Saturday, December 09, 2006

Day 548 – Queenstown, New Zealand

Day 548 – 8th December 2006 +13:00 GMT Total Miles 90871

Had a long lie in and a lazy morning, then had a wander around Queenstown and checked out the Kiwi sanctuary, then ended up going to see the new James Bond film Casino Royale. The film was very good and when it ended James and Jemma went back to the hostel and Matt and I met the American girls and went out to a Thai restaurant with them. After the meal we met up with James and Jemma and headed back to the casino for some more action, I played a little poker and some blackjack but did not do so well. Jemma made a profit again, after a few drinks we headed home.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Day 547 – Milford Sound – Queenstown, New Zealand

Day 547 – 7th December 2006 +13:00 GMT Total Miles 90868

In the morning we were woken up around 7am for breakfast as the boat was heading out to the Tasman Sea.

James On The Milford Wanderer

After another cruise of the sounds we got dropped off at the underwater observatory, here you can experience what normal grows 200m below sea level at just 8m below sea level. The observatory did not have much to show really and was focusing on Black Coral, I found it to be rather over priced for the 20 minutes we had at the observatory.

The Underwater Observatory

The Underwater Observatory

The Underwater Observatory

We got back on land at around 10am and started driving just as we were about 20km out of Milford Sound I came around a corner and had to slam my brakes on, as a tree fell across the road just in front of us, 30 seconds earlier and we could have been under it. The tree blocked the road completely and a traffic jam was forming. So a bit of team work and about 50 people working together we managed to break all the branches of the tree and then drag the trunk to the side of the road.

The Tree That Blocked The Road

The Tree That Blocked The Road

Me at the 45 Degree Line

We got back on the road and carried on towards Queenstown stopping at Kingston to see the Kingston Flyer steam train.

The Kingston Flyer

The Kingston Flyer

We arrived in Queenstown and checked into Bungi Backpackers, unfortunately it was fully booked and Jemma had to stay somewhere else. We all had a it of a sleep then had a wander around Queenstown. We ended up at the sky city casino where I taught Jemma how to play blackjack and had made $525 by the end of the night. Jemma had also made a profit from her $20 starting money. Hopefully she won’t take my influence and get addicted. We sat in the bar at the casino and had several drinks and were joined by the American girls we had met the night before on the boat. We arranged to met them the next day for dinner and called it a night.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Day 546 – Te Anua – Milford Sound, New Zealand

Day 546 - 6th December 2006 +13:00 GMT Total Miles 90744

We checked out of Barnyard backpackers and made our way up to Milford Sound stopping at all the scenic lookouts on the way.

Lake Te Anua

Lake Te Anua

A Mountain Vista

The Mirror Lakes

The Mirror Lakes

The Mirror Lakes

We also stopped at the Chasm which is a really powerful waterfall that has eroded all the surrounding rock.

James, Matt And Jemma

The Chasm

When we arrived at Milford Sound we had a bite to eat at the café and then we boarded the boat The Milford Wanderer.

Our Boat - The Milford Wanderer

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

Milford Sound

After an hour sail around the sound Jemma and I then went Kayaking which was really good fun although we got eaten alive by sand flies.

Me Kayaking

Me Kayaking

Dinner was then served aboard the boat which was interrupted several times by the sighting of 14 Yellow crested penguins and many fur seals.

Fur Seals

Fur Seals

Yellow Crested Penguins

After dinner we had a game of trivial pursuit with a couple of American girls then called it a night.

Jemma,Matt And James On The Boat

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Day 545 – Wanaka – Te Anua, New Zealand

Day 545 – 5th December 2006 +13:00 GMT Total Miles 90651

Checked out from the purple cow hostel and then visited Stuart Landborough’s puzzling world.

View Over Lake Wanaka

View Over Lake Wanaka

Stuart Landboroughs Puzzling World

We managed to do the maze in less than 45 minutes and then wandered around the museum seeing the moving faces, the 3d holograms and the other puzzling sites.

Matt And James In The Maze

The Maze

We then drove south stopping at Arrowtown for some lunch and a look around.


Looking Towards Queenstown

We then drove to Kelvin Heights golf club in Queenstown so Matt could buy his dad a golf shirt and then onwards to Te Anua.

Reflection Over Queenstown Lake

We stopped and did some food shopping before checking into the hostel 9km south of Te Anua. We had a wooden chalet overlooking the lakes and valleys. I did my washing and played pool for most of the night.

James, Matt And I Outside our Chalet

View From Chalet

View From Chalet


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Day 544 – Franz Josef – Wanaka, New Zealand

Day 544 – 4th December 2006 +13:00 GMT Total Miles 90527

Woke up to my mobile ringing, which was Jill telling me that a friend of ours in the UK had died of cancer. James and I both new Trace and were very upset and shocked by the news. We checked out late and made out way to Fox Glacier, we walked the trail to the face of the glacier and this one you could get a lot closer to.

Fox Glacier

The Four Of Us At Fox Glacier

A Kea

We carried on south for 4 hours stopping at Knights point to take a photo of the view and also at a little café for lunch which seemed to glamorise hunting by having pictures of people chasing and slaughtering pigs.

A Mountain Vista

View From Knights Point

We arrived in Wanaka around 4pm and had a wander around the town and took some photos at the lake front. Jemma and I cooked a Bolognese for all of us and then we headed to the local cinema which is unique by having the seats as Sofa’s and Lazy-Boys and even a VW Beetle to sit in while watching the film. We saw the film Flags of our Fathers which was pretty awful and matt even fell asleep (can’t blame him sofa’s were comfy).

Wanaka Cinema

Monday, December 04, 2006

Day 543 – Punakaiki – Franz Josef, New Zealand

Day 543 – 3rd December 2006 +13:00 GMT Total Miles 90353

Checked out the beach hostel at 10am and drove south to Franz Josef which is the glacier region of New Zealand. The drive took about 3.5 hours and we had a quick stop in Hokitika so James could buy some Jade for Elle (his girlfriend).


One way Bridge Shared With Cars And Trains

When we arrived we checked into Motel style accommodation we had our own TV and kitchen area and en-suite bathroom. We headed out immediately to get some food at the local café and then onto visiting the Franz Josef glacier. Jemma was very excited as she was a geography student and had never seen a real glacier. The weather was miserable and there was a sign after the forest area saying danger flooding only pass this point if you are an experienced guide. Like everyone else we ignored this and proceeded to the face of the glacier. We had to cross many little rivers and it was ok fine for most of us, only James stepped in and got his feet wet.

Franz Josef Glacier

Matt, Jemma And James

Climbers On The Glacier

There was huge blocks of ice along the riverbed which had obviously fallen from the glacier. After we had seen the glacier we made our way back to the hostel. We spent the next hour in the spa there and then spent the evening chatting and watching the TV which seemed a privilege for me, as I don’t own a TV in New Zealand.
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