Friday, 25 March 2011

Abel Tasman - Hokitika - The Glaciers - Queenstown - Milford Sound - Dunedin

As you can guess from the title of this blog we've been on the move quite a bit recently!
On Sunday we enjoyed a day's Kayaking around the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park. After an hour of instruction on paddling, capsizing (i was very worried, Billy wanted to practice in the water.) etc we were let loose to make our way along the coast and around the few closest islands. Although the paddling was tiring we had a really nice day: stopping at several amazing beaches and spotting seals and a blue penguin hiding under a rock.
We camped in an especially scenic free campsite next to two main roads, and the next morning continued down to Punakaiki and the famous pancake rocks. After much pushing and shoving we managed to make room to pick up a loan hitch-hiker we were feeling sorry for - though there wasn't room for the poor girl to breathe! The Punakaiki rocks and blowholes were suitably spectacular and we continued down towards Greymouth rather worried we'd run out of fuel on the way. The '90km to next fuel' shortly before Punakaiki had done little to calm our fuel related worries, but thankfully we made it.
We camped in the lovely 'Shining Star' campsite just south of Greymouth in Hokitika. The campsite was just across from an amazing Gloworm Dell which was very exciting indeed. In the morning we went panning for gold in Ross - but gave in after 2 hours and rather more than 2 arguments about what was and wasn't gold. Despite our earlier enthusiasm when we saw the large nuggets that had been found on sale for $200 dollars we ended up with one small lump of fools gold and decided a career in gold wasn't for us. We'd planned to stop in the afternoon at the Glaciers and then continue, but got waylaid by a notice advertising the chance to spot Kiwi in the wild, so ended up spending the night near Franz Josef. We walked up to the glacier viewpoint at Franz Josef and then headed back to the campsite for a wonderful super-noodle tea (the first time of the trip I am pleased to announce) before heading up to the coast wearing most of our kit bag and most of the bottle of insect repellent. Armed with red torches, radios, fetching bug hats and a large radio receiver we headed out into the bush with our enthusiastic guide Ian, and our even more enthusiastic co-guide Billy (Ian soon regretted this decision). We were split into groups and each given an area to listen in. After about an hour of intent listening with only a Possum spotted one of the Kiwi without a tracker wandered onto the track ahead of my group. Ian radioed Billy and his group ever more frantically until they eventually rocked up about 4 minutes later. (Billy hadn't heard.) Thankfully the Kiwi had stuck around and we got to see her really close (less than 1m away) which was very exciting.
In the morning we got up early and walked up to the Fox glacier before the crowds. Billy was determined to make it back in under the hour advised and after an exhausting frog-march we managed it in half an hour - Billy at least was chuffed. We headed south stopping at a few pretty waterfalls (Thunder Creek Falls and Fantail Falls) and the beautiful Lake Wanaka on the way to Queenstown. We were keen to avoid the myriad of temptations to splurge in Queenstown so after a quick look around headed on further, ending up at a lovely campsite in Mossburn, where we found we were the only guests - Bonus!
On Thursday we headed up to Fiordland, and 'enjoyed' the walk up to the amazing Lake Marion (It was good exercise at least). Once again Billy attempted to beat the suggested duration, though I refused to run back down so we missed the last lake cruise of the day. We camped at the nearby Lake Gunn which was very pretty and enjoyed a night around the campfire with some nice people we met there.
This morning we headed out on the 9.15 cruise around the sounds, which lived up to their reputation as a great place to visit. Billy enjoyed the free muffins too! We then headed over to Dunedin where we've set up camp for the night and hope to explore tomorrow. Cadburys' world is on my agenda and I think we may also be taking a trip to the worlds only mainland albatross colony (at least I'll have the thought of chocolate to keep me going).
See you all soon,
Lots of love,
Rosie and Billy

1 comment:

  1. Arnt you glad about all those geography lessons now? Otherwise, you might have been utterly perplexed by all the waterfalls. All these penguins in the sun is perplexing me, its like madgascar- smile and wave boys, or perhaps new-zealand is just the world capital for non-flying birds. The Albatrosses are there to gloat.


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