A Travellerspoint blog

January 2011

The theme was broken

until we arrived in Te Anau

rain 17 °C
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Today's a bit of a holding day. It's just a trip from Queentown to Te Anau where we overnight before heading to Milford Sound. The journey didn't involve rain! In fact, we sat outside at Manapouri and had a cup of tea and cake. Very English! The journey down here is best described as 'scenic'. It involves lots of mountains in differing ranges and as we sit and type this (using the free wireless connection we weren't expecting) we have a fantastic view of Mount Luxmore. It's just being viewed through the drizzle that started when we got here. The place we're staying is lovely though; our hosts friendly and welcoming. We're just going to 'hang out' rather than brave the weather.

Posted by neilthelr 18:48 Archived in New Zealand Tagged travel Comments (0)

The Rumble in Queenstown

Man & machine vs fence!

semi-overcast 23 °C
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The fence won! A day in Queenstown today. The outlook was gloomy so we put on a couple of layers to do our Segway tour. We had this vision of there being quite a lot of them around town but the two of us plus our instructor Chris were the only ones. Some people smiled at us whist we were going around, others stared like they'd just seen the wheel for the first time and others just laughed! It was good fun though and surprisingly easy to control, right up to the point where Neil was being too nice to a pedestrian, moved over slightly too much, collided with the fence and went over the handlebars. The result: a cut to the left knee, a large lump on the right shin, a scrape to the left elbow and right wrist, and a very swollen little finger on the right hand, which is black and bruised. All from a 5 mph crash; he’s been less damaged falling off a bike at greater speeds (don’t worry mum, I’m fine). He could nurse the wounds in the nice sun this afternoon though when we took the opportunity to sit by the largest lake in NZ (Wakatipu - it rises and falls 12 to 20cm every 27mins) with a coffee, some cake and enjoyed listening to the busker. Who could actually sing! The other up side was the ability to have a nice shower, Helen could have a bath for the first time on the trip (not her first wash though!!) and we could get a stack of washing done for free. Considering Queenstown is the adventure capital of NZ, we’ve taken the relaxed approach, choosing to chill and enjoy the town, which is nicer than expected.

Posted by neilthelr 22:34 Archived in New Zealand Tagged sightseeing Comments (0)

The Journey to Queenstown

And there’s a theme developing

all seasons in one day 20 °C
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We were supposed to be taking a flight over the glaciers and Mount Cook today but the clouds rolled in and stopped the plane taking off. That was a bit of a downer but we’ve re-booked for when we get to Mount Cook in the hope we have clear skies. The up side was we gained an hour back to do the 5 hr journey to Queenstown. We stopped on route to gets a few pictures of Fox Glacier and a fantastic waterfall just beyond Haast. From just after Fox Glacier it rained. Then it rained some more. And then a bit more. It does that every time we drive somewhere. Still, it brightened up by the time we got to Lake Waneka so we stopped for a few pictures there – it’s spectacular – and then continued on to Puzzling World for a bit of fun where we went through their various illusion rooms then did their 3D maze. We did it a lot quicker than average, but it took us 20 mins to get back to the start, which put us back to average! Rubbish. From Waneka we took the twisty mountain road to Queenstown, which made Helen feel sick. It’s a very alpine-like road with some great views of the Remarkables mountain range (one of the few mountain ranges that run north-south). We arrived in Queenstown quite late so dumped our stuff then walked in to town for dinner, during which there was a downpour so we were soaked but the time we got back to the apartments (they’re lovely) and took advantage of the tumble dryer.

Posted by neilthelr 22:32 Archived in New Zealand Tagged travel Comments (0)

Pass me the pickaxe

I need some more steps to get up that

sunny 23 °C
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Despite yesterday’s downpour and a forecast of rain, we enjoyed a lot of sunshine on our walk. We still needed our kit of waterproof jacket & trousers, boots and crampons, though for what our guide (Tom from Cheshire – we really can’t escape these Northerners/Brits) had planned for us. After a short walk through a forest, then the old glacier bed (sorry mum, I know there’s a technical geographical term for this), we went beyond the “Danger! Do not pass this point unless with a guide” sign. A tough half hour ascent later (I was glad Neil was playing packhorse) we got to the ice. We had about 5 hours on the glacier (thanks to Martin and Sarah for recommending the full not half day) walking up (and down) the ice, through crevasses and crawling through ice holes. The grand finale was the massive crevasse (in depth - but thin in width) that took 8 men 3 solid days to cut. A few hairy moments at times but we live to tell the tale, blister free but the legs are a little tired. An amazing experience (take a peek at the added photos) and we've certainly earned our dinner and drinks tonight. Tomorrow we have a plane ride booked to see both glaciers and Mount Cook from the air; a little easier on the legs!

Posted by neilthelr 03:08 Archived in New Zealand Tagged mountains Comments (0)

The New Zealand road trip begins!

Greymouth to Franz Josef

all seasons in one day 20 °C
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Franz Josef exists for one reason; the glacier. And that’s exactly why we headed there. Having picked up the hire car (Ford Focus – reassuringly familiar) and stocked up at a supermarket in Greymouth (food ain’t cheap here) we started the 2.5 hour journey to FJ. Like many football games, it was a journey or two halves. Half one: sunny, long straight roads. Half two: torrential rain (Cyclone Wilma’s fault again) and twisty roads. Joy! Thankfully, living in the UK has prepared us for driving in the rain so it wasn’t too bad. We arrived at our motel, stuck some washing on (some of our clothing could stand up by itself by now) and grabbed some of the local nosh at the Alice May (wiki her, she’s famous), which was nice and is run by one of her grandchildren. Helen’s wine was nice (shocker given where we are) and I tried a pint of Monteith’s Dark, which sounded like Guinness, but tasted nothing like it and won’t be getting a recommendation. The added bonus was being able to watch a bit of the England – Australia ODI (we won), but we headed to bed early in prep for an 8 hour glacier hike.

Posted by neilthelr 03:06 Archived in New Zealand Tagged driving Comments (0)

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