A Travellerspoint blog

The Milford Sounds

Woowee!!!!

rain 17 °C
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Hello, you're very lucky people as you get two blogs written by the Polly side of pollyali in a row. This would be because Ali is outside Pollocking a rubbish hostel in Oz for now telling us that they are fully booked over New Year when just two weeks ago, when we originally booked they had space for us!
Well we haven't done much since I last wrote but just to update you on certainly the most visually spectacular part of our journey. We left Dunedin and headed for another free campsite just slightly south of Te Anau, needless to say the campsite was 30km from the main road, next to a lake filled with mozzies and noone around for miles, the whimps that we both are decided after eating our soup and cheesy pasta that we felt a little uncomfortable spending the night on our lonesome there. So we pressed onto the lovely town and the starting base for the Milford Sounds of Te Anau. We treated ourselves to a motor park and a glass of wine in the local bar 'The Moose'. Now the Moose was a lively bar with a crap band playing covers and with it being bank holiday was full of youths getting way to p****d, not wanting to sound our 25 years of course!
We set off this morniong equipped with snow chains, a bargin at $25, and headed up into the wilderness, (in the rain). So here we are sat in the only cafe bar, who I might add are making a pretty penny out of the tourists (mainly Japanese), all who are carrying umbrellas on the smallest of paths, those who know me will know that this is a pet hate of mine, especially when they are all fully cladded in kagools! We have booked an over night cruise on the Wanderer 50 pounds each and that includes dindins, glass of wine or another beverage that takes your fancy and a proper bed! If you are going to book a cruise may I recommend that you drive up to the Milford Sounds and book it here rather than in Queenstown or Te Anau as it's twice as cheap.

Mirror Lak..d Sound.JPG

So far the veiw s are unimaginabl;e and I wish I had saved up a little more and bought a rather expensive camera as ours does not do it justice.
Mum's been telling me to hurry up and put some piccies on the website, I apologise it's not through laziness but the fact that each photo is taking 15 mins to download and time is money! Promise as soon as we find a decent conecction we will provide proof of our adventures.

ttfn (as Mum would say)
xxx

Posted by pollyali 18:03 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (3)

Twizel down to Dunedin

Out on our lonesome.

overcast 17 °C
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We departed from Queenstown on Thursday as it was sucking every penny out of us with all it's tempting adventure activities. The weather has got a lot better (about 20 degrees yesterday) however if you are travelling down to the Milford Sounds you still need to carry snow chains with you, if you get caught without it's a $750 fine ouch! So we decided to head slightly up north again to visit Mt Cook or Aoraki as it is known in Mouri, which means Cloud Piercer. Aorkai is New Zealands highest mountain standing at over 3000mtrs, and is quite something to look at.
We left the Swedes behind and set off on our lonesome to a small town called Twizel just 50km south of Mt Cook. Twizel was almost like a town out of some horror film, we arrived at 4pm and there was not a soul in sight! Everything was shut(except the Shell garage), however despite the dullness of this town I have to hand it to them for coming up with the ingenious idea of combining wait for it....'Surf and Suds'! Now I hear you crying "whats so good about that?", but if you consider trying to find a internet cafe that actually sells coffee in New Zealand has been virtually impossible, especially in the smaller towns nevermind in Christchurch, so the idea of being able to do you laundry and your emails at the same time in simple out of this world! Anyway we stayed in a campsite called Twizel Tourist Park, which was extreamly good value at $22 a night,and that included power, hot showers and a hairdryer, fabulous!
We got up at our usual time of 9am and headed up to Mt Cook, which was still covered in snow so the views were amazing especially on the drive up to it as it overlooks a massive lake. We choose to do a walk and opted for the easy one which took about 2 hours return as there was a chill in the wind and we wanted to head on for Dunedin the same day which was about 450km away.
On route to Dunedin we stopped off at the Moeraki Boulders. If you haven't heard of these before, they are a weird phenomena. Randomly on the Moeraki Beach these compleatly almost perfectly spherical boulders have been formed. They haven't been washed up but have come out of the ground and the cliffs that line the beach. Some of these boulders are 2m in diameter, and are very strange, well worth a look if you are passing.

Moraki Boulder.JPG

We arrived here in Dunedin at 7.30pm last night and checked into anouther holiday park, I think we're going to look for somewhere free tonight, they're not expensive but if you can get one for free it's much better. The free one we were staying on in Queenstown we later found out was a scene from 'Lord of the Rings', no wonder the veiws were so good!
Dunedin is a pretty university town and so far seems very pleasent. We have visited the Cadburys factory this morning,and found out some interesting facts.

