As usual it's been a very busy few weeks. Wr arrived on the South Island nearly a week ago and we have been steadily driving and visiting as much as we can. From the ferry that dropped us off on the South Island we drove up and around the Malborough Sounds. I have no idea what a 'sound' is? But it made for tricky driving as it was very windy and hilly. The scenery was amazing. It was great to see golden beaches and the water is an amazing aqua green colour.
From Malborugh we found a DOC campsite to stay at but we managed to spoil their grass by getting our campa van stuck in the boggy bit! The next day we covered a lot of ground as we drove from the sounds through Nelson and up to the start of the Abel Tasman national park. Once again the weather was stunning and i was able to eat sausage and chips on a lovely little beach called Kateriteri! In the evening we went back to our holiday park which was deserted which suited us as it meant we were the only ones in the pool and able to have the kick ass water slide to ourselves!!
The following day we had a brilliant kayaking / walking adventure in the abel tasman national park. Kayaking is a lot more complicated than i though. It turns out that these things have pedals! Who knew that?? We were in a tandem kayak so Hannah sat in the front to be the navigator and i was in the back to be in control of the direction of the kayak. If you have ever heard the phrase the 'blind leading the blind' then it was applicable to our kayaking. I hadn't moved the pedals to a suitable position so when Hannah was shouting "left, left!" i could harldy reach the pedals to turn them left or right. Amazingly we managed to complete the 2 hours without killing each other and at times it got really choppy and a bit scary. The scariest bit was that we saw loads of jelly fish just below the surface of the water. I was worried that i would lassoo the jellyfish straight into my own face as i completed my smooth kayak stroke! The kayak took us around the beginning of the national park along the bay and into two amazing lagoons. It was absolutely amazing!! In the evening we drove north to Golden bay over stunning views of Takaka Hill. Our holiday park was right on the beach so we were able to watch an amazing sunset.
We had a fiarly chaotic driving day the next day. We visited some cool deserted beaches. On one beach there was a jellyfish on the shore. It looked dead but it could have still been sleeping. We didnt mess with it just in case. We then drove to Nelson Lakes national park. When we got there it was full of crazy sand flies!! As soon as we got out there car they attacked us. We moved to a different lakes about 20 km away but it was the same story. We could not have cooked outside without our pasta being infected by flies so we got back in the car and did a late drive away from the lakes. It was unfortunate because we were planning on spending the next day exploring the Nelson Lakes national park.
Since then we have done a long drive down the West Coast stopping en route to check out the pancake rocks. The drive was very scenic. We are now at Franz Josef glacier. It is a cool little town with the mountains and glaciers in the background.
Yesterday we went heli hiking on the glacier. It was one of the best things we have done this holiday. We started by taking a helicopter ride up to the top of the glacier. We had both never been in a helicopter before and it was amazing!! We were just getting ready to go when they radio'd through and send we had to get on the helicopter now. It was like a scene from 24 as we frantically ran to the chopper communicating through walkie talkies! I was pretending to be a bodyguard for Hannah. One of the best things about the helicopter ride was obviously getting to where the cool-as headphones! Hannah looked like Challenge Anneka is here headphones. The helicopter ride was about 5 minutes and gave us great views over the glacier. We landed and then put on crampons (teehee!) which helped us with walking on the ice. It was quite hard walking on the ice because every now and then there was a bit of snow and if we applied too much weight on the snow your foot fell through and got wet in the water flowing underneath. There was 7 of us in the group and 2 of us came back with a wet foot. Needless to say i was one of them!
The ice hiking bit was cool. We were on the glacier for about 2 hours. We explored all the ice holes and crevices! Hannah was unlucky enouogh to be the smallest person in the group therefore she was used as the guinea pig for exploring the holes to see if they were big enough and secure enough to fit through! Some of the gaps, passages and holes we had to get through were tiny but luckily if we had got stuck we could just stay still for long enough for the ice to melt and then we could squeeze through! It was a crazily different but brilliant and unique experience. We helicoptered down to the bottom again but now before we got an amazing photo...
I will leave you with that. Speak soon...