Connections Tour Week 1!

Trip Start Jan 31, 2009
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Trip End Jul 14, 2009


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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hellooooo! We've had really good fun this week travelling around the South Island. It has been FREEZING!!!! I think I've finally got use to the coldness and just constantly wear a hat and about 5 layers!!! But we've all said that we're so glad that we came at this time of year as it's so different to all the places visited so far! And also, its been great fun to catch up on the snow we missed in February!!

So, our tour began last Sunday morning. We met everyone else doing our tour and our driver Scot and guide Chelsey who are both lovely. There has been lots of driving but it has all been sooooooo beautiful. We have stops every few hours at gorgeous spots (as you can see from the amount of scenic photos!). On our first day we had a walk in the afternoon as a break from driving and saw Mount Cook which was really cool. Our first night was at Lake Ohau Lodge. The accommodation has also been so lovely...much posher than most the hostels I've been staying in!!! In the evening after a yummy dinner (it was lasagne!! :-) ) we went in the outdoor hot tub, it was great fun!

Mornings have generally been quite early, often leaving a place around 7.30-8ish so that we can get to the next place in good time. On Monday we drove to a place called Manapouria where we got a ferry for an hour and then another bus for a little bit which took us to our boat for the overnight cruise!!! The weather was great that day so the views were just stunning! We boarded the big boat around 4ish and had the chance to do a few different things. I went kayaking which was great fun, the cold and wetness was well worth it!!! We were supposed to of been on a cruise in the Milford Sounds but that boat wasn't running so we got upgraded to the Doubtful Sounds cruise which was a lovely boat. All the food while we been in New Zealand has been sooooo good...so yeh, definitely NOT going to fit into clothes when i get home!!

In the evening we played a few games of cards and cluedo before going to bed in our little cosy cabins! The next morning on the boat was so exciting!!! We were woken up by a roaster noise over the loud speaker...yeh that bit wasn't so exciting...BUT so glad that we were, as a pod of dolphins was swimming right by the boat just after we'd had breakfast!!!! It was amazing!!! There were 7-8 dolphins that were jumping up out of the water, it was so cool! We also saw seals and penguins...it was a good animal morning that day!!! Once off the boat we drove for a few hours to Queenstown. Again the accommodation was lovely. We met up with two guys (twins Olly and Ralph) who Amy and Emma had met in Sydney who happened to be staying at the same place so that was really cool. That evening we went out to an Ice Bar which was great fun! You're only allowed to stay inside the bar for half an hour by law as it is freezing...which you would kinda expect seeing as though EVERYTHING was made out of ice! We then went onto another bar in Queenstown which was great fun.

Wednesday was adrenaline day! Ames, Em and I had a Shotover Jet ride at 10am. This was a crazy 25min ride through the Shotover River Canyons in a jet boat!! It was insane!!! There were blocks of ice on the river and the jackets that we had to wear had ice all over them!! The speed at which the boat was going meant the wind was painfully cold...definitely woke us up and cleared any fuzzy heads from the night before!!! haha. Then in the afternoon I jumped out of a plane!!! woooo!!  It was so cool!!! I wasn't really that scared up until just before we were about to jump out and then freaked out a little, being 12,000ft high, but there was no going back then and before I knew it we were out of the door!! It was amazing, the first few seconds you feel like you're gonna die...but then it's really cool! The scenery was soooooooo stunning. It was such a cool experience, definitely recommend it!!

On Thursday we left Queenstown in the morning and had a long driving day to Fox Glacier, made even longer by SNOW! When we stopped for lunch it had just began to fall, and then a few hours later we had to stop and put snow chains on the bus and roads were beginning to be closed. We had to wait quite a while for one road to be cleared, but no one minded as this gave us chance to go and play in the snow!!! :-) It was great fun, especially being with quite a few people in our group who had never seen snow before! We eventually arrived at our accommodation and after dinner took part in the Pub Quiz which was good fun! I was useless (my amazing lack general knowledge!! :-) ) but the team I was in came second!!

