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While Roaming II

April 15th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (1 Comments)

Just a few more random pictures taken while touring with Danny and Janneke on the west coast of the south island, from Franz Josef to Wesport and on up to Abel Tasman National Park – too many places to name separately.

As you can see from the photos, every day brings a new scene or area to explore, keeping us busy and contented always.  We have been surprised that so many travellers feel satisfied having toured for only four weeks, we could have spent three months in the south island alone and not discovered or explored enough.  I think the no. of posts uploaded is a true reflection of how much we are enjoying our time here – some 25 I believe!

My favourite pictures are of Danny and I jumping in the lake – we only did this for the photos – and the water was ice ice cold.  I didn’t see my testicles again for at least a few days!  Sam’s favourite is of us driving through a river.  The water level was deceiving and Danny convinced me that it would be a great camping spot the other side. Instead of walking over and having a look we drove – my heart was in my mouth when the rocks at the bottom were pounding the underneath, I immediately thought the sump and our $2000 deposit were a goner – Danny nearly pissed himself laughing. 

Wouldn’t you know it, when we got to the other side it was crap and we turned straight back to do it all over again.  If you look closely you’ll see Sam holding her hands to her face, but on this occasion she was the one that said we should go for it, so I did and thankfully we had no major problems other than a few new irritating noises.

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Franz Josef Glacier

April 11th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (6 Comments)

The early Maori knew Franz Josef as Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere (Tears of the Avalanche Girl).  Legend tells of a girl losing her lover who fell from the local peaks and her flood of tears freezing into the glacier.

Wow, wow, wow – the best activity we’ve done in NZ and possibly on our trip so far.  We took a guided walk and an ice climbing activity on the glacier.  Simply incredible.  We have done a fare bit of walking in NZ (we needed it) but walking on ice with crampons was a whole new experience and one we’d love to do again.

The ice climbing was the highlight but also the most strenuous.  A total of 8 hours inc. 2–3 hours climbing and 6 walking.  Danny (bless him) was the star of the show climbing to the top of each glacier wall with ease whereas I struggled at the end as the muscles in my arms gave way.  It’s easy at the start but once you’re vertical you have to pull your own weight with picks.  Sam and Janneke also faired pretty well and climbed to the top but only two of the 4 walls.  Although we were climbing pretty high we all felt as ease at the summit – just don’t look down!

The views on the glacier were incredible, which you see below, mountains and waterfalls in the background.  It was a little surreal given that we were walking on ice in temperatures over 30 degrees.  By the end we all had tired legs and sores from the hard walking boots provided but we still mustered the energy to open a bottle or two of wine to celebrate our achievement.  The memories of this experience will live with us for a lifetime!

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The West Coast Highway

April 10th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (1 Comments)

SH6 along the surf-pounded coastline proffers fine Tasman Sea views; so fine that Lonely Planet’s Blue List dubbed the West Coast highway one of the planet’s 10 best road trip in the world.

Slightly exaggerated by the Lonely Planet but still an awesome scenic drive making you want to be stop every 10 minutes.  We only took a few pictures as we were trying to make some ground but they gives you a flavour of how beautiful the West Coast and the surroundings are.

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Panning for gold

April 9th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (2 Comments)

Just outside of Queenstown we stopped off at Arrowtown to try our hand at gold panning.  With some luck we could have extended our world trip by another year, or more!  It wasn’t to be!  However, gold flakes are found on a regular basis and just recently a guy found the biggest nugget in over a hundred years, 8.8 grams, worth around 5,000 euro which he sold on ebay for an undisclosed sum.  The location of the find was also undisclosed – the cheek!

Arrowtown sprang up in the 1860s following the discovery of gold in the Arrow River and since became one of the richest rivers in the world.  Mass mining has long since stopped (for a very good reason) but the area still makes plenty of money from from tourists wishing to try their luck.  The town has retained around 60 of its original wooden and stone buildings and makes for a pleasant stopover for lunch or a browse through the shops.  We spent a good few hours panning and had a great laugh debating how we were going to spend our fortune.  The lady at the information centre wet her pants when we said we won’t be coming back for our $20 pan deposit.  Of course we did, with our tails between our legs and she laughed even more.

There is gold there and plenty of it, but not in big enough flakes to be worth any money; you can see the grains or silt glistening in the water.  There are so many metals in the water it’s hard to tell which is gold.  It sounds easy but it’s damn hard work.  For us it’s back to reality!

The drive there was also very beautiful.

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Beautiful Queenstown

April 8th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 12-New Zealand - (1 Comments)

Adrenalin rushed activities aside, Queenstown for us was the most beautiful town we have visited in NZ.  We expected it to be laden with with touts, untidy and just one big tourist trap – of course it still is  – but it has character, charm and a warm inviting skiing resort type of feel a with a cinematic background of mountains and lakes – need I say anymore.

While Danny and I went Riverboarding (previous post) Janneke and Sam signed up for a a kayaking trip but was cancelled at the last minute due to the weather and they ended up walking for several hours around the town, the lake and up a mountain and took these fantastic photos.  At the end they treated themselves to coffee and cream cakes – nice!

We could easily have stayed a week and done an array of activities like bungy, skydive, shotover jet boat, quad biking, rafting etc. but they were all well over priced and well outside of our diminishing funds.  It is easy to see why tourists flock to this great area.

 The Autumn colours in NZ are amazing.

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