Eight-Day Road Trip South Island, NZ

Trip Start Feb 02, 2009
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Trip End Jun 29, 2009


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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The eight day road trip kicked off with us heading out North from Christchurch up to a little tiny town in the Marlborough Sounds called Portage. One of the crazy Kiwi guys (Adam) we met at Boulder was nice enough to put us up in his boat shed for a few nights and this was no ordinary boat shed. It was equipped with a full working kitchen, four comfy beds, and a card table. We got up the next morning and went snorkeling while we waited for Adam's dad to roll in on a water taxi. His dad showed us the Sound and how to find the best fishin holes. We had a hey day and caught over 15 fish. That night we grubbed out and played some cards. Adam and his dad treated us great and really made us feel welcome to the friendly South Island.
 
We continued West for about two hours and came to New Zealand's 2nd oldest town called Nelson. It was a beautiful town with a river running through the middle sandwiched by mountains and the ocean. However because it was so popular, all the hostels were booked up so Pete and I ended up falling asleep in the back of our rental car. It wasn't all that bad after a great night of partying.
 
The next morning we continued South West over the Alps coming down to the coast. It took us about five hours because of all our many stops. We checked out some vineyards/gardens and stopped off to walk over NZ longest suspension bridge. After a nice swim in the river we continued to the coast and the next 100 or so km down to Greymouth was the best I've ever driven. Beautiful green cliffs dropping into crashing clear blue water was hard to catch on a camera. We stopped at these pancake rocks that are formed as the tectonic plate gets pushed vertical and the waves crash against them over hundreds of millions of years. Pretty cool stuff!  
When we got to Greymouth we checked into a great hostel. It was built next to a stream that takes you out to these wetlands and they offered free sea kayaks so of course PT and I took advantage of that. We also took advantage of their free bike rentals and biked into town for a good fish n' trip dinner. We even had time to catch a great sunset out on the wharf.  
 
We continued our road trip south bound and we made sure to try and capture the beauty that is the South Island.  We rolled into Fox Glacier around lunch time and while we waited for our guided trip to the glacier to start we hiked out to a lake that had some stunning views of the mountains. The guide to the Glacier was well worth it especially because some Auzzi's died trying to hike up around it a year prior. The two hour hike began by walking through the massive valley the Glacier has been creating for over 2,000 years. At the time the massive moving piece of ice was retreating (melting faster than the speed at which it was moving and it was moving 5 cm per day). As we got closer it became colder and colder because the wind coming off the ice shelf was constant and pretty damn cold. But it warmed up as we hiked around through the rain forest. When we finally got to the trail head of the glacier we strapped on "cramp-ons" so we wouldn't slip when we were on the ice. By the time we got to the top we were standing on 150 meters of ice or roughly 450 ft. We made it back time for a quick dinner and then drove out through a national park to Gillespie's Beach. We caught the most incredible sunset because not only did you have the sun fading into the ocean you could see the orange glow on Mt. Cook (NZ tallest mountain) right behind you. We finished off the night at the local town pub and enjoyed the company of some of the locals including our Fox Glacier tour guide Sam.
 
We continued south toward Queenstown and on the way stopped at a few great mountain towns for coffee and lunch and also decided to swim under a 600 ft waterfall. Coming town to the extreme capital of the world (Queenstown) was amazing because it sits in a valley on a beautiful lake. It was quite the party town and PT and I obviously took advantage of that and we also took advantage of the extreme activities the town had to offer. The Nevis is the largest bungy jump in NZ and I think 5th largest in the world. It is set up in a very deep gorge and the platform is suspended by wire looking down the very center of it. It definitely takes some balls to jump 134 meters (or an 8 second free fall) into a massive gorge before being thrusted back up for another few seconds of free fall! We were also very lucky because not many people were doing the swing on the other side of the canyon that day so they offered a special- 2 for the price of one. So of course we had to do the largest swing every built as well (feel free to look on my Pete's facebook videos to catch that one).
 
Our last leg of the road trip was driving a 6 hour trek back to Christchurch. We stopped at a vineyard and cheesery and pulled over at some more beautiful lakes. Christchurch wasn't much to right home about but it gave us a chance to look back at an incredible week driving the South Island.
 
We miss you all and hope this blog is doing a good job keeping you updated with our adventure.
 
Love the Spelke Boys 
 
    
 
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
In our Car
Portage Boat Shed
Base Hostel, Queenstown

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Comments

jimandshell
jimandshell on

Amazing!!!!
Awesome blog-Jim and I read your blogs/pics together...You guys have done such an amazing job, we almost feel like we're there! Jim wants to know what the most popular local beers are. Could you change our email to beerandwine@q.com ?? Keep having fun!

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