Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Last Days in NZ

Hey, well our time in NZ has basically come to an end. From White Island we drove up the coast and stopped off at some small towns along the way and ended up at the bay of islands in the far north. Ideally we'd have done a boat trip but we didn't have much time or money left so we just drove around and went swimming and sunbathed a bit. Yesterday we drove to Auckland and got rid of our car, 5600Km worse off than when we got it (We only had it 21 days, do the maths on that one!) Auckland isn't the most exciting place in the world so we've done a lot of walking around, went to see Munich last night (Pretty good film) and went over to Devonport on the ferry. Tonight we're going to the -5 bar which is carved out of ice and you have to put on thick clothes and drink vodka out of ice glasses, sounds fun. Tomorrow we get up at 4am! and fly to Fiji. We're scheduled to be there a week but it seems to be raining a lot so me might go to California a bit earlier. Only a month left now, i'll be back with you all before you know it!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

North Island

Kia Ora (Greetings and good health in Maori)

It appears that my blog is not worth commenting on unless i put up various pictures of suze and I in ridiculous poses so perhaps this post will fare better than the last.

So here are some photos which relate to the last post, firstly the gorge at Hokitika

Here is me in the smallest BMW i've ever seen at a car museum in Nelson, the windscreen was also the front door.

Next up is split apple rock in the Abel Tasman

We spent our two days in Wellington before heading north to Taupo, the cheapest place in the world to skydive. Both Suze and I jumped from 12000ft. I'd already done a jump in the Czech Republic but this was Suze's first jump and she was scared on the way up but euphoric after. Jumping for the second time is cool because you can take in the sensation of freefall better as the first time it's quite overwhelming and you find you can't remember it. What was also good about jumping over Taupo was that you could see the volcanos used as Mt Doom in LOTR

Here is Suze after her jump

From Taupo we headed up to Rotorua, the Maori cultural centre of New Zealand. We went to a Maori show and saw their weapons, songs and dances.

We also went Zorbing where two of you climb inside a huge rubber sphere and slide down a hill with a load of water in the bottom of the Zorb, it was fun! You can see one in the background here

Today we visited white Island, one of the world's most active marine volcanos. we took a 2 hour boat ride out to it and walked around, it was very cool.

And that's all for now, we have 4 days left in New Zealand, we have to be in Auckland in 2 so we have 2 days free which we're not sure what to do with but we've already spent our budgets here so whatever we do will have to be Cheap! If anyone wants to pay me for all the entertainment this site brings you i'm sure we can sort something out!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wine Tasting

Hey there, after our long drive up the west coast we did another long drive across to the East coast and stayed a night in Kaikoura where one can go whale spotting. However the weather was rubbish and we decided it wasn't worth the cash so we headed up to a small town called Renwick which is in the heart of New Zealand wine country.

The next day we hired bikes and visited 7 different vineyards and got free wine tastings at all of them. We were getting 6 or 7 small glasses at each place so needless to say our bikes got progressively more unsteady as the day progressed. We were drinking 12-15 pound bottles of wine from one of the best places in the world for white wine so it was all very drinkable. It would have been nice to stay longer really, there were 41 vineyards within 5km of our hostel and we only managed 7 but we had to press onwards to Nelson and the Abel Tasman national park.

Yesterday we did a quick 7 mile hike in Abel Tasman. Upon arrival it was raining and we feared we might have our first rain-off of the whole trip but fortunately it cleared up. We took a water taxi up the coast and then walked back along an elevated coastal track which occasionally ran along the coast but also showed a preponderance for going inland. By the time we finished we were knackered though suze wants you to know she did very well!

From there we drove to Picton where the ferry to the North Island goes from which we caught this morning over to Wellinton, the capital. Today we explored the town a bit and met up with a couple we trekked with in Vietnam which was cool. We're going to take the north island a little slower than the south so tomorrow we're going to spend another whole day in Wellington, craziness!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Zealand South Island

Hello, my sincerest apologies for this ridiculously late blog. Basically the internet in New Zealand is a little behind the times and many cafe owners enjoy locking their computer in a wooden box so you can't play with the insides, but i've finally found a vulnerable one so let's begin.

We flew into christchurch many eons ago (About 2 weeks) and stayed 2 nights, it was quite pleasant and had quite an english feel to it with punters boating down the avon river and such like. We visited the college where Ernest Rutherford did his early work and saw an interesting aerial sculpture. Unfortunately both of us were feeling rather ill and the lingering after effects still trouble us but we battle on, for you!

We have hired a car, a thrilling 1.5L Toyota Corolla no less which we've already thrashed for 3000Km as you read this and it's going to get plenty more yet. Our first stop outside christchurch was Akaroa, a quaint, slightly french town (the french landed here first but the Brits kicked them out when they came back, hoho) We ate pastries.

From here we went over to Lake Tekapo which had a nice little church on its shores. The lake was a wonderful turquoise colour from dissolved rock (That was all in one day)

Next we went to see Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand and then off to Oamaru to see two penguin colonies, the ultra-rare yellow penguins which climbed up the cliff and came within touching distance and the smaller blue penguins which we had to find in our car.

From here we went off to Dunedin which was mostly uneventful though it does have the steepest street in the world, Balwdin street. I climbed to the top and found a bench and a drinking fountain, how thoughtful!

From there we headed along the southern scenic route through the Catlins to Slope point, the southern most point of New Zealand, possibly the furthest point from home for us, we weren't sure. (Can someone work it out, what's the furthest point from guildford and if it's not in New Zealand what's the nearest place we'll be to it)

We also saw nugget point which was quite beautiful.

Arriving at the other end of the scenic route we got to Milford sound which isn't really a sound but a Fiord and a stunning one at that. We took a 2 hour boat trip around it and drank loads of complimentary coffee/tea.

From here we went to Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of new zealand. Unfortunately adrenaline appears to cost around $200/hr so we contented ourselves with racing each other on the luge and checking out the great scenery from above the town.

Heading north from Queenstown we arrived at puzzling world in Wanaka which had some cool exhibits including this weird room and a giant maze which took suze and I 45 minutes to solve.

Yesterday we did a full day walk up the Franz Josef glacier which was great, we walked through an ice cave which was predicted to melt within 3 days.

Today we raced up the coast to see the pancake rocks of punakaiki and the glow worms of hokitika (no photos of them i'm afraid, too dark)