Weeks 21-22. The South Island and Goodbye New Zealand!
Hello everyone! We've just returned from our 11 day tour of the South Island of New Zealand. We had been told that the scenery was amazing and that it was very different to what we had already seen but I don't think we were quite prepared for how awesome it was. Here's the edited highlights:
We flew into Christchurch and stayed with Jason's friends The Mitchells who had emigrated from the Borders 2 years ago. They were lovely. They fed and watered us and started us happily on our merry way around the S. Island. (We forgot to take a photo with them, oops!...)
We headed to Twizel which is around an hour from Mount Cook. The weather was amazing and we couldn't believe - I know this sounds silly - how blue the water was. It was like cobalt from high school chemistry experiments all over again:
Not a bad view whilst driving:
We climbed up to the Tasman Glacier - but there is very little ice, more a muddy pool of water, hmmmmm
We then headed south to Queenstown - the adventure capital of New Zealand. We took a trip on the old steamboat TSS Earnslaw and the next morning took our lives in our hands and went river surfing. (Basically it's a 'sport' where you go down the river through Grade II-IV rapids on a boogie board rather than a boat.) We're only showing the before photos here. I was a gazillion times more frightened than when I jumped out of the plane at 12,000Ft.......
We then headed further south again to the farming town of Otautau to meet with Jason's family friends - John and Viv Hicks. They provided us with refuge from the river and some relaxing time in their lovely home.
Next we moved onto Milford Sound in the Fiorland National Park. We stopped by the waterfalls en route to Lake Marion before taking a boat trip on the sound.
Oh and a school of dolphins passed the boat as we were sailing and that was really special!
Here is the Lady Bowen falls with a ship in the second photo for scale. It was pretty impressive.
The next day we had a long drive up the west coast to Fox Glacier. En route the road was twisty turny and the weather was wild in parts:
We were compensated by the view from our motel:
The next morning we were up early for the half day 'fox trot' walk onto the ice of Fox Glacier. It looks really bizarre having this mound of ice next to temperate forest but it was beautiful!
We mounted our crampons and took to the ice:
After leaving Fox, we headed to Greymouth - an old gold mining town where we stayed the night. Next morning we stopped at the pancake rocks on the way to Abel Tasman.
That night we met Anne and Mike (who are here all the way from Bonnie Scotland) and their retro-cool VW camper van.
Next day we all headed into the National Park for a beautiful walk and a swim in the sea.
Leaving Anne and Mike we went back to Marlborough and spent a relaxing 2 days in a beautiful B+B in the Marlborough sounds. We visited the Allan Scott Winery, had a gourmet lunch and chilled out.
Yesterday we arrived back into Wellington where Pat and Celia were there to greet us for the last time. A slap up dinner at the harbour marked the end of our NZ adevnture.
We're now waiting on the shuttle bus to the airport and will be in Melbourne by the evening. Keep in touch and we'll see you all soon!
Lots of love Claire and Jason Xxx