In the Middle of Middle Earth

Trip Start Nov 13, 2007
Trip End Oct 08, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, August 8, 2008

through snow, sun and rain i made it here to dunedin where its so bitterly cold that im actually wrapped up more than i would be at winter at home.  but its still incredible.

before i continue on the blog i do need to make a few small announcements as im seriously beginning to feel like a travelling bridget jones with all the news of romance and imminent patterings of small feet back home!! you guys are saving all the great news & excitement for when i am away!!!

firstly, and huge apologies that this wasnt included earlier to sinead and michael!!! congrats on your fab news - im so pleased for the both of you - charlesland will soon be basking in the glow of a Baby Slater - yay!!

to sue and tadhg - congrats on the fantastic news, im so pleased for you both and what a romantic day it sounded like - but please dont get married until i get home!!

and finally to grainne and dave on the incredible news - that was one way to make me fall out of bed at 2am when i got your text!!! am so thrilled for you both and cant wait to catch up in lanzarote

right anyway here i am in dunedin and its LASHING rain outside so im settling in for a nice night infront of the fire watching the chinese pretend that everything is okay with them as they put on the show of their lives.  im kind of torn, half of me wants to boycott it after everything thats happened with tibet etc etc but on the other hand if anyone will put on a once in a lifetime spectacle itll be the chinese so im curious to see how incredible it really is.

new zealand so far has been absoultely out of this world, and with the exception of the rain today ive been blessed with the weather given the fact thats its the middle of winter.  infact i think the only criticism i have of the country so far is that the green man only stays on for literally about 3 seconds when youre crossing the road and then its flashing red already - whats that all about im wondering, do people sprint across the  road here?!?!

in christchurch afew mornings ago i was picked up by (a very very cute guy from) the rental company who took me out to their place to collect my car.  there was some confusion as to what model i had booked, they tried to give me an ancient mazda with no CD player and over 150k on the clock.  i pointed out i had defo booked the next one up, a toyota vitz.  their system said otherwise but luckily cos they werent busy i was able to get the one id really had booked.  so it was back on the road again in a slightly smaller and slightly less cool car than my corolla but it still gets the job done.

first stop was lake tekapo and the lovely YHA there which is right on the lake.  incredible views, incredible sunsets and the place was half empty so there was only me and one other korean girl in the room.  i got some nice sunset pics and went for a bit of a wander before cooking my very first hostel dinner of mash, sausages (you cant get proper pork sausages here either actually, thats another criticism - they only have weird "beef flavour" processed things or super-massive pork ones - i opted for the latter.)  next morning i went for a quick visit to the church of the good shephard which is right on the lake shore - i doubt anyone in that congregation would be listening to anything, theyd be too busy staring out the window!!!

after that it was on to aoraki / mt cook (you should never write the english before the maori) stopping along the way to get some pics of where the Plains of Rohan (LOTR) were filmed as well as some pics of aoraki in the distance.  i was so so blessed with the day as you can see from the pics - visibility as far away as you can see so as soon as i got to the (most scenic in the world) hostel i booked a snow flight where they bring you up over the glacier and then land up in the snow.  you shouldve seen the TINY TINY plane but like the nazca lines, these things have to be done so up we went. such a great idea, the views were simply breathtaking and it was so much fun landing up in the snow.  based on that great experience i booked in another night there and spent yesterday wandering the tracks round by the glacier lake. it was another smashing blue sky sunny day so i wandered up to the blue lakes, the viewpoint and then right down to the lake edge where you could take bits of glacier (very small bits) out and see they way there really is 7/8th's under the water and how its actually made up of loads of honeycombs of ice rather than a big sheet.   i actually think that al gore mentioned the tasman glacier in his an inconvenient truth cos the big sign said that 30 years ago there wasnt even a glacial lake, just some sinkholes. and now theres a huge lake.  global warming is a scary thing

and then this morning i realised just how lucky id been weather-wise as i woke up to pretty much zero visbility and SNOW!!! (not loads of snow, the kind of snow we'd have at home back in school and everyone would rush to the window to see was it sticking so we could go home and then it wouldnt so we'd have to stay in schoool.)  kind of like that only it did stick.  so off i went again through twizel (where most of the crew for LOTR were based for the filming) and on across here to dunedin.  the weather turned quite nasty along the way - lashings of rain and howling winds-  though what would you expect as you head closer and closer to the antarctic!!!

so thats about it from me.  im typing against the clock here as i want to put up some photos aswell.  thanks for all the mails from everyone - always great to hear from you all. 

missing you all lots & lots & will actually be home in about 10 weeks (!!!!!) so cant wait to see lots of you again soon.
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