Monday, December 22, 2008

Way down south...

Sunday Jayne came to stay. She was a friend of a friend of my cousins and as I'm staying at my uncle and aunts this is where she came to stay! We talked about her travelling south on the kiwi bus (she had a ticket on it already) and she asked if I was keen to go south. I decided it would be a great way to spend the week and see some of NZ that I love so much and see some great friends in Queenstown and see some new things as well! So Tuesday after having a filling put in at the dentist we headed south. It was raining as we got to the West Coast and Punakaiki was really not worth stopping at but we did anyway and got soaked in the process!! We drove on down to Franz Josef where we stayed in a backpa17122008766ckers, went to the new hot pools for a soak and then had dinner. Wednesday we went on a full day glacier hike up Franz Josef glacier. Our guide Tommy was awesome, we were in the fastest group so went more place and new places. Was cloudy and as we got further up the glacier we got right into the clouds and had heavy rain mist falling on us but the ice was awesome. A long but good day! Thursday morning Jayne got up very early and did a sky dive over Fox Glacier getting awesome views of Mt Cook and the glacier. We then walked to Lake Matheson but the famous reflections were not working that day and Cook had cloud over it too. Drove on down through the World Heritage Area that is South Westland and then across the Haast Pass to Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. Stopped at Wanaka and visited Puzzleworld. Next was the short trip up the Cardrona Valley and over the Crown Range and down into Arrowtown where we just happened upon carols being sung on the village green. We bought fish and chips and L&P and sat on the grass in the sun enjoying Christmas carols. After we walked through the village and then drove on down to QueenstownKJET812190134675 where we stayed at Lakeland Park--the camp I was manager of 3 years ago. Friday we got a free jet boat ride thanks  to Kawarau Jet a company started by the same people who started Lakeland Park. I had been offered a ride 3 years ago and never took it so it was now time to cash in! 60 minutes of fun in the big boat! Famous for its 360 degree spins the jet boat is very powerful and goes up to 86kmh across the lake and then up the river. We did plenty of spins and if sitting on the edge you can get fairly wet too! I was on the side for the first half but then managed to make Jayne sit on the side and the driver got her wet on the way back. Friday nite we met up with Jan and Vicki and their girls Holly and Alice. They were great friends to m e when I lived there and was great to see them again. Holly was singing Silent Night on the town green for xmas celebrations so we listened to that--she has an amazing voice. Enjoyed a Thai dinner together and then a great evening at Jan and Vicki's house talking with them--even had a fir20122008824e going!! Saturday we got up early hoping to fly into Milford Sound but due to cloud the plane was not flying. So we drove the 4 hours to Milford Sound-the scenery in there was awesome! Huge rock mo20122008845untains with waterfalls all over them and we wind in between them on the road before  descending through the 1km Homer tunnel and down to Milford Sound. It was even snowing on the tops! Took the 90 minute boat cruise past Mitre Peak and out to the Tasman Sea and back. When we got back to Queenstown around 7:30pm there was snow on the Remarkables (now known as the Incredibles) and Coronet Peak. After dinner we met some of Jaynes friends in town for some drinks and dancing. A late nite making us rather tired Sunday as we packed up and moved out. Went to the church I attended 3 years ago and caught up with lots of people. After lunch Jayne checked into a backpackers and I drove 9.5 hours back to Nelson. Was a brilliant 6 days, laughed loads, had new experiences, saw new places and made a great new friend. New Zealand sure is the most beautiful diverse country on this planet!

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