Wow, can’t believe it’s almost the end of our time in New Zealand. Thanks for sticking with me so far if you’re still reading this!
So we headed south west-ish towards Lake Tekapo, a place famous for watching stars at night as its so unpolluted by light. By day it’s also pretty awesome.
We camped at a place called Lake Pukaki near Lake Tekapo, it had really sweet views! I stayed up late and watched the stars, there were so many and I saw a couple of shooting stars too.
A strange contingent of chinese people in cars turned up in the middle of the night next to us – car doors kept slamming, luggage was being moved and at one point they seemed to packing a tent away. Weird.
In the morning, it turned out they parked their 4 cars in a cross with the luggage in the middle so no one could steal it easily…
Sunset just starting to form!
We headed up to Mt Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain and also where Sir Edmund Hillary climbed before Everest. From the information I read, Mt Cook is a tough one to climb – about 80 people have died trying to climb this. By the way, I don’t think I have a picture of Mt Cook itself but here are the surrounding mountains!
Below is Hooker Valley, a nice 3 hour return trip. You can just about make out the glacier in the middle, the colour is a bit different from the snow and looks blue.
Tasman Valley with shorter walks (15-30 minutes) and bigger icebergs than Hooker Valley. Our reward of the Glacier route below (just about see icebergs on the right).
If you walk the Tasman river route instead, you end up where the icebergs are for a better view! It was pretty awesome.
View looking back the other way on our return. Looks like it could have been in Lord of the Rings!
We headed to Queenstown, famous for being the adventure capital of New Zealand – bungee jumping, sky diving etc! We’re boring so did none of those, although we did risk our budget to try the famous Fergburger, the queue below is in the ‘quiet’ season. It was pretty tasty but Chris has had better in New York. I think we prefer 7bone overall…bring on the dirty fries!
We also did some laundry, I make a comment about this because when you’ve been away for a while with limited clothing, laundry days are great. Clean clothes are amazing.
Whilst camping near Queenstown, a mouse invaded our campervan around 11pm. His name was Frank. In the style of Michael Palin and David Attenborough this is a brief excerpt of what happened (we’ve been listening to MP’s audio books and watching DA’s series):
[MP]: I was sat in bed reading my book when I suddenly noticed a tiny furry face staring at me, I stared back in shock not expecting to share my bed with a mouse.
[DA]: Here we have the mouse, one of nature’s most opportunistic mammals. Its small size means it can take advantage of any nooks and crannies to forage for food and to hide from predators.
[fast forward to the end]
[DA]: The mouse keeps darting to escape [queue tense music] from the predator until at last it gets away!
[MP]: Well, that was enough excitment for one night, back to bed.
Ying again, we threw the mouse out 3 times but it kept finding a way in and nibbling on our stuff including my home made brownies (!) and took a shit on my banana. Little bastard. We didn’t sleep properly until 4am when he didn’t return.
So we booked a sea kayaking trip at Milford Sound. By the way, a sound is when it’s formed by river erosion and a fjord is formed by glacier erosion. Except the people that be got it wrong and it should have been Milford Fjord! But no matter, they decided to call the area Fiordland National Park except they also misspelt Fjord too. Oops.
We camped nearby (accommodation at Milford was booked out) and set off just before dawn for our kayaking trip as it’s about an hour’s drive. Pretty awesome views.
Here we are, dressed up in the latest fashion. Around this time, we heard a helicopter and then saw it carrying several deer carcasses and dropping it off nearby, not what you expect to see at 7.30 in the morning. I found out that locals like to hunt their own meat.
Sea kayaking is surprisingly hard work, we did a 10km loop. Paddling should be done with the core, less with the arms. It was tough not to bend my arms. It was fun and I saw a couple of penguins swimming nearby. One of the other tourists complained about gelato, about how it’s not real ice cream because it has egg in it… I don’t know (according to wiki it doesn’t) but gelato tastes great! Anyone who disses ice cream/gelato is wrong and stupid :p
We spontaneously booked a cruise trip after as we decided to wanted to see more of the Sound (we only saw a little on our kayaking trip). Here are some photos from the cruise, you can see the valleys carved out by glaciers.
A couple of penguins hopping about!
On our drive out of Milford Sound! So many waterfalls.
We didn’t have much we wanted to do in our last couple of days but headed to the east coast – Oamaru, famous for penguins. We saw some at our campsite, they raise their chicks under the floor boards of the buildings…
We had a wander around the town and I found this awesome door from one of my favourite books when I was younger!
Oamaru has a Steampunk museum. Possibly the only one in the world (that I know of). It was pretty cool and weird. Definitely weird.
Creepy statue on the roof.
A steampunk playground!
So New Zealand, it’s done. Thanks for our awesome times including the shitty spring weather and the extortionate prices of things especially NZD $5 for a cucumber (probably about 2.50/3 GBP) that Chris constantly likes to point out. The price does drop when it’s in season.
We met up with old friends (yay), made more new friends – and 2 of them are Claire and Pete, strangely enough from Southampton (again)! The world is truly a small place.
So since then we’ve been to Singapore, currently now in Kuala Lumpur, due to head to Hong Kong for xmas and then Vietnam after. Bye!