NZ Adventure Part 2

Trip Start Dec 07, 2008
Trip End Aug 09, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ki ora again!

Welcome back to the second part of our NZ Bertha Adventures.

When we left you last at the adrenaline junky town of Queenstown, we were about to embark on our sky dive experience.  Strangely enough we slept very well the night before, I thought I would be wrecked with nerves, but the guy who took me on the hang-gliding said the you have to "control the fear" and basically that's what I did.  Whenever my stomach started to go, I told myself I'd be fine.  So, at 8.30 we headed off to get kited out and took off in the tiny tiny plane...

My tandem guy was great, he showed me all his gadgets and what they meant, pointed out the different mountain peaks, all while I was sitting on his lap.  It felt strange to be sitting on another man's lap being manhandled but then think how Phil felt ha ha, actually don't, think about the poor chap who had Phil sitting on his knee ha ha!!

The view was spectacular with blue sky our luck was still prevailing.  Now I'm not saying I wasn't nervous at all, my stomach was still doing the bit, especially when the time came for the first person to jump.  He was only doing it at a measly 12,000 ft. though.  Phil and I were doing the "ultimate jump" at 15,000 ft.  Well the way I see it, if you are going up you might as well go the whole way!  Probably the scariest part was seeing Phil go.  As we said our good byes and good lucks its very strange to watch your husband being pushed out of a plane!!  My instructor held my hand and helped me with deep breaths, I told him he'd be a great mid-wife if his career every fails!  And there we were, sitting at the edge of the plane, looking down on 15,000 ft and rocked one, two, threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

OMG!!!!!!  Not only are you free-falling for 60 seconds you are plummeting to the ground at 200kph!!  I cannot tell you how much that hurts!!! My ears killed and my mouth was flapping more than a door in a windy barn!!!!  At that point I wished I hadn't paid for a cameraman to film my most beautiful moment ha ha.  Unfortunately I didn't realise but my poor husband falling before me was feeling sick the whole way down :-(  But it is an amazing feeling and surprisingly it doesn't feel like one whole minute, it all goes so fast (no pun intended!!!) and next thing you know your parachute is open and your gliding to the ground.  Being a cool instructor, he gave me the reigns to the parachute so I could guide myself to the ground, really wicked!!  Especially when he got me to do spins.  And then it was all over.  I couldn't hear a sodding thing when I got to the bottom and Phil couldn't stand up as he was going to be sick, he really was green!  But a  fantastic time was had by all and a MASSIVE thank you to Martin & Brona and Desy and Heather for this memorable wedding gift.  (We thought we would only thank you afterwards when we were safe on the ground ha ah!)

Courtesy of the above relatives we were also able to treat ourselves to a real meal (instead of campervan food) and we had a mouth-watering Steak n Guinness pie with a pint of Guinness of course!  Thanks guys we had a really fantastic day!!

But it was farewell to Queenstown, which I would recommend to anyone, and off we continued our travels up the west coast to picture postcard place called Lake Wanaka.  By now you would think that we would be getting sick of these lakes but every single one is stunningly different.  So we parked up and had our sarnies in the sun (still out...cant believe it), fed the ducks and then headed to Puzzling World, which really is just puzzling...I lost a few hours of my life confused about things (but I suppose that's not too unusual!!) Then we got ready for the nights entertainment...a night at the cinema, although this is something else...lounges, big chairs...even a car to sit in.  Its like sitting in your own living room watching a movie (minus the car of course).  You can even order your dinner for the movie and then its given to you at the start on a tray with your beer, what more could you ask for? (naturally we snuck our beer in!).  The movie was a bit pants (Angels and Demons) but we loved the experience anyway.

With the sun still shining we headed north to the infamous Glaciers of New Zealand.  Now its sunny but man it is cold!!  -7 degrees at night, -3 degrees in the morning.  Even the condensation on the inside of the campervan freezes at night and the contents of the loo too!!  These are what we call sleepless nights :-)  We took a very funny video of just how cold it gets in Bertha (below), don't let the sunshine in the photos fool you!!