Yesterday we had to be at the Glacier Shop to get ready for a hike at 7.30am. We were given out boots and equipment and then had a short bus journey to the glacier. It was great fun, hard work...LOADS of stairs to climb but well worth it!!! Walking on the glacier was amazing! Our guide said that it was warmer than it had been in a while on the day we went so we didn't need as many layers as we thought, but when you stopped walking you still noticed the cold! We then had another long drive to get the our next stop; Flock Hill Sheep Station. Again, the snow held us up a little, but we watched Remember The Titans on the journey, such a good film! 

Last night we played a few games and tried a few 'Flock Hill Challenges' such as climbing over a table without touching the ground and other weird but fun things!! Then this morning we had a tour of the Sheep Farm. They showed us how the sheer the sheep and then took us out to the field to watch the sheep dogs round up the sheep! It was really cool! It was great walking through the thick crunchy snow in the field and the surroundings were so pretty!

Our group changes tomorrow as only 12 out of the 33 people are also going to the South Island. Its been a really nice group, Laura (a girl Amy and Em travelled with in Oz) is also on our tour so that's cool, and everyone else is lovely too. We're now in Christchurch again tonight and tomorrow we're off to Nelson.

I hope you're all enjoying the hot weather back home!! I hear it been boiling recently, complete opposite of what we have here! At least England will actually feel warm when i get back...although by then i bet it will be raining! Can't believe I have just over a week left! It's a weird feeling, but really really looking forward to seeing everyone!

loads of love xxxxxxxxxx
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Comments

avrilwhite
avrilwhite on

Going to be first to comment again!!!
Hi anna lovely to wake up to your news this morning- both on your travel blog and on facebook! Your talk for the annniversary is brilliant - just what we needed!! Thank you so much - you ve covered everything! Was I really your knight in shining armour?! Sounds as if you are still having an amazing time!! Can t believe the snow!! What a contrast to the sun of everywhere else you ve been! And you ve done a sky dive!!! I want to hear all about it - I think I trust your opinion of whether I can do it or not more than my kids!! Can t believe that this is your last week! Is going to be strange to sleep in the same bed every night!! But then the excitement of going to uni will kick in!! Meant to say that your mum and dad are welcome to the anniversary celebration too! So looking forward to seeing you ang going to cinnamon square- think we ll need to stay for coffee, lunch and afternoon tea so I can catch up on your news!! Have a wonderful last week and see you soon!!!

margeandfarge
margeandfarge on

oooo dolphins!!!!
Fantastic photos AND you got to see dolphins. Remember our boat trip to Spain to cature a sight of some- never to be forgotten!!!
Everything fine here
Yes good for you catch up on the snow you missed.
Heat wave has finished now bit still warm. You look like you are really enjoying N.Z
Can't wait to see you on the 14th!!!
Lots of love Mum xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

cherith
cherith on

Frenetic!!
Anna I can't believe you are almost at the end of your wonderful time away! You just seem to have had the trip of a lifetime and an experience that you will never ever forget! Your photos have been so brilliant and I look forward one day to seeing a few more!

Your time in NZ brings back so many memories for me although of course we were there in their Autumn! I remember so well climbing all those steps getting up to the glacier and then walking on it - so brilliant in the crampons etc! Being more mature we didn't do any of the adrenalin stuff in C'Church, although I desperately wanted to but John sadly didn't! Maybe her really IS mature!

Life has been chaotic here - had a wonderful time in Canada - a week on Vancouver Island which is lovely but not a patch on NZ!! Taking 2 weeks out of the school term has meant a frenetic week leading up to piano exams! Julia has moved back home having finished her time at Queenswood and Matthew is moving in for a couple of months! There have been Hen and Stag does (James still on his as I type!!) and all the Amess family here to stay - all 5 sleeping in Julia's bedroom - hilarious!! We had 10 sleeping here on Fri/Sat!! I have invested in a new airbed!

Julia has just sped off to John Lewis to choose crockery for the gift list - a bit of a last minute thing!! She, James and Amy all go to Switzerland at the crack of dawn tomorrow for 3 and a 1/2 weeks - all to near the wedding me thinks! (James has to go back to C'Bridge this evening as he has forgotten his passport and in fact doesn't know where it is!! ) We think it's all coming together but there are still a load of loose ends!! Not good for the anxiety levels!!

So look forward to seeing you at some point on your return - but until then..
Lots of love
Cherith

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