We're Never Coming Back

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Day 137 - Fox Glacier


new zealand how I love glaciers...

There's not many words, sorry guys. Not this time. 35 quid to hike on a glacier for a day (good level of fitness warning ignored). And it was beautiful. Icy blue, craggy, magical. At one point, a chunk of ice the size of a house fell off the glacier and exploded against the ground, sounding like an atomic bomb. This place blew my mind. enojy the photos guys, and if these aren't enough, there's LOADS more here...






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Friday, September 29, 2006

Day 136 - Franz Josef Glacier

new zealand We spent the night in Westport - a cute village in the northern reaches of the west coast of New Zealand. After an early rise at 10 (ha! early rise - sorry you workaholics), we jumped in the laser and headed to the first of 3 stops on today 6 hour coastal road - the seal colony. FYI, the colony is located at Cape Foulwind. Yep.

The beach was nice, and the seals were CUTE. My personal favourite looked like it was dead, lying in the sun on its back, on a massive rock, until it moved its legs to stroke itself about 30 times. I love it when they do that. 10 minutes there, and the seals became a bit boring, so we jumped in the car and headed south.

This time, just 30 minutes later, to the Pancake Rocks. These badboys are a series of rocks which stick out from the cliff, around a massive blowhole (about the size of a small school). The rocks were pretty - very photogenic since the overload of photos on my flickr - and the wind off the ocean made the place a little bit magical. I trotted round the blowhole, snapping photos at every angle, and dreamt of being on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere, with no other tourists around to spoil the view. I wasn't - there were shed loads of them - but I can dream.

And then 3 hours later, anna driving like a manic, sam talking incessantly ("dave emailed me today"), and eve and I playing hangman in the back, anna nearly crashed the car and drove down a one-way bridge at the wrong time. because we saw THIS...

[check out the tiny people at the foot of this picture...]

Out of nowhere, looming out between the mountains, was my very first glacier. And it was GOOD. We decided to hop out of the car and have a closer look. And after walkig 10 minutes, the view wasn't satifactory. We had to be CLOSER. And closer we went. We walked for 20 minutes, over rocks, boulders, freezing cold streams of glacial meltwater, dirty grey mud and fenced off danger-zones, we got as close to the front of the ENORMOUS glacier as we could.

Now, I've seen photos of glaciers. I've studied them. I love them. But being up close - that's different. Man, its huge. So huge. And almost looks JUST LIKE ITS MOVING. And its craggy. And its colourful - blues and whites and greys. It was mindblowing. And we weren't even on it. So with that, we drove to the next town, at the foot of another glacier, and booked ourselves on a GLACIER HIKE the next day. Oh, and a skydive. But more on that next time...

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Day 135 - Abel Tasman National Park

new zealand After staying in one of the best hostels ever - including free pumpkin and coriander soup when you arrive - we jetted off to the Abel Tasman National Park which was just 30 minutes down the road. After arriving in Motueka we jumped out and had a wander on this cute little beach, then Anna tucked into some Beer Battered Fish and Chips (SO jealous). I'm trying to keep an eye on my weight and well as on my finances, so I turned down the food for a banana, and stole chips from her plate when she wasn't looking (what a joker).

We then drove on a bit and jumped out for a quick 2 hour walk, taking in beautiful beaches, the odd cave and a little forest. This place is pretty lush. Nothing as special as south america (sorry Anna/Phil/Kiwis) but its still pretty nice. I'm still straddling that "nice-but-not-amazing" opinion with new zealand, and to make it worse, the people here are starting to grate on me. But that said, for 2 hours I caught up with Anna, caught some sunshine, and pondered my long-distance relationship with a fond heart.

And with that, we headed 3 hours to the raved-about West Coast of the South Island, where we were promised the most dramatic, amazing, awe-inspiring scenery of our lives. And arrived after dark (great), so checked in to a hostel and played some Uno until our eyes could no longer stay open.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Day 134 - Picton


new zealand I love ferries. There's something about them that is properly grim. I dunno what it is, but its a bit sick. They smell of petrol. They're rusty. They're dirty. They're noisy. But I love them. And this one, after 2 hours at sea, was amazing. An hour heading through Picton Sound (I might have just made that name up, but it makes sense), and the landscape was spooky. The calm turquoise water, the clouds shrouding the hillsides, the lonely huge ferries going the other way. I couldn't take my eyes off it, except for the bitter cold which drove me inside. It doesn't just take a row boat and some sunshine to make me tick...

And as we set down in Picton, I made a quick phonecall, and we hooked up with our long-departed friend from home, Anna - complete with a new dye of red hair, and some cookies for me, Sam and Eve.


We jumped back in the Laser, and headed off, via the most winding, twisted road ever, to Nelson, a town at the foot of the Abel Tasman National Park, which promised nice beaches and cute walks...

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Day 131 - Wellington

new zealand Wellington was fun. After a 4 and half hour drive down through national parks, past volcanoes, desert valleys, through rain and along coastal roads in the dark, we made it to Wellington - capital city and most awesome town in New Zealand (so we are told). And we had fun.


We stayed for just two day - rushing along to catch Anna in the south island - so on arriving on a sunday night, we hit the sack after a quick walk around the centre. Its small. and cute. Like a bigger brighton - but not as trendy looking. The boys were well dressed, the cafes looked inviting, and the place was pleasing to the eye.

We never got a chance to venture far into the city, but on our only active day we popped into the very charming main museum, called Te Papa. Loads of good exhibits - including one on the "awesome earth" we live in. I loved it.

Then in the evening we met up with Phil, my old workmate, for a pint or two. This was very exciting - the first person (other than tristan) I knew from home who I would encounter. And we drank beer, laughed a lot, drank more beer, and stumbled home drunk at the end of the night. One of my favourite night's in new zealand, if you're ever in Wellington, get me to give you Phil's number. He's a legend.

And so the next day I nursed a KILLER hangover. Along with Sam (who has critised me for making out she is always drunk on my blog - sorry darling). But not Eve. Whatever 22-year-old Eve. We slouched out of bed at about midday, had MacDonalds for lunch, watched tv til 5pm and then I managed to drag myself out with Eve (who's welsh) to the southern hemisphere's ONLY welsh bar!!! Which she loved.

One drink later I was in bed, sleeping it off. We had a ferry to the south island to catch in the morning...

(oh and scott, if you're reading this, it was a pleasure to hear from you mate)

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