A Travellerspoint blog

Last Leg

I was very sad to leave Queenstown but I suppose I had to at some point. our next stop was Mount Cook national park.The day we arrived it was puring down and we could not even see the mountains next to us. it snowed overnight and we woke up to clear blue skies. DSCF1835.jpgDSCF1832.jpg

The Pictures say it all - it was on a par with the glacier walk, although this time I managed not to fall at all ;). We did a 6 hour walk up to the Hooker valley wher you get fantastic views of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.Now for the factual bit, Mount Cook is the tallest mountain in Australasia at 3755m and is more trecherous than Mount Everest to climb. It takes a seven day trek to climb it and only a few tours leave per year.

We left Mount Cook on friday 13th, and our bus tour left without us! NICE! They arrived at 11.30 and the driver was not meant to depart until 12.30 but she left anyway. Luckily we managed to get on another bus to where we needed but the panic started to set in being stuck in the middle of nowhere.

That afternoon we arrived at Rangitata to chill out before our White water rafting adventures on saturday! So I did get a little nervous about this. But it was absolutley amazing. We did upto grade 5 rapids, which is the hardest you can commercially ride, had a fantastic group of English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish. We spent 2 and half hours on the water. I even did a 10m jump off into the water. There was a moment when I wondered if i'd come up for air or not!

Saturday evening seen us arrive in Christchurch wher I will stay until tuesday when I fly home. DSCF1878.jpg Its been an amazing trip and I will be sad to leave NZ, it has definatley won me over. Thanks for all your email and messages, sorry if I havent replied but they have all been appreciated. See you all soon! xxxxx

Posted by emmahannon 17:23 Comments (1)

Southern Loop

Freezing, freezing!

From Queenstown I took a separate bus again with the same company for a four day trip around the south. First stop was Milford Sound - this is one of the must sees of new zealand. The drive from Te Anue to Milford Sound takes about 2 hours through scenery like I have never seen and only photos - to come - can explain how amazing the fiordland is. DSCF1604.jpgI took a boat trip through the sound which has amazing waterfalls, crystal clear seas and we were lucky enough to be there on one of the few days it doesn't rain. From Milford we headed to the sausage capital of NZ, apparantly so called beacuse of the technique they use to hand make sausages. So of course for dinner we had bangers and mash at the hostel and then down to the local for the wine tasting evening with 5 of the girls. The wine tasting turned out to be champagne - excellent! I ended up next to the locals...Ray a farmer, Al a sheep shearer and Des a deer hunter. They kept me entertained for the evening and it did remind me of the Red Lion!

The following morning was an early rise to Ray's farm to get to feed the lambs, watch rounding up the sheep and then a chance a sheep shearing! DSCF1633.jpgDSCF1621.jpgIt just had to be done in NZ! Followed by more sausages for breakfast. I then went over to Stewert Island for the night the crossing in notoriously rough but luckly we were all alright, even after the wine tasting! Stewert Island was just fantastic I was unsure if i'd enjoy the place as it is meant to be so remote.DSCF1676.jpg But it was just perfect, beautiful walks, birds and scenery. Some of the guys went out fishing and caught loads of blue cod, which we BBQ and was delcious.

Next on the list was a trip from Invercargill around to Dunedin. This was on good friday, the laws are slightly different over here on any religious holiday you can not purchase alcohol in a shops. All the pubs, clubs and restaurants close early and you can only drink if you eat somewhere or you are residing there. A bit different to England whre you just extend the opening hours!

On the way to Dunedin we stopped to see a huge sealion, on a beach that I imagine would resemble northern Scotland. DSCF1682.jpgWe then stopped at Propoise Bay which had wild hector dolphins swimming in. Our driver explained that you are not aloud to swim with them but if you were swimming and they came over to you then that was allowed. So we stripped of to our undies and jumped in and the dolphins were a metre away from us. Before I got in the water I was wearing a fleece and wooly hat and I was still cold - so imagine how cold the water was. Later that day we stopped at Nugget Point and got the chance to see yellow eyed penguins which are really rare. But the best part was they were jsut coming in form a day at sea to nest. We arrived in Dunedin late and everything was closed as good friday, we had a wonder round the town and it was beautiful but somewhere I wish I had longer.DSCF1713.jpg

