Thursday, 4 November 2010

Catch up time! it APPEARS that I've not updated this since the day after we went ice-climbing...and that was about 2 weeks ago....woops! Sorry folks, will try to make up for it seeing as we've been given 2 hours and 45 mins worth of FREE internet, and have got a bit of time to kill right now...but be warned, I'm onto my second cider of the evening, so this may be a bit rambling and incomprehensible!
SO, after the climbing in Franz Josef, we drove through the pissing rain to Lake Wanaka, me sporting some pretty impressive blisters from my ice climbing boots. We were pretty sure the views on the drive were stunning, but for us it was all concealed by the tonne of water that was hitting the windscreen and misting up the whole landscape...but nevermind, it just added to the "experience"! However, when we got to Wanaka the sun was out and we were blown away by the stunning views. Pretty much all our favourite places in NZ were where there was a lake and a spectacular snowy mountain range behind it. Alpine views, you cannae beat them on a crisp sunny day : )
We "free camped" that night at the foot of the mountain range with our Spaceship-buddies (a couple we kept bumping into who were in "Icarus"). Was bloody freezing, cooking up our curry, but a few beers helped ; )
Next day we drove to Queenstown, stopping on the way to take a jet-boat ride, which is one of "the" things to do here in NZ as they invented the jet-boat. Was good fun, but to be honest, it was nothing compared to the mental speedboats we took in Fiji just to get around! And no life jackets in Fiji, adding to the thrill... Did I ever mention the church visit I went on one Sunday in Fiji? We had a local old lady on board who was getting a lift to the church too, and my god, this speed boat was crazy, crashing through the waves, flinging us all about, and there she was, cool as a cucumber in her Sunday finest, gently waving a fan and clasping her handbag...great fun!
Anyway, we rocked up to Queenstown, which was a great wee place. Went on a tour to Milford Sound for the day, where we had wild dolphins swim alongside our boat and stunning views. Again, the weather was perfect, whereas the days before the roads had been closed due to the rain: they measure it in metres there, 7 or 8m a year! The views and mountains were just unbelievable on the way to Milford: still snow-capped, so despite the dicey spring weather, I think we saw NZ at a great time of year : )
After much merriment in Queenstown, including 2 trips to the unbelievably good burger joint (Ferg god, you've NEVER had a better burger in your life, no kidding!) we drove toward Arrowtown, via the AJ Hackett Bungy...and yes, Christopher flung himself off a bridge! The train of thought had been, well Chris, I'll just drive you to it so you can have a look, and you can decide from there...but as we bumped into one of the bungy guys who happened to be from Livingston, Chris got bullied into it!!! But good on him: I could hardly even look over the viewing platform to take pics without feeling giddy! Thought he'd be totally elated by the whole thing, but think he actually traumatised himself!!! Poor lad, but hey, he got a free T-shirt out of it, so that's worth it in my book...though not enough to enduce ME to do it, no thank you!
Stayed that night in charming little Arrowtown, then it was off toward Mount Cook, where again the scenery was just immense: the water in the lake was bright turquoise like a swimming pool, with pines and the imposing Mt Cook behind, was just blown away! Sometimes you just look and look and can't really take in the beauty you're seeing...sigh...
Stayed the night at the foot of Mount Cook, cowering in our camper as the rain battered down and the wind threatened to rock poor Boba off his wheels! But we survived the wrath of the mountain, and moved on the next day to the ridiculously beautiful Lake Tekapo, where we went on a star-gazing tour up at the Mt John observatory, which was AWESOME. Looked through telescopes at Jupiter and various galaxies, and saw in unbelievable detail the craters of the moon : ) Perfect night for it, not a cloud in the sky, and no moon until the end of the tour so no light pollution from that either...
After Tekapo it was off to Christchurch, where we had to part with our dear campervan...and here I shall take a break, as my dinner has arrived and think my time may run out...back in a bit with tales of Oz and how we narrwoly missed decking some random man-child on a bus today...ooh, what a cliff-hanger, keep following people! x

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