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The Big Trip. Stephen, Laura, James and Sinead head for an epic adventure: 17 weeks in South America 8 weeks in New Zealand 2 weeks in Fiji 11 weeks in Australia 14 weeks in South East Asia.

Sweet as....! South Island N.Z

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 5 October 2009 | Views [2233]

(Sweet as is a phrase we hear every where in N.Z, every one says it and it means, cool, great, excellent sometimes it means yes or thanks or your welcome etc. )

New Zealand is all it’s cracked up to be! Amazing scenery and non stop adventure…! The south Island is definitely the more beautiful of the two and we can now see why so many people kept telling us to spend the majority of our time here. Just about every activity that you think of is on offer here and so we planned to do it all in New Zealand. We got quite a few activities ticked off the list on the north island. Our first stop was Abel Tasman National park on the north of the Island. After our taste of kayaking in Brazil were wanted to try it again so we decided to take a full day kayaking trip in the Abel Tasman marine park. The park is absolutely stunning, with beaches of golden sand, lush green forest and the clearest water. If you didn’t know any better you’d think you were on some tropical island somewhere. We kayaked 15km along the coast and saw Seals, Penguins and huge starfish. It was great fun but I hurt my wrist about half way through leaving Stephen to do most of the paddling which he wasn’t to happy about.

After enjoying a few days of sunshine in the north we set off for the Franz Josef Glacier on the west coast, making a few stops along the way. In Franz Josef we decided to be a bit naughty and splash out and do the heli hike on the Glacier instead of the normal hike. It was a bit pricier but we think it was worth it…! The helicopter ride up the glacier can only be described as one of the most amazing sight we have ever seen. The glacier looked so small from the air but when your walking around on it you realise how huge it really is. We hiked around on the ice for over two hours, climbing up and down, through caves and tunnels of blue ice… really cool! It was all going great until Stephen posing for a pic put his foot in the wrong place and ended up almost knee deep in ice cold glacier water. haha. His toes were pretty cold for the rest of the day. We only realised later that night in the pub when we got talking to some people who had done a glacier hike as well that day how lucky Stephen really was. They said that a girl in there group hadn’t been listening when the guide was telling them not to walk and ended up chest deep in ice cold water…!

Our next destination was Queenstown. On the way here we stopped in a town called Wanaka. Beautiful town but not much to do so on our first night we headed to the cinema… not a normal cinema, this cinema shows all the films a normal cinema would show but instead of normal cinema seats this cinema has an array of mismatched comfy couches and chairs for you to sit in. It even has an old convertible VW Beatle people can sit in. You can have dinner in the cinema, wine, beer etc and freshly baked giant choc chop cookies at half time interval… it was the greatest cinema ever (Lisa, Mag, Sandra if ye are reading this ye would love it..).

The lads also went clay pigeon shooting here… but they managed to not hit a single pigeon between them ha-ha. How crap are they!? Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand and the first ever bungy jump was done here so as you can imagine it is big business here and there are loads to choose from. Myself and Sinead had already decided that even after the skydive there was no way we could do a bungy, even looking at the promo videos I felt sick. Stephen and James on the other hand had spent much of our time in New Zealand trying to talk themselves into it. But in the end fear won out and we left Queenstown with not one bungy jump between us. We’re big chickens aren’t we…?? We did however do a jet boat, which was a bit extreme and left us a bit sore for a few days after. We thought we should learn a little about the Moari culture before we left New Zealand so we went to see a Maori cultural performance and enjoyed the luge one last time.

A cruse in Milford Sound is apparently one of New Zealand’s biggest tourist attractions so we thought we should give it a go…. It was a bit crap! The drive to the sound through the national park was nice but the cruise itself was very underwhelming. After this we spent about a week driving around the south coast then up the East coast. We spent our last weekend in Christchurch. We all loved this city. Its beautiful. Its got a great atmosphere, cool parks to hang out in (We were lucky enough to get great weather) good bars and some serious shopping. With Fiji only a week away we all needed to update our wardrobes in a bad way, not that I needed the excuse to go shopping. The shopping in New Zealand is really good and so cheap so some of us went a little overboard and now have some very full backpacks and have had our credit cards taken from us (Me) for our own good apparently …!   

The last activity on our list was whale watching. We headed to Kaikoura. After three days of rain and cancelled whale watching tours we had no choice but to give up and leave in order to make it back to Auckland for our flight. So disapointing! Now we have a very long drive back to Auckland to get our flight to Fiji on Friday. We are spending two weeks in Fiji which we cant wait for. We are dying for some sun and sea and all the other great things that go along with tropical islands! Backpacking can be pretty stressful believe it or not so I think its time for a holiday from our holiday. Enjoy work everyone and we’ll be thinking of ye when we’re lying on the beach sipping cocktails in Fiji…!    

Tags: glacier, heli hiking, kayaking, milford sound, south island, whale watching



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