Saturday we dashed back to Queenstown to watch the rugby. Our driver had tickets for the rugby so we all went on our tour bus to watch the Highlanders Vs the Chiefs in the Super 15s. We had to support the Chiefs in honor of our driver but boy were we outnumbered. The Chiefs coming from the North Island and Highlanders from Dunedin. But the Chiefs won 38 - 34 and it was a great day. Loads of tries and excellent views.DSCF1725.jpgDSCF1728.jpg

The evening continued with a famous Fergburger and then face painting party...another late night!DSCF1765.jpg

Posted by emmahannon 17:22 Comments (2)

South Island

First leg!

SO travelled over on the interisland ferry to Picton through the most spectacular Marlborough Sound and spent the afternoon travelling up the Queen Charlotte Track. Then Moved onto Nelson for a chill out day by the pool which was definatley the last day spent topping up my tan. We then travelled onto Able Tasman National Park but the views were spoilt by the rain and cold and staying on a place called Old MacDonalds Farm was exactly as you can imagine it! This is definatley a place to go back too with some good weather. I did a four hour walk in the morning and then got a catarmaran back down the coast.

From ATNP we hopped on a bus again for a day travelling. We got to stop off and see a seal colony and a place called pancake rocks. Which has been pushed up out of the sea through the volcanic activity and looks like piles of pancakes. Our overnight stop was in a place called Barrytown. The only thing in Barrytown was the Pub, which is where we were staying. the lonely Planet says it is worthless staying there! So our bus company make it more interseting by making us dress up in fancy dress.DSCF1357.jpg The theme was grannies or cross dressing. And if we didn't dress up then we didn't get happy hour! What a con.

Friday 30th seen us leave Barrytown ( one night was more than enough!) and travel to Franz Josef. We all booked on to do a full day walk on the glacier. On arriving at stupid o clock to the booking centre we were informed there was only a 50/50 chance of getting on the glacier due to the heavy rain fall overnight. Gutted! I decided to risk it, we got geared up with walking boots, rain jackets and trousers, hats, gloves and talons for the boots on the ice. We then had a hour an half walk and drive to the terminal face (the bottom) of the glacier. After walking for about 10 minutes I got my talons on my boots interlocked and went jaw first into a rock! Ouch, i thought that was me out for the day but luckly the pain in my knee and jaw subsided I got bandaged up, took some ibuprofen and off we went. This was the best day I've had on the south island, the views were spectacular.DSCF1386.jpg. Some of the crevices we had to squeeze through were a bit scary but the blue was just amazing. Here is a photo of me on my goodside! I later fell on the way down the glacier as well, apart from feeling like I had been in a boxing match for a couple of days all ok now - but ice is very hard!

The following day seen us head to Makarora via some beautiful lakes but really just another travel day, in Makarora we had a karoke night. And then we left for Queenstown.DSCF1513.jpg Arrived in Queenstown pretty late and the whole bus had a hat partyDSCF1536.jpg. Our driver has sick in the toliets. My snorkel was used to drink cocktails, but it was a fantastic night. In need of a rest!DSCF1768.jpg

Posted by emmahannon 04:24 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

North Island

On the circuit


So on Saturday morning I set off south of Auckland. I've got a full ticket around NZ hop on hop off bus, the bus driver just does everything for you books your accomodation in advance, your activities, stops enroute for food and drink etc - its great. And luckily I had a good bunch on my bus.

Crazy Italian Natalie interrogated everyone as they got on the bus in Auckland so by our first stop we all knew the basics about one and other. We headed for Hahei as our first stop. We walked to the famous cathedral cove and had a lovely dip and the beach was worth everystep of the walk. We were staying in a campsite so St Paddys day was celebrated in the Kitchen but we had a fab time getting to know everyone there and one Irish lass Lisa to keep us going all night!
Sunday was another early moring and we headed across the country to a surf spot called Raglan. Raglan is apparanlty where Jack Johnson has a house and if famous because it has a left hand break rather that a right hand break. We were ibn a rural retreat and once there miles from anything - it was cool for one night but no longer. We spent the afternoon on the flying fox and ropes course as well as relaxing in the hammocks!

