pretty cool photos but my camera ran out of battery which was annoying.

Having a lot of fun with Kiwi Experience. Last night we had a limbo competition and tonight is karaoke night. Dinner last night was all you can eat pizza for $10 which is about £5. I must have had at least a dozen slices, it was so good. Next stop on the trip is Wanaka and then I have a week in the adventure capital of New Zealand: Queenstown. Looking forward to it.
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Martin on

Glad you are surviving winter down there and the clothes are coming in handy. I did a helicopter rid ein Wanaka which was great but also a bit scary too. I prefer planes i think.

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