Friday, November 10, 2006

Nuw Zulund

Early start in Sydney, didn't work out well for me, tho it seemedChi had a worse time, as he just made the check in close.. My day gotworse as I first thought I'd left my all important jacket at home,then managed to leave my boarding pass at the place I had brekky.Found it after a few heartstopping minutes of searching!

We finally got to customs and there was a MASSIVE line.. we werethere for about 30 mins and were almost the last people on the plane..anyways, the flight to NZ went without any issues and we landed prettymuch on time. Got our little Echo (268,000 Km on the clock, but prettygood condition) found our hostel (Stonehurst) and went for a lookabout town.

Christchurch is dead. Very dead. Even on a Saturday afternoon onlythe two blocks around the centre of town around the cathedral had anypeople. Even the shops were closed. We took a walk around thecathedral and down to the Avon and to the Musem next to the botanicalgardens. After that it was back into town to a "dodgy looking chinese"place for dinner. Oh and we notice that there were a LOT of koreansabout town. Unusual.

We started driving north from the next morning arriving in Kikourafor lunch. A very very pretty town with snow capped mountains in thebackground. Pretty small and sleepy tho. We had a nice lunch there thowe didn't think paying NZ$50 for crayfish was sensible.. Regretting itnow tho..

We drove on to Nelson through Picton.. some very nice scenery, anda challenging drive with narrow roads, lots of climbs and descents andzig-zag roads. At Nelson we stayed at a very very cool backpackerscalled Tasman Bay. Totally cool atmosphere and people! Definatelyworth going back if we're back in Nelson.

Next day we drove north to our walk in Able Tasman National Park.The weather was rather grey and cold and neither Chi nor I was keen onkayaking. Instead we took a water taxi to Bark Bay and walked down toTorrent Bay (about 2.5 hours). It was constantly grey and drizzly butit was still very very purdy.

It was low tide when we got to Torrent, so we decided to go toAnchorage Bay over the tidal mudflats. About 2Kms worth of mud. LOTSof fun! Really! Nothing like the feeling of mud squishing through yourtoes!

We had to sit around Anchorage for a few hours in the rain (beingattacked by those annoying Sand Flies) for our Water Taxi. From thereit was back in the car and heading to Westport.

Westport is kinda like Newcastle, but deader. I mean there was NOONE at 7pm on the main street. We were the only people having dinneror a drink at the local pub! We stayed at a place called Robyn's Nest,which is a rambling old mansion with the downstairs part converted toa backpackers and upstairs for the family. It was nice enough, butlets just say the shower/toilet faciclies left a LOT to be desired.

Next morning was wet and grey (notice a theme?) and we set out forFranz Josef. About 15 mins out of town we realised we didn't refueland the car definately didn't have enough petrol to make it to FJ. Chidecided to soldier on confidently saying that we had enough for FJ thoI seriously doubted it. The first town we passed, the servo was out ofpetrol! Finally we got to Hari Hari and filled up! Phew!

Made it to Fanz Josef early in the evening, checked into the YHA(very nice!) and went for a trip about town. Went to the Glacier tohave a look, it looked big. Got back into town and had a nice dinner(spoke to a nice German couple in the pub about the world cup). We gothome early to prepare for the big glacier hike the next day!

Our "glacier adventure" to come!

Glacier on the day we climbed it.

Glacier the day AFTER we climbed it!

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