Monday another early moring after a late night and we headed to Waitomo Caves which is famous for its gloworms. Lisa and I did black water rafting. Which was a combination of caving and tubing, if was a pretty amazing thing to do and you can all see how gorgeous the outfits we had to where. It was abit scary when you stepped off rocks into water upto your neck without expecting it.DSCF1076.jpg

We then headed to Rotorua for the night, we were lucky the sun was out so that the place didn't smell too bad! Rotorua is a place reknown for its geothermal activity, geysers and hot spas. You walk down the droad and there is smoke coming out of the drains due to all the activity underneath. Tuesday morning we headed to a Cultual show in a traditional Mauri Village called Whakarewarewa ( and if I still can't prenounce that one). The village was amazing we had a traditioanl Hangi which is how they cook there food in boxes situated over hot spots in the ground. And got to see a performance of traditional Mauri music. We then headed off to Taupo via the Huka falls. As you can guess by the time I got here I needed as extra days rest. So I said goodbye to all the guys on my bus and chilled out at a thermal spa for the day.

The following day I joined a new bus and headed for the Tongario Crossing. This is rated as one of the best day walks in the world 17km taking 6 - 8 hours. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Through volcanos and next to Lord of the Rings Mount Doom, the views of the valley from the walk are of Mordor. We walked past the red crater which had last erupted in 1926 but some of the ground was too hot to even stand on. Then headed down to the emerald lakes which is a commonly featured picture and then over to a fantstic view of Lake taupo.DSCF1176.jpgDSCF1183.jpg

No surprise that the follwing day my legs were a little stiff! We had a travel day to Windy Wellington. Where I got to meet up with some of my orignal bus crew! Yay! The weather was perfect I spent friday and saturday there. Went up the cable car to the beautiful botanical gardens and around the best museum in NZ, Tepapa. After seeing so much beautiful scenery I was glad to leave and head to the south isl;and.

Posted by emmahannon 20:31 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Northland and The Bay of Islands

Rock the Boat

View OZ and NZ on emmahannon's travel map.

Monday was my first taste of real new zealand, getting out of the city and I was very glad to be over the bridge and leaving Auckland behind. I don't think much can compare to Sydney. I had joined a hop on hop off tour for a few days to get a taste for it. We had a great driver - although it was his first day and later forgot to book all our trips and accomodation! The drivers on these tours talk and talk and talk and every phrase in NZ ends in eh or sweet as!

So my destination was Pahia. En route we stopped off to go snorkelling at Goat Island but the weather was too bad for that so we continued north to a brid sanctuary and got to see a baby kiwi! Apparantly mosty of the population of NZ have not seen there native bird as it is nocturnal. Also at the Sanctuary was talking Tui who liked to say woof, woof and look whose coming through the door, it was bizarre. I then landed in Pahia and got straight on to an overnight 'cruise' around the bay of islands. The boat was a converted car ferry, with a huge bar and social area as you walk on and dorms upstairs. This trip was amazing. I got to catch a snapper! and go night kayaking with in th bay of islands they have this special algae which when you touch it glow in the dark it was pretty amazing. We had a great BBQ dinner and drinks around the fire with a guy playin guitar. The following day we went out snorkelling and onto Robertson Island the weather was perfect and the view breathtaking.DSCF0941.jpg

Wednesday I headed north to Cape Reinga, the northern most point of NZ form there you can see the tasman and pacific ocean meet with two different colours. We also got a chance to go Dune boarding which was pretty scary when I was at the top of the dune, lying flat on my face on a boggie board but once I was off it was grand and great fun!
Thursday I set off around Pahia to explore, ther it a fantastic view point but it was a bloody difficult walk and at a palce called Waitangi, which is of huge historical importance to the Maouri's as a treaty was signed there, there is the biggest canoe ( or waka) in the world. I headed back to Auckland on thursday night and caught up with my friend Nat who i'd met in oz. Friday was a wash out beacuse we drank to much on thursday!

Posted by emmahannon 01:02 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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