Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Our New Zealand Adventure - March 2009

Kevin and I decided to take advantage of some of the amazing specials on offer at the moment to travel to New Zealand. Being only 4 hours away and wondering if we would ever be able to go again, we decided to just go! We looked into renting a motor home for a week and magically, it all fell into place. After deciding to travel the South Island, we flew over to Christchurch on the Saturday night and stayed in a hotel. The next day, the adventure began…..
Sunday 22 March
We picked up the motor home in the morning and after quickly packing, set off South to Ranitata on the East Coast, then inland to Lake Tekapo. We stopped for a break and let the boys throw rocks into the water. It wasn’t long before Sam wanted to go in the glacier fed lake (must be those Canadian genes!). Kevin decided that sounded like a great idea and a little skinny dipping experience happened!!!

The water is such a brilliant blue, so calming and truly beautiful. So we stopped again at Lake Pukaki. Sam and Harry were climbing across the boulders surrounding the lake, and poor Sam fell in! It gave him a fright and he got very wet but he was ok.

We continued on to Omarama where we camped for the night. We had bean tacos, which the resident cat decided he should try but lived to regret!! Although it was a big driving day, we saw so many beautiful things and were happy to all be together.
Monday 23 March
We woke early to a beautiful day and eat breakfast in the motor home on the way to Wanaka. The terrain was starting to get more mountainous and Kev found a great spot for a hike. I stayed with the boys and read a book and relaxed.

We arrived in Wanaka, a beautiful little town nestled on the banks of Lake Wanaka, around lunch time. The boys had another play and swim (brrrrrrrr) in the lake, then some lunch at the pub. We went to Puzzling World and the kids (ok, big and small!) had a blast!! The bathroom was awesome with a depiction of an old Roman bathroom. We had fun running through the maze and checking out all the illusions.

We found another great campground and after eating hamburgers, soaked our weary bodies in the hot tub. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it? Not with 2 little boys, who were very excited and with boundless energy after being in the van all day!!! Still it was a nice luxury and the boys thoroughly enjoyed it!
Tuesday 24 March

We awoke to another beautiful, warm day, and we were destined for Queenstown, only a short drive away. We set up camp, a pleasant down hill walk to town! We did a little shopping, then let Sam have a sleep. Harry and Kevin found a jumping, harness trampoline thingy and jumped the afternoon away and even managed to do some washing. (I hear you – washing on day 3?! Remember wet clothes from lake and it was cooler than we expected at night). We then re-grouped and headed up the gondola for a quick and exciting Luge ride. Harry and I beat Kevin and Sam down. It was super fun but Kev said he wasn’t trying!! We saw a Maori performance that Harry, Sam and I participated in. The balls we are swinging are called Poi and are used by the females for entertainment purposes. Doesn’t look that hard but believe me, it was. Harry did awesome and out shined his mother. Sam stood on stage with his fingers in his mouth the whole time! Priceless. We then caught the Gondola back down and walked to town for a lovely dinner. Queenstown is a lovely city with everything available within walking distance. It was very touristy, but heck, we were tourists so we enjoyed it!

View from the top of the luge
View from top of the Gondola

Wednesday 25 March
We got up early and walked to town to catch the steam ship TSS Earnshaw over to Walters Peak farm. We got to watch the sheep being herded and then a sheep was shorn. Then put on a lovely morning tea with a real English feel. Next we saw more farm animals including some Scottish Highland cows. They even had a lady spinning wool and my head was wiring. Even Kevin said, “Wow, maybe we should get a sheep”. Hahaha, can you imagine! The afternoon, was a little slower, just lazing at the campground.
On the boat, approaching the farm

Thursday 26 March
After leaving Queenstown early for the big driving day ahead, we decided we needed to make small but frequent stops.

The road was very narrow and winding with spectacular scenery. We made it to Fox Glacier about 1pm. We had a relaxing lunch at the pub then headed out to the Glacier for a comfortable hike. We continued on to Franz Josef (another glacier town) where we camped for the night. Across the road from our camp ground was a man made hot pools. Heaven!
View from the road

Hiking up to the glacier

We made it to Fox Glacier!

Knights Point

Driving over one of the many one lane bridges
Fantail Falls
Friday 27th March
The drive to Hokitika was VERY slow and VERY windy! I thought the roads in Canada could be scary but these roads take the cake! You can imagine though that the views were breathtaking.
The boys didn't seem to mind....
There was the added distraction of livestock. Not only are we stopped for the one lane bridge, but for a herd of cattle!! The boys thought this was very cool.

We ate lunch in Hokitika, bought some local wool and browsed through the shops on the main street. A couple of hours outside of Christchurch we stumbled upon Cave Stream near Castle Hill. We all walked down to the freezing little stream and waded through. Kevin started off carrying me through the creek but I decided that was silly, and rather painful! We had great fun exploring the opening of the cave and ended up swimming in the stream. Kevin was brave enough to go skinny dipping again but the boys and I only got our legs wet!! We continued on to Christchurch to set up camp for the night.

Um, I don't think that guy is wearing any pants!!!

Saturday 28th March
Today we went to the Art Centre for an authentic Artisan Market. The markets were great and so was the setting. The buildings were amazing and the food…fantastic! We walked through the Botanic Gardens and visited a very impressive rose garden. Then we caught the tram through the city circuit, had a quick look through Cathedral Square and ever so quickly it was time to check into the hotel.
Kevin returned the motor home and we went to our last tourist destination, Antarctic World, right across the road from the hotel. The kids had a blast and Kevin and I actually learnt a lot. The best part of the afternoon was getting to ride in an Antarctic all-terrain amphibious vehicle. The guy driving has one the best jobs. He gets to drive over massive hills and crevasses, scaring the heck out of people and doing it really fast!!! FUN! After a very expensive dinner at the hotel it was to bed for us. We had to get up at 3:30am to get to the airport – YUCK.
All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed out holiday. We all think New Zealand is a great place to visit. Kevin thought it was a lot like BC all crammed into one little island. There was always something to see or do, and has left us wishing we could have another few weeks to keep exploring the rest of NZ. For now though, we are satisfied and getting used to the normality’s of life at 'home' in sunny Queensland.

1 comment:

Suat Duman said...

hmm great.
That is good a blog.