01.04.2012 - 10.04.2012 23 °C
Well, following the skydive, I was on a complete high! We continued our journey to Queenstown and headed out for ‘all you can eat’ pizza (which the boys well and truly made the most of!) and drinks… lovely end to a fantastic day!
The following day we had decided to go white water rafting… this was another one of those things that I swore I just couldn’t ever do. The journey to the river was one not to be forgotten. We were travelling on a dirt track that was not meant for buses or people towing trailers. We were in a bus, and towing a trailer with four rafts! There were no edges to the dirt track and we were surrounded by sheer drops, one part was so tight our bus driver had to take one wheel almost off the edge to get around. We had a guy talking us all through the journey, and he really had it in for me as he could see me covering my eyes! This same guy turned out to be our instructor in our boat, to my horror! We were dressed in wet suits and wet shoes, and rain jackets and massive life jackets, oh and not forgetting helmets… we felt like we were being slowly cooked as the sun was beaming. I was sure, given the outfits we’d been supplied with, that we were going to spend most of our trip on the river in the actual water instead of the raft! We were shown what to do, and what not to do, and told to never stand in the river if we fell in as we could get our feet stuck under rocks and basically drown - fab. So, with our training done we jumped in the rafts and headed off down the river. Our instructor taught us how to paddle and some commands for when we hit the rapids. When our first rapid approached I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was great! We were all over the place and soaked, and some people in the other boats fell out, but we made it all in tact It was shortly after this point that our instructor told us that we could take a voluntary swim should we choose to. Lee and Lasse decided to and looked hilarious bobbing down the river They were loving it until the water got to their ‘bits’ and then their faces changed and they decided it was time to get back in the boat! They then managed to smash heads on entry back into the boat which was hilarious! We went through a section which had 6 rapids one after the other and they all had different names, and god they were pretty crazy, the water was wild! We headed through a 170m cave, and out the other side was our final rapid to go through which was renowned for flipping rafts and ensuring everyone had a swim. We could see the drop approaching and the water looking crazy, and then we were there and all over the place, with water everywhere! It was a fantastic experience and now we can’t wait to try grade 5 rapids!
We must have been having withdrawal symptoms from Asia as we ended up in a Thai restaurant for dinner and then headed home for our usual card games and drinks. Off we all went to bed to then be woken up at 1am with the fire alarm blaring. I must have woken up in a complete panic wondering what on earth was going on as I jumped out of bed, threw my duvet on the floor, opened the curtains and then tried pulling Lee off the top bunk! After the alarm blaring for about 10 minutes it turned out to be a false alarm, and was due to a faulty fire alarm, which has apparently happened a few times… maybe it’s time they replaced that alarm!
The following morning we were back on the bus headed to Doubtful Sound for an overnight cruise. We boarded a ferry to take us to a bus, to take us to the boat we were sailing on for the night. On we got and were greeted with hot muffins, perfect Doubtful Sound was beautiful, the sort of place you could take a million photos… pretty much like the whole of NZ really! We headed out on a boat and took a look at the landscape, and saw recent landslides. We then sailed towards the open sea and a local Fur Seal Colony, and learnt that there are Great White Sharks lurking in the waters. Not sure that was exactly what the people that had been swimming earlier in the day were keen on hearing! The trip seemed to be centred around food as our dinner was amazing. We had an early start the following morning and headed out to see the sunrise, followed by a lovely full English brekkie, Mmm We were then lucky to see some Bottle Nose Dolphins swimming around and playing in the waters. Our Captain turned off the engines at one point and we had the chance to just enjoy the silence of the Sound, which was lovely. Our trip on the Sound came to an end and we headed back on the bus to board the ferry to take us back into civilisation. We then headed back to Queenstown, which we’ve developed quite a soft spot for. We got to have a look around again and get ourselves a famous ‘Ferg Burger’… and it lived up to its name, lovely!
The following morning we headed to Naseby. On the way, we stopped for a bike ride, along the Otago railway, which ended up being a 23 mile long bike ride! The group then played a game of touch rugby and we all had a nice pub dinner Naseby apparently only has a population of 100, it really did feel like we were in the middle of nowhere! There wasn’t even a proper road leading to the place, just a gravel track, and there seemed to be nothing for miles around. The following day we were headed for Methven, for our last night as a group On the way we stopped at Moeraki Boulders which were pretty cool. These almost perfectly round boulders just plonked on the beach, but totally natural – very strange! Once we made it to Methven, there wasn’t really much to do as everyone seemed to have run away for the Easter weekend, so a pretty quiet night was had by all.
The following morning was basically another day on the bus, travelling back to Wellington on the North Island. After saying a very sad goodbye to most of our fellow passengers in Christchurch, we carried on and had a brief stop again in Kaikora. It was nice to see this pretty little place again, as the sun was shining this time! We stopped off at a seal colony on our journey, and saw the adults sunning themselves on the rocks. We then headed to see the babies, god they were small! Next stop, was Picton Airport… or should I say shack! We were taking a scenic flight back to the North Island, and the plane was about the same size as the skydiving one, with only 12 little seats. We boarded, and I must say it seemed weird being able to see the Pilot just in front of us, and all of the controls! Up we went, and the view was spectacular across Marlborough Sound. I was amazed by the fact that I jumped from almost 10,000ft higher than we were flying, just seemed crazy to me! The landing was a bit of a nose dive, and I could see that the runway ended pretty near the water, so I was just hoping his brakes were going to work well I’m pleased to say we survived (well obviously otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this..!). We stayed in Wellington for the night before our monster of a drive the following day back to Auckland. We both felt really sad that the tour had come to an end, and saying goodbye to yet more people is definitely the rubbish part when it comes to travelling! Before leaving Auckland, Lee decided to get a haircut… The lady misunderstood what Lee asked for and shaved a stripe up his head. She then started describing some kind of Mohawk hair do in an effort to correct her balls up, which we declined, so I now have a skin head for a husband! We then spent the next hour looking for a hat…
New Zealand has been nothing less than incredible, what a country... and we have well and truly fallen in love with the South Island! The scenery is to die for, from towering mountains and canyons, to stunning lakes and rivers. The people are so so friendly and the country must have done something to me for me to throw myself out of a plane, which was the best thing I’ve ever done! Only a week before I had sworn it would be something I would never do! We can certainly see why people up sticks and head here, it’s our idea of paradise