Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 12 Queenstown.

So we awoke to a beautiful sunrise and a huge day planned..onto the the kiwi park and up on the gondala.

We set off around 9.30 after another delicious toast and free spreads breakie. We had decided on the jetboat ride in Queenstown..which went to the shotover Dart river.. see web address..  We arrived about 9.50 and bought our tickets..11am was the time for the jetboat. So we went off and had coffee, got some sea sick tabs (just in case) and were back to clamour into huge coats and life jackets. Off we went. It was rough accross the lake but as we headed up the river it was fun..a few 360 degree turns and some low trees on the shoreline and we were at the Dart river...very exciting..shooting over tiny 'puddles' of water 360 degeeing etc etc..It was terrifying but fun..

I got a tad wet and when we got back we were ablr to go downstairs and look in the underwater observatory..diving funny..

Then we headed off to the Kiwi park.. This was located adjacent to the entry to the gondala and the walk up was quite hard (for unfit me!!) we found kiwis and were lucky enough to sit through a talk while they fed them.v interesting. I did loose the map over a balcony at one stage but my amazing husband rescued it..YES!!

Then it was off to the gondala..O M Gosh..scary as ..never thought it would worry me but it was such a steep accent..These are stats for anyone interested.

Bottom Terminal Elevation: 340m

Top Terminal: 790m

Vertical Rise: 450m

Total Length: 730m

Incline Angle: average of 37.1 degrees

Average Speed: Variable to 3.5m/sec
Now if my maths are right it means that the thing actually rises almost 1/2 a km at a 37 degree angle..yep it was scary..and Al wondered y I hated him changing sides and bouncing around..oo scary.

The view was amazing..but I was wet and being a princess so I was miserable and hungry so we ordered lunch at about 3pm and left. Now there was a haka show on at 6.30 but no way was i waiting that long.. So it was back down the mountain..back to our warm room..and then we ventured out later in search of PIZZA!! All we felt like was pizza and eventually found it in HELL!! Down a back alley the best pizzas ever..we had seen it advertised the night b4 on a current affair show and it won against dominoes and pizza hut in healthy, time we tried them and they were great.
The other thing  I wanted to do was go to the icebar..but by now I was actually sick of being cold and we headed home..what a day..

The pictures are..
morning at our unit
The 3 pictures i stumbled on of us on the net..(we had bought the pictures
Al on the jetboat
Our place from the jetboat
The diving duck
The weka (nz mountain parrott)
My kiwi photo
Alan outside the kiwi park
Going up that scary mountain
Alan and Us at the top
At lunch on the mountain
The amazing sheep on the side of the mountain

Day 11 Queenstowm

So we awoke to a fresh dusting of snow on the hills and dined on delicious toast and coffee.
We packed up and prepared to head to Queenstown. People had "warned" us about Queenstown "the Las Vegas" of NZ> We figured we loved the Gold Coast for a we would give it a try.

Before we left Wanaka we visited the "puzzling world". WOW>>It was really fun. Puzzles, queer rooms..(on a slope ) so everything looked like it was moving uphill, 3d stuff, and such a funny thing outside the was worth the money to go visit. As well the whole front area was chok full of puzzles and things that you could sit and do..It was fun!

Then it was off to Queenstown.about a 90 min drive, but enroute we stopped at the AJ Hackett bungy jumping (the original bungee jumping in NZ) Very well set up with a huge complex and so we watched with our Mochas for quite a while. There was a Melbourne school group, who apparently kept coming back as each time a few more wanted to jump. I got to inspect a bungee thousands of rubber bands altogether. It was at this point that Al decided he could not do the bungee jump..well he could possibly jump but no way could he walk out on that little platform..LOL

Then off we went again and called in on Arrowtown. Such a quaint little town. All old fashioned (with cobbled streets and stone buildings..very beautiful.

Finally off to Queenstown..We had looked at staying at a place we saw advertised in Wanaka, but when we got there decided it was way out of town, so we would drive around. Then we parked and visited a itag place and they recommended some nice ones (as we planned to spend 2 nights there) We then went and had a kebabb..(at the dodgiest place ever) but by this time we were starving..

