Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The end of New Zealand (for us at least)


So since I last posted I think we've racked up around 2,000Km, a lot of petrol, a fairly decent hangover and some police interest. We have a lot to catch up on. :-)

I thought I would start today's blog though with a few pictures which we wanted to put on last time but couldn't...................

This is me in our attractive van!!

Some bubbling hot mud from Rotorua!

At the really nice Indian restaurant we found in Rotorua.

Kelly punching the punchbag at the cinema in Auckland. :-)

The sun shining on Auckland Harbour.

OK, so on to what we've been doing lately.................

We started in Dunedin, which I really like. I had an amazing time there last time I was here where we accidentally stayed out until 7am partying, however this time it was a bit more sedate. We got into our hostel but as it was a Monday night we just went for a wander around the 'Octagon', which is the centre of Dunedin. I couldn't help laugh every time someone said Octagon, which those who know Anchorman well will understand. For those that are not Anchorman fan, it doesn't matter. haha. We went for a nice meal in an Italian restaurant and wandered home. I discovered that I really liked Speights Ale and Kelly and I both discovered (again) why we don't usually order the 'house wine'.

After Dunedin we headed to Queenstown which I was looking forward to as I have a friend there from Sydney and we could stay somewhere for a few days and not have to be up and on the move again every day. The first thing we did was organise a coach trip to Milford Sound, which we enjoyed a lot, although it was a pretty long day! We were picked up at 8.15am and didn't get home until 9.15pm. We saw a lot of amazing scenery on the way though, and got a boat trip out on the Sound where we were followed by both common Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins. They are really playful creatures who followed the boat around and jumped out the water etc.

The next day we finally had a sleep in and a day to relax. We went out that night with Niki (aforementioned friend from Sydney I worked with before) and some friends of hers from Queenstown. It was the first day of the Queenstown Winter Festival, so we had some music, fireworks, drinks and dancing to celebrate. It was a really good night and much needed break from driving around all day every day from place to place. The next day however, my love-affair with Speights Ale was well and truly over. It was horrific. Somehow Kelly managed to escape the hangover, while I thought I was going the same was as Jacko!! I finally managed to get out of bed around 3pm and we headed off to Queenstown gardens to play some Frisbee Golf. Apparently it's a tradition in Queenstown, and it was quite fun. I finished a fairly lame 9 over par, although I'm blaming the previous nights excesses for that performance. We finished the day off with a 'Ferg Burger', another Queenstown tradition, it's a great little burger place which does fantastic food! It certainly cured the hangover. I wanted one about 11am but Kelly wouldn't go and get me one, I think she liked to see me suffer!

On Sunday we drove from Queenstown to Franz Josef. We stayed there for one night and took an hours walk to the glacier there. You can do an eight hour walk/hike up the glacier which is really hard work, but good fun. I've done it before so wasn't that desperate to do it again, and for those of you that know Kelly, you'll know that it's not really her 'bag' to walk up a glacier for 8 hours. So as I said, we walked for about an hour to the base of the thing before heading to our hostel.

The next day shall from now on be know as 'Unlucky Day'. We woke up, got ready to head off north but realised that our campervan had a flat battery. One of the internal lights was left on all night. I would like to blame Kelly, but I think I vaguely remember doing it myself. Anyway, was a bit of a disaster, but we soon got it jump started. We were heading for Westport and while on the way Kelly managed to pull out from a junction in front of a man in a jeep and then shout at HIM! Her outrage at him soon shifted to the police officer who stopped her for speeding no more than 5 minutes later though. She was stopped for doing "62Km/h and speeding up" in a 50Km/h zone. I have some sympathy for her on this one though as I was done for exactly the same when I was in NZ 4 years ago. It's because as you drive around, you do about 200Km at 100Km/h and then you turn a corner to a 50Km/h sign and the police sit there waiting as you slow down. I'm sure I wasn't speeding last time so I think it's just a scam by the NZ police to make money from backpackers, because it's not like you can argue with them. Anyone else who's driven round NZ been caught like this?? :-)

We got to Westport and soon realised that it's a bloody awful and depressing place, so we thought we would just keep going to Nelson. We drove about another 3 hours and arrived in Nelson around 10pm and found a hostel. And this is where I am writing this blog from. So there you have it, the last week or so condensed into a blog for you guys.

We just today booked some accommodation for Fiji, we found a 5 star (yeah right!) resort doing a special offer so have booked there for 7 nights. I have to say I am really looking forward to just chilling out for a week or so in the sun and relaxing after driving around for 3 weeks in the freezing cold, even though I think NZ is a fantastic place and would definitely come back again.

So until next time, which may well be from Fiji in a weeks time, hope everyone at home is well.


P.S. Here are some more pictures we have taken along the way. Enjoy....................

A picture of the mountains from Milford Sound.

Upstream from 'The Chasm' - a stunning part of river on the way to Milford Sound.

What a traffic jam in New Zealand looks like (or a Welshman's Dream, take your pic!) :-)

A cute little seal we saw around Kaikoura.

The Haka before the New Zealand v France match.

A rock formation known as 'The Pancakes' due to the way the rocks are built up. Can anyone else see the beaver in the picture??

The lake at Queenstown. It's a really gorgeous country!

Kelly demonstrating a poor technique at frisbee golf.
Kelly and Niki being particularly rude on our night out.

The fireworks to mark the opening of the Queenstown Winter Festival.

That's all folks. :-)