Anyway Phil and I had to separate :-(  Only the second day in 6 months!!!!  Weird!!!  But only one person had bought us the Glacier wedding present and one person for the Machu Picchu trek.  It was a pretty easy decision though as Phil wants to trek when we get to Peru and I wanted this one.  So decisions made we were off on our separate ways.  Although I wasn't on my own for to long as I met a girl that Phil and I helped get her van out of a ditch the day before :-)

Woohooooo my present rocks  - BIG THANKS to my new parents-in-law, Harold and Jackie - it was such an amazing day!!!!!  So what was the present?? A "Heli-Hike".....translation....a helicopter ride to the top of the Fox Glacier and then a two hour hike through the most amazing, fantastic, unbelievable ice caves!!!!  It was mother nature at her best!!  I really can't describe or give justice to these caves.  Some caves you could easily walk through, others were so tight your bum was lucky to get in.  It got you in all shapes I tell ya!  Some of them the guides had to go first and drill in some rope hand rails, as it was so slidey that you would fall into a hole, which I very nearly did (photo of me hanging on for life!!)  Loved it, loved it, loved it!!!!  I took over 100 photos of ice, ridiculous but amazing.

And that's not even the helicopter!!!  That was awesome (Jo I've succumbed)!!  I flew over a glacier!!  How cool is that?  You really can tell it was a highlight of my trip can't you?  Phil on the other hand opted for the much cheaper all day glacier hike....7 hours eeeeeeee!!  But he loved it too, made some American buddies (shock horror boys I know) and had a great time although he was well  and truly shattered by the end of it.

Unfortunately we spent such a long time on the west coast that we didn't have time to do the North (although I don't think we were missing out on too much).  Instead we decided to bomb it straight across back East and spend our last day on the skiing slopes.  Phil had never skied before and has always wanted to (but its a tad expensive in Europe). I, on the other hand, skied in America and never wanted to ski again in my life...many people know my "having to get rescued off a mountain" ski story!!  However I couldn't let little Phi do it all on his own so off we went to Mount Hutt and booked ourselves in for a day.

A massive thanks to Ciara, Kirit & Dimple for this brilliant wedding present!!  Skiing is unbelievably cheap here and you guys managed to pay for all our equipment, ski clothes, day pass and 2 x 1.5 hour lessons as well as transport there and back.  How fantastic is that?

I was apprehensive to say the least as my last memories of skiing involved lying on the ground in a pair of jeans, sliding my way down on my bum!  But this time we had the best ski instructor who instilled a lot of faith in us.  I'm impressed both Phil and I only fell once in 6 hours!!  We were right speedos by the end of it doing all our twists and turns.  I kid you not, the teacher said Phil and I were the top students - whoop whoop!!  She said that we were that good she was going to take us onto the blue slope (which isn't usually allowed) but then the fog rolled in just as we were about to leave and literally everything was white that it became too dangerous to ski anywhere.  Shame as we would've kicked some behind on that slope...but it'll have to wait until next time.  (If you new of my phobia you would be shocked that I'm actually saying there will be a next time, but we enjoyed it so much).  Thanks again guys for more amazing memories.

So that's it!!! Boooo hooooo!!  We leaving on a jet plane out of NZ.  We have had an "awesome" time and would wholly recommended anyone to visit the south Island.

Strange things about NZ...well more a case of where we slept:
Hoons!!!  Our equivalent to Joy Riders!!  They are a nightmare to campervanners. As most people (including us) cant afford to pay $30 every single night on campsites, we do what's called freedom camping (camping anywhere we can).  However, this is scary business.  Pretty much all campers we have met have been woken up in the middle of the night by "hoons" rocking the campervan, shouting abuse, banging the windows and basically scaring the bejeepers out of you in the early hours of the morning!  This of course happened to us too.  I decided that I actually had less fear of jumping out of a plane that hoons, that shows you how bad it is!
Sleeping in a car park outside of a Catholic Church.  I figured someone offered Mary a manger, so she wouldn't kick us out for the night!  We slept very well that night :-)
On a stormy peninsula up a mountain ( see previous story of nearly toppling over oops!)
Sleeping in someone's back yard!!  Honestly we met a lovely lady in a shop called Joan who offered us her back garden to sleep in, as there had been something on the news about hoons that day. Bless, not only did we sleep there but she brought us in for a beer, which went on to wine, progressing onto soup and then a slap up meal! Quality!  On top of all that she brings us in for porridge and toast the next morning beside a roaring fire.  The woman's a saint....and makes up for all the meanies in NZ.

Lots and lots and lots of love
Katrina and Award Winning Dancing Phil xxxxxxxx
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