14.03.2012 - 03.05.2012 17 °C
So we've been in New Zealand for quite awhile now! 7 weeks. We spent about 3 weeks on the North Island, where we spent a week in Taupo, a little town on Lake Taupo. Also, we just happened to be super close to my friend Claire (from home), so we hung out with her and her family for a couple days, which was super nice. We played a lot of ping pong at our hotel thinger. :D After that, we spent 4 or 5 days in Auckland with my uncle's family (from NZ). Nick, Leonie, and the three boys, Josh (12), Jordan (10), and Levi (8). They brought us to this little farm and we got to watch the farmer milk cows which was pretty awesome! We also went to the beach (it was waaaaay too cold for us Thai swimmers, but the crazy kiwis swam!), the boys did a lot of fishing, and we had a greeeeeat kiwi feast with lotsa lamb and hokey pokey ice-cream. It was super fun. After that, we got in our dinky camper and drove all around the North of the North Island for another week. The weather was really sucky, so we mostly just drove around and looked at sheep and cows. And the boys fished, of course.
Then, we went down to the South Island, where we spent 3 weeks. We drove all down the west coast on the way down to Queenstown, and we saw lots more sheep and cows. On about week 3, the fall colors set in, and were very beautiful (remember, their seasons are backwards here. Silly Kiwis haha). We couldn't do much hiking, because the weather was never good. We did hike to see the Franz Joseph Glacier, which was quite beautiful. Finally, we arrived in Queenstown. For those of you who don't know, Queenstown is the super adventure capital of the world. Theres bungee jumping, sky diving, crazy jet boat rides, hang gliding, flying foxes, huuuuuuge ziplignes, rafting, canyon swings (a bit worse than bungee jumping :D), and heaps more. What we did, was paragliding. Not so terrifying, but we thought "well, if we're gonna splurge on a sky sport, then we may as well do the one where you get to be up there for the longest." So we did. It was AWESOME!! I even saw a deer on the way down. Me and Mac's dudes did huuuuge arcs in the sky and everything. Suuuuuuuuuper fun.
After Queenstown, we went over to Te Anau, and me and Mom did the Kepler track, one of the great walks in NZ. It was 3 nights and 4 days of hiking, with about 15k each day. (In total, it was 60km). The first day, we went up up up the mountain, and gained about 15000 ft (I think…). It was also my birthday, and mom had surprised me by bringing up subway for a treat. IT WAS AWWESOME!! Haha. Then we drank hot chocolate and ate leftover birthday cake, and looked down at the lake from our gorgeous view from the hut. The next morning we woke up and there was a Kea bird (a green parrot, that's as smart as a raven) that was hanging about our hut. That was really cool, because not everybody gets the chance to see one. Their really pretty, but too smart. Ranger Robbie had lot's of stories about them eating up peoples expensive gear. Haha. That day of hiking was mostly up in the alpine, all along the ridge line (very top), and through alpine valleys. It was sure beautiful. We also descended the mountain range that day. On the third day, it was mostly flat, and all through the trees. Our hut of that night was right on the lake, and one women who was doing the hike with some friends, had got her brother to bring cheese cake for everybody. They were deeeeelicious! One the very last day, we trudged around on the flats through the bush again, and when I finally saw the dam where we were to meet the boys, I honestly ran the whole way back. It was sure a great time, but we couldn't move to well for the next week!
After the big hike we motored back up on the east coast, and we saw the Yellow Eyed penguins, tons of big fur seals, and dolphins! (All wild, too by the way.) That was great to see.
For our final week, we drove up the North Island, back up to Aukland, and we went back to Nick and Leonie's. We did a wine taste & tour, went to a bunch of parks and beaches, and Mac and Dad also went to the big All Blacks (that's New Zealand's National Rugby team) stadium, did some mini quading, and Mac and Jordie did a lot of fishing in the creek behind their house. Also, Nick owns a sign and T shirt making type shop, so we all got T shirts made. Dad and I each got an All Blacks jersey, and Mom and Mac and Dad all got these cool "World Tour" T's. I also got Prawdzik put on the back of another of my shirts. Very cool stuff! It was certainly a grrreat time, and we will be back soon. Just another 2 weeks and we're back in Canada! Crazy crazy. Anyways, enjoy the pictures! (I don't think I've ever typed so much for a blog!)
First, here's all our pictures from the North Island:
A crazy jet boat ride that we didn't do.
Jordie and Mac eel fishing.
Feeding the crazy ducks.
Rafters… (not us, but still cool enough to make it onto the blog anyways... )
Bubbling mud pools in Rotorua.
And all the stuff we did on our second trip to Auckland. The wine barrels cost over 1000$ each!! And he definitely had over a thousand at his small winery. In the second last picture, that was Nick making our shirts. Aren't they awesomeamazing?
Toooooon's of fish (heh heh, at the fish hatchery)
Too lazy to really fish.
Pancake rocks, featured in the Walking With the Dinosaurs movie.
Franz Joseph Glacier.
Nice scenery. And here starts the South Island pictures. In the scenery pics, they're all a bit mixed, but after that, all South.
Haha at the gypsy fair I forget where, there was this "fly on the wall" thing which I thought was hilarious. You jump on the bouncy castle, then fling yourself onto the velcro with your velcro suit on.
Looooot's of sheep!
On the track.
The kea bird.
Cool spider web. (This was taken on the Kepler. See how blue the sky was for us? And every day, too!)
Yellow Eyed Penguin.
Thanks for reading! And by the way, I added a bunch more pictures to the post "Ode to Snorkling and Diving", if you wanna check that out.