08.03.2011 - 16.03.2011 20 °C
We headed North-East from Te Anau up to Queenstown for a couple of days. It is extremely touristy and expensive so we didn’t fancy hanging about there for too long. It is a really nice wee town in a very picturesque location and it is also the adrenaline capital of NZ, so the town attracts lots of tourists and adrenaline junkies. I decided I wanted to do an activity so signed up to do a bungee jump since Queenstown is the home of bungee. However, Linda couldn’t be persuaded to take part!
There was the option of doing the first ever bungee that is 47m high but I decided to really push the boat our and do the Nevis Bungee, which is 134m high and is one of the highest in the world. I signed up to do this first thing in the morning (I think to get it over and done with!!) and when up there to also do the Nevis Arch swing. This is the highest cliff swing which starts off with an approx 70m vertical drop. There were only five people in the first group, an American Couple, a Brazilian couple and myself. Linda just stayed at the campsite as she did not want to come to watch.
I managed to do the bungee with the worst part being just stuck on the end of the rope before being hoisted back up. I did the arc swing too which was completely different as after the initial drop you then swing out across the valley up to speeds of 150km/hour. This wasn’t as good as the bungee but still an amazing rush. I did enjoy it but now I have got it out my system I will not be doing any more! A video of the jump is saved online so if you would like to see it then here is the following web address, username and password for it:
That was enough of Queenstown for us so we headed to a small place called Arrowtown close by. There was a settlement of Chinese immigrants who came here in the 1800’s to pan for gold. It is a pretty town and they restored some of the original homes and buildings that were part of the original Chinese village. We then pushed on to our next destination, Lake Wanaka. Again we didn’t do too much here apart from relax in this lovely town on the lake. We did manage to go to Puzzleworld which was an experience. It was full of illusions and we also managed to find our way around and out of an unique two level maze in only 50 minutes!
We were a bit pushed for time to get up the West Coast so we headed off, stopping overnight in a place called Haast. We had a few quick stops at Knights Points and Ships Creek (quick because of the sand flies which are worse than Scottish midges) before arriving at Fox Glacier. Unfortunately, it started to rain for the rest of the day but it was probably the best to happen on a day that was mostly spent driving. It was only our second day of rain throughout the whole of NZ as somehow we kept on missing it everywhere we went. Thankfully the rain kept the sandflies away as we got eaten alive at Haast.
We did the quicker hour walk up to Fox Glacier in the rain before heading to Lake Matheson, also in the same town. This is a lake where you can get a perfect reflection of the scenery behind on a good day. Unfortunately it was pouring so we didn't even go down to the lake and ended up buying a postcard of the perfect picture instead. We then went further up the coast to the Franz Josef Glacier to do another walk up to this glacier in the rain. Although both of the glaciers were impressive and the best we have seen in NZ, they did not compare to the glaciers in Patagonia. We wish we had seen the ones in NZ first.
After the glaciers we spent the rest of the day driving further up the cost to Greymouth, where Nic (Julia and Rachels flatmate) invited us to stay at his parents house for the weekend where him, the girls and their other flatmates were also staying to go to the Wild Foods Fesival in Hokitika. We felt a bit awkward about turning up as the others were still hours away from arriving, but Allie and Tony (Nic's parents) were really nice and extremely welcoming. Allie and Tony have Scottish and Irish backgrounds and they have both travelled around Scotland before so we ended up chatting away for a few hours.
The following morning all nine of us headed down to the Wild Foods Festival where Tony's rugby club were doing the security so it was arranged for us all to have tickets. There were to be up to 15,000 people there and the sun was shining so we knew it would be a good day. There were loads of various delicacies to be sampled such as huhu grubs, worms, grasshoppers, bull testicles, horse protein shots (we'll let you guess what that is) and lots of other wierd and wonderful local produce, plus obviously plenty of beer, cider and wine. We won't go into too much detail of what was tasted, but I was much more adventurous than Linda with the worst thing being the raw scorpions (without the sting) which were absolutely vile! After the festival we went to a bbq just across the road which was also really good and had a band playing. Following this we went to the beach for a bonfire before going out in town. It was a cracking day out and was a strange but great experience. Thanks to Nic, Julia and Rachel for inviting us and Allie and Tony for their hospitality and making us feel so at home.
Upon leaving Greymouth we went further up this scenic west coast to Punakaiki where we stayed the night to visit the pancake rocks and got biten by more sandflies. The coastline was stunning and the plants seemed almost tropical. We are really glad we saw parts of this coast when the sun was shining. We then headed back towards Christchurch stopping for the night at Arthur's Pass. We were hoping to do a trek here but just after we started the rain came in so we had to turn back. It was a shame to end our NZ trip with our final night stuck in the campervan. Before we flew to Auckland, we spent our final night back at Christchurch at Duncans. He kindly let us sort all of our stuff out so we would be ready to start out Australia trip. Again we enjoyed spending some time with Duncan and felt sad saying farewell at the airport. Duncan, many thanks for your hospitality and it was great to meet you. We will hopefully see you again at some point in the next few years.