Its all good fun, but where's the sun??

Trip Start Mar 15, 2006
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Trip End May 30, 2007


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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Friday, June 2, 2006

Having crossed over to the South Island, we have spent the last few days working our way down the west coast and then inland to Queenstown.

The difference in scenery has been instantly recognisable, we have moved from the impressive to the awesome. Everything seems bigger and wilder here, kinda the New Zealand I would have imagined. The greenery is thick and lush, with the feeling of being in a Rainforest. The mountains are high and mighty; and the waves blows in off the sea with a fierce power.

The whole time we had been on the North Island we were hearing the hype building up for the Rugby Super 14's that was approaching. Rugby is by far the biggest sport here. The semi-finals were played whilst we were travelling, and then the final would be on our first night on the South Island. Seeing as it was so big I had to watch it. Unfortunately, along with the rest of the country, this was kind of hard. The game was there on the screen, but due to unexpected thick fog you couldn't actually make out much of what was going on, even to the extent that the players couldn't always see the ball!!

Well the Crusaders beat the Hurricanes 19-12 in a pretty entertaining match, all considering. What turned out to be the biggest news story for the next week though, centred around one of the players hitting one of his teammates round the head with a woman's handbag whilst on the celebratory night afterwards. And this kinda sums up the nation's humour and outlook really...very laid back, and ready to take the you-know-what in preference to having to worry about big issues. I kinda like it.

Well we reached Queenstown, the international capital of extreme sports, having passed glaciers and all sorts of natural beauty. The town is a beautiful place, sat on the edge of a huge lake and surrounded by mountains. There is so much on offer to do and entertain yourself with, but it isn't exactly cheap. It would be very easy to spend a lot of money here...and on a very good high.

We decided we had to go on the famous 'Shotover Jet' boat ride, as its the one thing that you can't really do anywhere else. Wow, that was fun. Those drivers are nuts. They race along the shallow waters of this deep gorge on the Shotover river at whatever speed they do, with the icy wind in your face making it hard to see, and they shoot past the rock walls, turning corners and missing them by centimetres. Then all of a sudden, with a whirl of his hand, you are launched into a 360 degree spin before carrying on down the river, bumping across the stones a few inches below you.

It had also been my intention to do a bungy jump here, and I kind of regret not doing, but I couldn't really justify the expense of the location. I'm hoping I can now find somewhere else thats cool along the way, and maybe a little cheaper.

All the while on my trip I had had the comment from New Zealanders that, "Oh my, you're going to the South Island in winter, phwoar thats gonna be cold man?". I don't know, wusses, I'll admit its pretty chilly, but when you've just come from Bolivia at 5,000 metres, I tell you, this is nothing. Nice to be able to have that boast though!!

Having said that, I am a little upset. It means my tan is disappearing!! I worked for 2 months on that, and now I'm fading back to my British standard. Not impressed.
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