The South has seen us busier than ever and we have moved through it an alarmingly fast rate! Following our short but sweet time in Nelson we headed to the Abel Tasman which is (debatably) the most beautiful part of New Zealand; we were given over an hours training (excessive I know, but it was for a fancy kayak… it had a rudder and everything) and we made our way up the east coast where we saw some unbelievable views and also managed to get quite close to the seals and their pups on Adele Island. From this strenuous day we had a mammoth 4 hour drive straight down to Greymouth where we stayed one night in a hostel in order to avoid an 8 hour journey to the Franz Josef Glacier (our primary destination). Following a colossal amount of eye spy games we made it to the Glacier and checked into our hostel. This is where things went a little downhill; Brogan says she instantly smelt sick mixed with excessive amounts of cleaning detergent (I didn’t – perhaps my sense of smell was destroyed by rotten eggs Rotarua) which wasn’t the best start, followed shortly after in the morning with the bad news that the helicopter glacier hike was cancelled! They say bad things come in threes which seems to ring true as the earthquake damage to Kaikoura means we were unable to book onto the whale watching tour!
Things looked up by the time we arrived in the activity hotspot, Queenstown. Our accommodation was less backpackerish than usual but after our cancellations and disappointment we thought we would have a little luxury thrown in there! The hosts Mary and Rory were brilliant and we also met a few others including two honeymooners (definitely not backpacker accommodation). It was difficult deciding what to do with so many options but Queenstown saw us cable car to the top of the mountains and race down the luges (note – we incorrectly attached the go pro to the helmet and it flew off half way down the track but survived with just some scratches), ride the shotover jet which takes you in and out of canyon walls at 40mph with the sole intention of getting as close as they can without damaging the boat (a cool £250,000 if anybody fancies one), and finally the onsen hot pools where you sit in a natural hot tub (champers in hand), click a button and a shutter door retracts to reveal the views of Queenstown.
In stark contrast, I managed to convince Brogan to stay in a glamping tent in the middle of a farmer’s field near Lake tekapo (I say near but it was in the middle of nowhere) complete with a portaloo, no phone service and about 300 freshly sheared sheep. After a bbq with drinks in the sun and a game of cluedo absent Snapchat or Facebook, Brogan eventually agreed it was a good idea! It was all going so well, but I’ll admit the next incident was not so ideal. As we settled into bed ready to switch off the solar lamps, Brogan screams at the top of her voice ‘WHAT WAS THAT’ and we both jumped out of bed to witness a pretty hefty spider strutting across the bed. From this moment on, any chance of a good night’s sleep was blown out of the window, the slightest of sounds or movements was shortly followed by Brogan jumping out of bed and in turn a stressed and disorientated Jamie confused from all the commotion!
We are now in a place called Geraldine staying with a wonderful host called Annette who has just this minute offered to cook us Bacon and Eggs in the morning (Brogan thinks she has the hots for me), tomorrow we head up to Hanmer Springs (4 hour drive) leaving just 2 more destinations to go in the land of the Kiwi!
Jamie & Brogan