We then drove around and parked and Alan and I both went in opposite directions to enquire about accommodation on the esplanade (overlooking the lake and the Remarkables (the mountains)

The lady at was lovely and gave me the keys to their 3 types of rooms. I went and found Alan and we checked them out..Naturally the first one (and the most expensive) was the best..but we took it.. It was great AND came with a laundry, remote controlled gas fire( which we had to ring up to find how it worked) heated floor in bathroom and a view..YESSo we settled in and went for a walk..grabbed some groceries and ate in that night (very tired) It was also quite chilly..

Pictures show 'puzzling world' Wanaka
The Baronneness of the landscape
A bungee jumper at AJ Hackett place
Arrowtown (how pretty)
coming into Queenstown

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 10 Wanaka

We set off from Fox Glacier still buzzing about the day before. It was a trip that will stay with us forever (i think)..
We originally were only going to Haast but on reflection decided that there really was nothing at Haast so would would drive through to Wanaka. I had read that this was a firly spectacular part of the NZ we were ready for more ooing and aahing.

We set off and along the way came across a beach on the side of the road that had heaps of stones..and people had been stacking was pretty impressive..Al took pictures and If I have one I will enclose it. We stopped at haast at the itag place (we may have been running short of touristy stuff NOT) and then headed off.

Such beautiful scenaery. Waterfalls everywhere and mountains and snow..and strange. We stoped for lunch at some dodgy place and listened to a weird conversation at the next table..this man reckoned you would have way more chance in a helicopter if the engine failed as opposed to a big jet..Personally I have seen the movies and I have so seen helicopters crash..round and round.. anyway the whole time I was thinking Kim would tell me to stop staring. It was true i was staring..couldn't beleive this man. All at the table were transfixed by him..Tosspot!!

Anyway after a pretty ordinary lunch we were off again. Saw the prettiest lake..but a huge change was rolling in and so windy. We later learnt that a tree had killed a man in Arrowtown (near Queenstown) We arrived in Wanaka and got a great room overlooking the snow covered mountains and the lake. We stayed at the moorings Wanaka
then set out for a walk.
we had coffee then walked over to the lake and onto the jetty and Alan says theres Simon.. O my gosh the couple we had met on the wine tour were just there. They had only just called in. How random is that?? Even more random that Alan remembered their names. So a quick hello and they were off.

We organised to go out for dinner at the Botswana Butcher as the people at the hotel recommended it. We arrived wet and bedraggled and in our jeans ( which may have been getting a little stanky) As we walked in we knew that this may have been a place where a fresh set of clothes wouldn't have been a bad idea.
On checking the menu out I noticed the wine and said to Alan that maybe that bottle of wine wasn't 33.90 as there was no zero..YIKES.
The food was great but the steak just came with the steak. We shared a serve of beans and potato.. (the beans as a side of the day were $8) and a glass of their cheapest wine..An interesting night.
Then it was home and into yet another bed..and more heated flooring..It had turned bitterly cold..

The pictures are in random order but show
 the very windy lake on our way to Wanaka
'Al trying to take pictures in the wind
another 1 laned bridge (a v long one)
Stone cairns
The view from our unit
sunrise from our unit

Day 9 Fox Glacier

So we awoke and Al had an agenda. He wanted to go in the helicopter to Fox Glacier. Now if anyone knows me they will know that I am not a fan of flying. I also knew this may well be a once in a life time experience..lets do it.. So Al rushed off all keen to organise our flight (really who calls a helicopter a flight???? its a nightmare) The weather was good and as Fox glacier recieves about 6 metres of rain a year we thought earlier was better.. He came back so excited. He was to go back to the office to confirm times but was about 10..We had booked the short 20 min flight and on reflection I said we should have paid the extra and done the longer flight. Al said he didn't wan to push me and he was stoked that we were going at all..

He went back to confirm and came back busting with excitement. We had been upgraded to the longer flight and would now go up to Mount Cook as well.. (GREAT!!!) We had been upgraded for free.. ( a story I can tell you face to face) and so our adventure was about to begin..

First stop though was Al wanted to buy me a waterproof/windproof jacket. So we walked up town and got that and then waited for our time (sounds so fatalistic)

We were given the safety check by a young lady with such a thick NZ accent that when she had finished Alan and I both turned to each other and said "what did she say" a worry when that was the safety check..
Into the van out to the heli pad and lucky us got the FRONT seat..o great..It got better and better..

