Friday, January 18, 2008

Queenstown, Wanaka, Franz Jozef, Hanmer Springs, Kaikoura, Nelson, Wellington

I went on to do a Bungie Jump over Kawerau River in Queenstown after. Was absolutely terrified as any of you who did the Sydney bridge climb or Inca trail with me will testify. The worst part is mentally throwing yourself off the bridge. Thankfully I had assistance in willing pushers.

Also the Luge on the mountain above Queenstown was great craic. It's like tobaggoning or go-karting with gravity as the engine. 5 trips was the default amount but we ended up doubling it to 10 goes.

We headed for Wanaka after Queenstown. The main attraction here was Puzzling world but the first day it was a bit too puzzling after stopping in a winery outside Queensown on the way. The next day this place was very good. They had these anti-gravity rooms where up was actually down. Weird, definitely to be tackled with sober heads. You get really dizzy in here with nil drink in you. The maze didn't really suit my patience levels but I got out of it after climbing 2 fences and climbing under another. There are no rules in warfare. Caroline and her mother got out of it long after myself and her father. More on Puzzling World here:
Puzzling World

After Wanaka we headed for the Glaciers of Franz Jozef. Myself and Caroline did Ice climbing on the glaciers. Very good but is very hard on the arms but that might also have something to do with technique. carolines parents were due to do a helihike but bthat was cancelled with the weather so they headed off quadbiking. It was amazing to see a Glacier.

After 2 nights here we headed off to Hanmer Springs to the thermal springs. Unbelievable heat to occur naturally. I think the hottest spring was 39 degrees. Nice but it was the water slides that really appealed to me. These were great sport. I was like a child in a playground.

The following day we did the short trip to Kaikoura to go swimming with the dolphins. This is by a long shot the highlight of the trip. The photos give you some idea but they don't do justice to what we saw. We got up at 5 to go out to see the Dusky Nosed dolphins. It was amazing. At some points there were dolphins within a foot of your face. They're nocturnal animals so they were just after feeding so were in great form. Who wouldn't be after a great feed.

After this we were heading north to Nelson while Cariolines parents were going back for Chrischurch so we would have to go back to backpacking after living in 2 bedroom apartments for the last 2 weeks. Nelson was nice. Very laid back. Museum here was alright but not much to it. We headed for Picton that evening to head for Wellington. The cruise through the marlborough sound was very impressive although watching the Christmas hour long edition of Coronation Street ruined the karma. Wellington looked a fairly happening place and we'll spend another night here. Will head for the Te Papa museum, the Beehive and Government Buildings today.

Our itinerary for NZ is Tongariro Pass(on Mark Carrolls recommendation from his blog)- Lake Taupo - Rotorua - Bay of Plenty - Auckland - Bay of Islands including Waitangi. Any advice is welcomed.

Here are some photos anyway:
Queenstown, Franz Jozef, Hamner Springs, Kaikoura, Nelson

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