The South Island
Trip Start Feb 02, 2007
20Trip End Mar 12, 2007
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Our ferry journey to the south island was really spectacular. The scenary from the Malborough Sounds was out of this world. Better than any ferry crossing over the english channel to France!! We stayed in Nelson on our first night and apart from Trafalgar St there isn't anything else to see. So after a game of crazy golf, we quickly moved on.
Had quite a long journey up to Golden Bay and the area really lives up to its name. We drove through Abel Tasman National Park and then had to walk through 20 mins worth of bush and we came out on one of the most stunning beaches ever
This place was really good. We got to see a huge colony of seals and cubs. Alot of the seals have already started to migrate down to Milford Sounds where there is more food for them throughout the autumn and winter. While we were in Westport we drove up north 120kms and went to see some arches made out of limestone. The Oparuru Arches. They are huge and apparently world famous. They wont be around for much longer due to erosion so we were lucky to see them!
On our way to Greymouth we stopped off in Punakaiki. This is where the pics of the pancake rocks and blowholes come from. The pancake rocks are formed out of thousands of layers of rock hence their name. Scientists have yet to discover why they were formed that way. The blow holes were quite good too even tho the waves weren't powerful enough for them to be better. There are many holes across the pancake rocks where they have been eroded. Air gets push up from the bottom of the rocks by the water and the result is an explotion of water and a loud noise as the air is released
Stopped at a place called Ross which was a huge gold mining town. The origanal mines are still there and we walked around them. Paraic even went in some of them. the town of Ross is still sited on an estimated 700 million dollars of gold. Its a wonder they haven't dug it up!
This place wasn't what we expected. We imagined it was going to be really cold and maybe a bit icy. On our arrival tho we were shocked as the weather didn't seem to be getting cooler. Franz Josef is unique as it is the only place in the world where there is a glacier and a beach with only 20 mins between each one. The glacier, according to Mauri mythology was created like this... There was once a mauri girl who loved rock climbing. One day she persuaded her boyfriend to go with her on one of her heights. He wasn't keen but cuz he loved her he decided to go. During the walk however he slipped on a rock and plumeted to his death. The story goes that the Mauri girl cried so much that she flooded the valley and the gods froze her tears as a memorial to him.
During our time here we walked to the base of the glacier, climbing over rocks and boulders
This town is really beautiful. A bit like Lake Taupo but much quieter and much more fashionable. The bars are actually quite posh. Have been on another walk to 'Rob Roy Glacier'. It was a 5 hour walk but we did it in 4 hours and it was exhausting. But the views at the end were well worth it!
This is the adventure capital of NZ! There is so much to do here from canyoning - to canyon swinging... anything goes if you dare! The nightlife is good aswell. There aren't many locals here anymore but the tourist population is huge. You are all probably imagining a huge city now ive said all this. However you, like us were wrong. It is a really beautiful town surrounded on one side by rolling hills and on the other side huge mounatins
Welcome to our base for exploring the 'sights of the sound'. We are here for 3 nights and have been on a 120 km drive up to Milford Sounds. There aren't any words to describe the scenery around here, outstanding does't deem to do it justice. The mountains and hills are all so different, many of them are snow capped. In some places there are signs that say 'beware of falling ice"! There is a huge tunnel that goes through a granite mountain for 1219metres! It on a gradient of 10:1 too so its really steep. There are loads of photos but we have chosen some of the best ones otherwise you would be looking at them all day.
Well we have finally reached the bottom of the south island. The town here is awful... a bit like blackpool with no beach, no clubs and no pleasure beach. Really bad and to make matters worse it is raining. Only stopping here one night. While we were here we drove to the southern most point of NZ called Slope Hill
On our drive here we stopped at various points including Surat Bay where there are loads of Sea Lions dotted all over the beach. We were only about 2 metres away from them while they were sleeping and we saw a mum with her baby too which was cute. This is one of the many highlights of NZ, where else could you ealk along a beach so close to sea lions! Then as we thought our day couldn't get any better we went to watch the yellow eyed penguins return from theirs days hunt. These penguins are the only ones to hunt alone and so we only saw 3 but that was amazing too. Dunedin is a dump too. Its still raining aswell and as we arrived late in the evening we had KFC for dinner!
This is a cute little town. it has stopped raining aswell but is still chilly but anything is better than the rain. We booked a trip to see the 'little blue penguins'. First we went to see more yellow eyed penguins (there are only 3000 left in the world so we were really privalaged to be able to see them). The blue penguins are 40cm tall and they only weigh 1kg each
This is the tallest mountain range in NZ. It stands at 3754 metres. It towers above the landscape and can be seem from about 60km away. There is loads of snow on the top. It is surrounded by glaciers but none are as impressive as Franz or Rob Roy. Paraic has gone on a long trek with Aaron and ive stayed in the village for the day as ive done too many walks and its killing me. As im writing this i have spectacular views from the internet cafe and there is a log fire here too which is gorgeous.
This is the best place in NZ for star gazing. There is an observatory here that Canterbury Uni and a Uni from Japan use to conduct their research on astronomy. We went on the astronomy tour up to this observatory and they showed us clusters of stars. They even showed us Saturn which was cool but was only in black and white. We were told loads of facts about space and about how stars were made but it was an information overload for me so i cant remember much..
There has been a huge change of plan. We were well on our way to Greymouth to do a scenic drive when paraic got out the car hire documents and saw we have to take lucy back on the 5th instead of the 11th!! So we have only 3 nights left with her now. So we decided to cometo Akaroa to swim with the hector dolphins. We went out and found the dolphins after some searching. They are native to NZ and there only 7,100 so they are classed as endangered. Had about 45 mins swimming with them in the wild and it was the most amazing things ever! Had about 30 - 40 dolphons altogether!
This is the place to see all sorts of marine life. As we have already done the penguins and dolphons we decided to go whale watching. We were really lucky and got to see whales about to go on one of the 40 minute hunts and whales reappearing after their hunts. They are amazing creatures
This city is also known as the Garden City. This is because for every 3 hectors of land, 1 of them has to be a public park or reserve. It really is very pretty, loads of gardens and rivers and streams running through it. Its so clean aswell. There are your usual high street shops here. We have only one day to explore as we are leaving New Zealand tomorrow heading for Melbourne.
New Zealand has been great. We recommend a visit to everyone. There are parts of the world in this one country, Glaciers, Mountains, Lakes and lots of greenery. Oh yeah and 40 million sheep fit into all that too. The most amazing experience was swimming with the dolphins with whale watching a close second. Im sure you have your own opinions about your favourite place. Enjoy the photos, but you really need to come and see it for yourself!!
Aussie here we come!