New Zealand Wrap-up

IMGP4735Despite the less-than-stellar weather and many nights huddled in Happy Diwali wishing that we were leaving for Australia’s hotter weather sooner, we only have fond memories of New Zealand. It’s such a diverse place, in terms of geography, with the subtropical Bay of Islands and volcanic areas of Rotorua on the North Island, to the beautiful mountains and Fjords in the South Island. It’s really tough for anyone visiting to not be constantly entertained and have a great visit. And despite its slightly less technological feel, in many ways, that’s an endearing quality, to be able to escape to a somewhat simpler time and let you get away from the always-on life we’ve become accustomed to. In that same respect, the people of New Zealand are generally amongst the nicest I’ve met, always very friendly, happy, and accomodating, harkening back to a more innocent age.

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Christmas in Christchurch

I must admit, my non-religious self was a bit skeptical spending a day celebrating the birth of Christ in a place whose name consists of both “Christ” and “Church.” Visions of baby Jesus displays and nativity scenes haunted me prior to arriving in this very British New Zealand city – on the contrary, however, Christchurch afforded Scott and I pretty much the best Christmas we have ever had.

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Akaroa and Kayaking in Kaikoura

Today we’re in Christchurch, where our journey in New Zealand will end. We’re looking forward to the ridiculous heat of Sydney, but we’re also a little sad to leave NZ. It’s been a great time – look forward to a wrapup post in the next few days.

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Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula

We made it all the way to Dunedin yesterday, with plenty of time to explore the town. Dunedin is the most “European” town in NZ, due to its architecture. Victorian churches, red telephone booths and numerous pubs make it seem just like Scotland. We spent most of the time around the “Octagon” – the most happening center of town. We were there right at 5 p.m on Friday – the perfect time to watch locals all flocking together for end-of-the-week beers.

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The Glorious Milford Fjords

Scott standing in front of Milford Sound

Scott standing in front of Milford Glacier

Well, here we are, again in Happy Diwali, feeling somewhat disappointed. Although NZ is a beautiful country, we’re kind of fed up with the awful weather it has been offering us to enjoy its bounty.

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Falling into Queenstown Part Deux: the Canyon Swing

Today’s blog post comes from yours truly, because Scott was too ashamed to write the entry. He totally wossied out and didn’t jump! Just kidding, but I did earn more panty points today than him. :)

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Falling into Queenstown...

… And blowing our budget. Big time.

Here we are sitting in Happy Diwali with an amazing adrenaline afterglow. We’ve just come off skydiving, having survived the 12000ft adrenaline rush. It was an amazing experience and we really want to go again. If we had the cash, we’d do that a few more times, but as I said on the ride back into town after the jump, “If you went up in a plane, and threw out a $5 bill every second for 5 minutes, you’d spend your cash slower than jumping out of the plane.”
Yesterday’s skydive cancellation kind of put a crimp in our style. We were at a loss for what to do, since we had expected to be high on adrenaline, much like we are right now, and we had expected to just fritter away the day on that high, not really caring about much. But instead, the disappointing lack of adrenaline led us to walk around Queenstown, getting a burger, trying to find something else to do, but we ended up heading to our campground really early and just sitting and watching TV all night long. It was actually really nice to kick back and relax with a space heater beside us.

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The Roaring Meg and Mighty Roy

The Roaring Meg

The Roaring Meg

Scott and I have had the pleasure of meeting two of Lake Wanaka’s great natural forces: Meg and Roy.

We arrived into Wanaka two days ago after the drive through the Haast Pass (which actually wasn’t so bad). We immediately went straight to the informaiton centre in town to see if we could book a sledging trip for the afternoon – we were in luck!

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Pancake rocks, Jungle and Glaciers – oh my!

Pancake rocks

Pancake rocks

Last I left off, we were enjoying the rainy sludge that Punakaiki had to offer. The rain did not let up that night, so we decided to take a gamble and try seeing the pancake rocks the next morning. After spending quite some time in the van reading and such, Scott had another spazz – the lack of human contact was getting to him again and he had a bit of a flip out over a bowl of soup…he wanted to go to the town bar (of course – do we see a pattern here with this boy?!). So, off we went to spend some time in the bar.

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South of the North Island and North of the South Island

Scott and I overlooking Wellington.

Scott and I overlooking Wellington.

Well, it’s been a few days and we have lots to catch up on!

We left National Park Village a few days ago to make the trek down to Wellington. The drive was probably the easiest so far – not a whole lot of twists and turns on scary roads…so I decided to take the wheel for a bit and give poor Scott a break.

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