New Zealand (south island)

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Photo album and Moive


Day 59. Arrive Christchurch

2 weeks in the South Island. Friends Neil and Sian joined us for 2 weeks. Stayed with volleyball friends, Nina & Brendon who now live here. Even managed to join in her local beach team who needed a couple of players.

Guesting at Nina's beach volleyball tourno


Day 60 - NOT Swimming with dolphins in Akaroa

Up early for the opportunity to swim with dolphins. Unfortunately it was the dolphins day off so it turned out to be a free tour of the harbour. At least we got to freeze to death and worry that the boat would sink in the giant waves out to sea.

...and this is all we actually saw!

Mitsy, the beast in more ways than one!

Day 61 - Attempt to drive to Queenstown in Nina's scrap car...

An ex-police car, 3 litre Mitsubishi V3000. Quickly renamed from 'Mitsy' to 'The Beast' as this seemed more appropriate. However, the reason it was going to the scrap yard soon became apparent in the middle of the mountains 50 miles from anywhere...Two minutes after we got stopped for speeding, we got a puncture... and the spare was flat. After stopping the next 20 cars we found someone with a pump... only to find the tyre was damaged and would only last about 51 miles. However we limped to the next town hoping it wouldn't go bang... (we couldn't go fast anyway as the fuel gauge was off the bottom of red...) Amazingly the next town had a tyre shop but they didn't have our size tyre so we had to bodge one on that was close enough (in my opinion... !)

Only another 3000 miles to go...

Foolishly we took the opportunity to check the oil and water. Both were absent...

The mechanics wished us luck and suggested we joined the AA quickly...

'Will it make it?' 'You must be joking!'

 

View over Queenstown

Day 62 - Queenstown

This is the 'extreme' capital of NZ and all started well. At the top of the cable car is a luge track which you razz down on little go-karts, scaring everyone else on the track.

 

Great hats, great fun.

Spot the dolphin!

In the afternoon we went river boarding - Basically white water rafting using a body board rather than a raft. Unfortunately it was a bit tame. The feeling of impending doom only came when we jumped off the cliff at the end. Neil (who started off not comfortable in water) did it to avoid being called a girl. However he landed on his arse. And having a bruised arse is ideal for...

 

12 metres. The highest I've ever jumped in from. Click for movie.
Click for movie (100kb)

I'm not sure what the horse is laughing at

Day 63 - Horse riding
Horses are brilliant. They're like a fat motorbike with an attitude problem. However we went with 'Poncy stables' who didnt realise the idea was to see how fast they could go, and thought we might be impressed with scenery. My horse, was so wet it was supposed to have been in Lord of the Rings but got stage fright...

White Lightening and Thunder.

At least our horses had cool names. Mine was 'Thunder' , Michelle's was 'White Lightening', Sian's was 'Rocket'. Neil's was called 'Nigel'...

 

Day 64 - Queenstown to Franz Josef
Long drive through the mountains in awful weather. Fortunately we had no more breakdowns. Stopped on route for some 'extreme volleyball' The New Zealand diet has affected us both in different ways...

We're thinking of buying www.extremevolleyball.com
and at a cool place called 'Puzzle World' that was full of optical illusion type things.

 

The treasure we personally broke off

Day 65 - The Fox Glacier

Wind and rain like you've never seen before. We had booked onto a guided walk, but they cancelled it as the weather was so awful. So obviously we went on our own...

Glaciers are amazing things. Huge beyond your imagination and constantly moving unstopably down the mountain like a... err... umm.... giant piece of ice?


Day 66 - Franz Josef to Nelson

After exploring the Franz Josef glacier we had another long drive. Knowing that The Beast uses up it's water it seemed obvious to check the level before the long journey. What is even more obvious it that opening the radiator when hot is a stupid idea and all I managed was a boiling hot fountain which emptied the water that was left all over the engine bay...

That's why it says ''Do not open hot''

Deserted bays of Abel Tasman National Park

Day 67 & 68 - Nelson
The Abel Tasman National Park is the pretty bit at the top of the North Island. Not very exciting though. Hired sea kayaks to visit split apple rock and took on all comers at the hostel beach volleyball court. Obviously we beat everyone (but only 'cos the 7ft German couldn't find a good partner!)

Split apple rock, moments before it closed back up...

We've no idea why we're putting on weight...

Day 69 - Picton

Neil and Sian left us to fly back home. We consoled ourselves with a long walk which confirmed to us how unfit we are. For the first time in my life I'm putting on weight.

North Island, excercise and diets here we come...

Leaving South Island behind

 

Next country - NZ north