NZ - Last Leg

Trip Start Sep 23, 2005
Trip End Jul 31, 2006

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Greetings from Auckland.

Sue and I have wrapped up our tour of New Zealand and will be flying to Bangkok, Thailand in the next few days. Here is the last of our New Zealand visit:

South Island - West Coast:
The west coast was very cool but pretty rugged. The water was very rough and there wasn't much happening on the West Coast. We did a lot of the touristy things like seeing Franz Joseph & Fox Glaciers and Pancake Rocks. We only took two days to drive the west coast and then head back across on the Ferry to the North Island.

North Island - Tongariro Crossing:
We finally got some good weather up in the North Island and were able to do the Tongariro Crossing, a 17km day hike through the Volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. We were up in the clouds for most of the day but managed to get a few decent photos before the clouds really closed in. The hike was very cool and very different than anything else we had seen in NZ. Instead of lush green forrest we were hiking in desolute red volcanic rock, it was pretty cool.

North Island - Whanganui River Trip:
This was my favorite thing that we have done on the North Island. This is a 4 day 122km canoe trip on the Whanganui River in the National Park of the same name. This river is suppossed to have class 2 rapids but we mainly laughed at all the rapids over the first 3 days as if they weren't rapids at all, much less class 2. Then came day 4, the map we had explained to us that we would be going over the "Big 3" rapids on the last day and Sue and I basically rolled our eyes.

Rapid One - we came into this rapid right at the "V" as you are suppossed to and was amazed at how big the waves were, these were big or at least WAY BIGGER than anything we had seen the previous 3 days. We got super wet, had to take 5 minutes bailing all the water out of the canoe and then moved forward.

Rapid Two - this rapid seemed to be a little bigger than the first but with Sue in the back steering, the master of the "J-Stroke", I thought I had nothing to fear. All of a sudden we had to squeeze between this HUGE rock and the mountain side when the rapids slammed our canoe up against the mountain not once but twice and as we came out of that one our hearts were pumping a little bit and again we were soaked. I'm thinking holy cow these are BIG rapids to be going over in a canoe.

Rapid Three - this was the biggest of them all and again we attacked this thing right at the "V". After we went over the first 2 BIG pressure waves I couldn't believe how much air we were getting, then I realized that we had a TON of water in the canoe and we weren't even half way through this thing. I was paddling hard but this rapid had other plans and the next thing I know I'm thrown into the river. First thing I do is come up and grab onto the canoe, then I check to make sure Sue is okay and I hear her in the back cracking up. Then she yells to me "GRAB YOUR PADDLE" as I had let it go in the capsize. Now the rapid is throwing us around along with the canoe and I'm trying to swim over to grab my paddle at the same time, hilarious! After a few minutes of floating down the river in total laughter we managed to get over to some rocks where we got situated before we finished out the rest of the day.

This was for sure the funniest thing that has happened on the trip so far and we have been laughing about it for the past week straight. Oh and I forgot to mention that the name of our canoe outfitter was named "Blazing Paddles", I love that name.

We got into Auckland yesterday and today we headed to the car market to sell our van "Old Gold". It took us 3 hours to sell it and we got back what we had paid for it, piece of cake! Since we had given ourselves 3 days to get it sold we are now going to try and catch an earlier flight to Bangkok.

Hope all is well and everyone is having safe travels over the holidays.

Love Timbo & Sue!


PS. Don't eat too much Bird this Thursday.

~Pictures will be up in a bit...
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