Then we were off.. so loud, so rough (just the vibration) so high but so amazing. It seemed like just minutes and we were up over the glacier and facing Mt Cook ( I heard the pilot check when the next fklight was and said he wanted an extra 5-8 mins on the ice ..o cool) It was pretty amazing. We were told some of the crevaces on the glacier are over 60 metres deep (heck) they didn't look that big..I was sooo scared,,but it was breath taking..the website of who we flew with is

We landed on the glacier and seemed to be there forever. It was pretty amazing..plenty of pictures..and then back in (in the back this time) and back to the helipad..

After the excitement of that the day was pretty boring. Lunch and some pretty exciting chatting the we decided to go out to the coast and maybe see a western sunset..So off to Gillespies beach. A dirt road, a historic cemetary, wild sheep, complete with tails, a beach completely littered with driftwood, names and dates written in rocks on the top dunes, and heaps of the infamous sandflies. No way were we waiting for sunset which was still 2 hours away..back to the chalet and an easy dinner and another spa, more fire and bed..

Mount Cook up close
Excited Alan on the glacier
Us in the Back seat
an old sign at Gillespies beach
the wild sheep
the trip to Gillespies beach
Fox Glacier town from the helicopter

Day 8

OK OK OK I know I have been slack..Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes.

We awoke at Hokitika and walked down to the cafe that was attached to the jade factory. We had coffee at this spot yesterday and then run into the lady again at the pub last night. It seemed a fair call to go there for breakfast. Bacon n eggs and it was yum!!
Back to the Hotel, packed and on the road again. We were off to Foz Glacier. This was one of the few places we had booked accommodation. Sat and Sun night. About 2 weeks b4 we left we had an email from the B and B that we had booked into and was told they would have to cancel. I quickly looked on the net and had booked the chalet with spa and continental breakfast for $120 a night. Hoping it would be good. So off we went quite excited.

On the way to the glaciers ( we were to pass through Franz Josef Glacier first) we saw some great things. Including we stopped at a quaint little place with the hugest ever sandfly on this little rustic tourist spot. I guess it could have almost rivalled our big prawn.

At this spot we got to see a reindeer, a wild goat, Al got to eat a venison pie (they were out of possum pies) and we also bought some quaint possum products ...They also had some hillarious signs that I will post piccys of.

On the road again. More beautiful scenary..and then we spied the glacier. In the distance. First we thought it was a waterfall.. How spectacular... We stopped at the Itag place but they were shutting for lunch so we set off to the car park of the glacier and went for a walk down to to the base area where you can walk over to the glacier. The view was amazing and even though it was drizzzling we were a little in awe to see signs of where the glacier had been only 50 years ago..there fore when you read that it had gone right down to the ocean it was overwheming. A great walk and I do have a tiny rock from the glacier bed..

In the car park I saw my first Kea. A mountain parrott from NZ notorious for being Very cheeky..and often capable of destroying a car (chewing rubber off windows, wipers etc) It was then back to Franz Josef wher e we had some much needed lunch, and then off to Fox Glacier..only about 30 mins away.

We arrived at our Chalet and were pleasantly surprised at how lovely it was. The lady who was managing it was also great and I would recommend this to anyone heading to Fox Glacier.

Then it was stright out to Lake Matheson. This is a reflection lake and as it was not raining and reasonably fine we thought we should do it. We had heard so much about this lake. It was about 3.45 when we arrived and so we set off. It was a horrid walk. Long and very forresty. Not a lake walk. It had lake glimpses..which were great..but we had not been prepared for the mountain walk. I only had my work shoes on and my feet began to groan about half way around. O well we will always remember Lake Matheson. We finally finished and got back to the car about 5.30pm We were tired.

Back into Fox Glacier and a "wee" walk over to the restaurant near where we were staying and had dinner. Back for a spa, sit by the remote controlled gas fire (brillianT) and bed

The photos show this quaint place
complete with
reindeer and queer signs.
Lake Matheson,
Franz Josef Glacier, and the view
from our window in our chalet