•December 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment
As we continued our journey towards Queenstown, the place where it’s all happening, we had a stopover by Lake Wanaka. The drive to Wanaka was very scenic, and we first stopped off at Lake Matheson, an absolutely breathtaking Mirror Lake. We did a short 40 minute walk to and from the Lake and I swear it was the coldest temperature I’ve ever experienced before.
After our short walk, we waited in the cafe for Matt & Paul to return from their skydiving. We watched their dvds in the bus, Paul aka Pigeon’s was hilarious as it was close up on his face, and you could see his cheeks flapping about during the freefall… mental note – don’t buy the dvd if the camera is attached to your instructor’s wrist… it’s just embarassing!
We stopped off at a couple more places of interest, including a beach where we saw dolphins swimming, and some waterfalls and mountains. Then we arrived in Wanaka and I was reunited with Becky & George after having been apart for around 10 days which was really nice.
•December 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Down at the Hiking Centre first thing in the morning, we were given out kit for the day. This included a waterproof jacket and boots complete with crampons. Although we were told that it would be warm on top of the glacier (go figure?!), I wasn’t taking any chances, so I had come dressed in about 7 layers. Turns out it was pretty warm on top the glacier, so I had to lug around my layers all day! We started our trek to the bottom of the glcaier, which took an hour alone to reach. Then we split up into groups of around 10 – 15 and we were each given one guide. I was in a group with some of the girls: Sam, Roxan & Emma and some others who weren’t on Kiwi Experience. The hardest part of the hike was the first section, where we had to climb about a million steps which had been created previously by our guides. As we reached the tops 0f the stairs, we began to see ice holes tunnels, made by sun melting away at the ice. Around 12pm we stopped for lunch, Sam and I discovered that we had blisters at the back of our feet caused by the boots, so we had to plaster ourselves up before heading onwards. We went a little further uphill, and by 2pm Sam & I were so ready to turn back down again as we were in so much pain from our feet. We only trekked for another hour or two before beginning our descent, which was luckily a lot easier on our feet. However it did take us another hour or two to make it back to the bus and I think if I was to do another glacier hike again, I would opt for the half-day hike as we did not see an awful lot more on the full-day hike.
That evening, we had a quiet one in the hostel bar. Another Kiwi bus joined us that evening, s0 Matt, Liam & I went for a few drinks with a couple of the girls. We didn’t make it a late one as Matt was off skydiving again the next morning and had to be up at 6am.
•November 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Sorry everyone, I have been meaning to update my blog for sooooooo long, I had this slavedriver for a boss and she was making me work crazy, CRAZY hours. I didn’t get to my bed till 6am some nights, she’s a nightmare… tell you about that at a later date though!
So, back to New Zealand and the West Coast….
We arrived at Lake Mahinapua late afternoon, and with not a lot to do there before our fancy dress party, we headed off to the beach with a few bottles of vino. We headed back for dinner, which was prepared for us by the hotel owner, the lovely Les and our bus driver, Dodgy. We had a huge backpacker’s feast for only 10 bucks, with steak, potatoes, pasta, bread, veg, it was amazing! After dinner we changed into our costumes. The theme of our fancy dress party was ‘The Sea’, which was soooo difficult to do! I had decided to dress up as a Mermaid, which went terribly wrong. As a tail I had decided to wrap tin foil around my legs, with the help of my dorm buddies Roxan & Paul. Roxan did an absolutely fantastic job in making my tail. Unfortunately I could hardly move. I had to do a funny jump thing to walk, getting down stairs was impossible and I could not even sit down. So my costume stayed on for approximately half an hour before changing into normal clothes. We sat around playing cards, drinking beer and listening to possibly the worse jukebox ever! By 1am everyone was drifting off to bed. Then someone suggested going out to the Lake (as we hadn’t actually seen it yet and it was meant to be stunning), so 4 of us decided to talk a 10 minute walk in the pitch black to try to find the lake. It was bloody terrifying!! You couldn’t see a thing in front of you!
The next morning we set off for Franz Josef, where we were spending 2 nights. We stopped of for a quick walk to see the Glacier from afar. What was supposed to be a quick 20 minute walk and back actually turned into an hour for Matt & I, as we kept walking wen we should have turned back. The Kiwi bus left without us, and we had to (rather embarrassingly) hitch a lift from one of the Glacier Hike Tour Guides back to meet the other guys!
That evening after grabbing a bite to eat in the very nice hostel bar, I headed to bed at an early hour with a migraine. The next day we were doing a full day hike of the Glacier so I wanted to be fresh in the morning for the long day ahead of me.
•September 13, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Nelson Lakes National Park
Upon leaving Nelson, we first stopped for a walk in Nelson Parks National Park which was absolutely beautiful, just like a postcard picture. The landscape was perfectly mirrored in the sparkling lake. A couple fo the lads decided it would be fun to take a dip (bearing in mind how cold it gets in a New Zealand winter!), which was rather amusing for the rest of us. They literally jumped into the water and back out again! Once we arrived in Wesport, most the bus went jetboating while a select few stayed in the hostel and chilled out by watching a movie. That evening we all went to the local pub, and, as per usual, watched to boys play pool (I have seen more pool games in New Zealand than I have the whole of my life!), had a couple fo drinks and back to the hostel for an earlyish night for our early start the next day. En route to Lake Mahinapua we stopped off at some what would be lovely scenery if it hadn’t been raining, including Cape Foulwind (where we saw a seal colony), and then Punakaiki Pancake Rocks & Blowholes. Then we had an hour to buy our fancy dress costumes for the legendary Poo Party at the Lake Mahinapua Hotel happening that night.
•August 20, 2008 • Leave a Comment
Me & Chesnut
We set off early from Taupo to head to the middle of nowhere, River Valley. The weather had hit here too, the bus before us had not been able to get through and had to divert into Wellington. When we arrived there were fallen trees all over the roads as a result of the storm. Here we had the option of doing white water rafting in a Grade 5 river, but as the rain had upped the water levels it was unsafe for rafting. Me, Becki and George decided to go for a horse trek in the Rangitikei district, taking in beautiful scenery of the valley. My horse, Chesnut, was a lazy boy and wasn’t up for much trekking but after some encouragement from our guide he finally started to move. That evening after dinner the 2 Chris’s, Justine, Claudia, Dan & I decided to play a drinking game called ‘The Ring of Fire’. A deck of cards is laid out in a circle and each person in turn picks up a card, each card having a different meaning. We played with 2 decks of cards so the game lasted a good few hours and by bedtime we were all very merry, especially me!