Dunedin tr..tation .JPG

1: Dream is only made here in Dunedin and is the only real white chocolate.
2: The reason why there is a difference in taste is because of the milk that is used. In New Zealand Dairy Milk is made from milk from the Otago region. In Britain it's made from British milk, presumably from somewhere around Birmingham and in Oz it's made from mostly powdered milk because they don't produce as much milk.
we are now heading up to the 'Worlds Steepest St' after this.
Well that's about it so far, we will update you soon.

Pollyali xxx

Mum and Dad - I am sending a package home today with Loz's pressie and some other artifacts for you.

Posted by pollyali 15:54 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

White water rafting

And Ali Fell in!

sunny 15 °C
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Second update in two days for you guys! How lucky is that?!?
Just wanted to let you know about our white water rafting expedition yesterday.
We were driven up a dirt track called Skippers Canyon yesterday afternoon. The road is so precarious that rental vehicles are not allowed up it and the drop is so steep on one side that passing was almost impossible. Anyway, we arrived at the Start of the Shotover river and were assigned to our own rafts with a local guide to steer us. Pol and I were lumped with a bunch of Irish guys who were well funny but couldnt row in time! it got so bad that the guide moved the Polmeister to the front where she bellowed out "1","2" over and over again!
The first part of the course was a nice easy flat with very few rapids and we soon were practising all the moves that we would need to get us through the worse part of the river (a 700 metre long rapid - the name of which i cannot remember) well after a couple of smaller grade 2 rapids (they grade them 1-7 in New Zealand, 1 being a walk in the park, 7 being something that only experienced rafters should try) we approached the grade 5 one! (yep, brown trousers time) As we went down the first of around ten big dips everything went to sh1t. The boat infront of us got into trouble and came a bit too close and the next rapid proved fatal. We had to slow up too much as we would have hit the other boat and of course ali decided he wanted to go for a swim! (at a completely inopportune moment!) Queue much calamity and stress as two big Irish guys tried to pull him in.. well one try to pull him in, the other just waved his paddle in his face and shouted "grab on" and of course, Ali, had one hand on his paddle and the other on the OS line (OS by the way, means Oh Shit!) and was far to concerned about keeping his legs away from the jagged rocks to worry about anyone elses paddle! They got me in by the way and we managed to traverse the rest of the rapids without further mishap. The course ended with a nice fast trip through a 140 metre long tunnel which had been built in the 1870 by a family looking to drain the river and pann for gold. They built the tunnel 4 metres too high and therefore it only drained part of the year! Enough digression, we emerged at the other end and promptly went down a massive jump! THE END! Great fun and we are both so pleased that we went through with it... feel a tad tender today though!
Off on our way again today after pol does some Horsey riding so we wont be updating for a few days.
Take care all.

Love Pollyali

xx

Posted by pollyali 15:58 Archived in New Zealand Tagged boating Comments (1)

Queenstown

Whole load of fun, with prizes to be won!

sunny 13 °C
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Right people, time for an update..

1: The Car: Was supposedly fixed by the garage. We went to pick it up on Thursday and the engine was still making strange noises. We told the garage we werent happy and that we couldnt wait around any longer for the them to look at it. They refused the give us a refund and to cut a long story short, we met a couple who were desperate for a car. We were desperate to get rid of ours, so we came to an agreement and sold it to them. It meant taking a 350 pound loss on the damn thing but never mind. We are now the proud renters of a EZY campervan which is far less hassle and a good laugh. If anyone out there is thinking of coming to New Zealand, do not, and i repeat, DO NOT buy a cheap second hand car..most of them have been round the country six or seven times and they are just too unreliable. And dont buy from The BACKPACKERS CAR BAZAAR.. bunch of cheating rip off merchants.

We celebrated by having a few shandies and entering into a paper scissors, Stones competition in the hostel bar. The prize was a $750 stray bus ticket around the south island. And who do you think won?!? POLLY! unfortunately we werent allowed to sell the ticket and Pol did the good deed of giving it away to a couple who had been trying to win it for weeks!

We picked up the van on Thursday and headed out into the wilderness. As its a high top, the slightest wind means it drives like a dodgy shopping trolley and after covering 100km in two hours, we headed into the southern, snow capped alps. Spent the night in a free campsite in the rain and watched a film on our DVD player in t'campervan! (proper bo!) We are travelling in a convoy with seven Swedes complete with walkie talkies and ornate campervans! We drove to Franz Joseph Glacier the next day and walked up to the face while taking pics etc.

Just incas..re safe.JPG

It was a really strange place, erie and almost alien like with rocks everywhere and the most beautiful waterfalls cascading out of every crevice. Stopped in a nondescript village called Haast and celebrated one of the Swedes birthdays by having dinner in a yokel bar/diner. Cant remember its name, but its the only one in the village so if any of you make it this far, stay clear! Set out for Queenstown the next day (still raining) and drove through some prehistoric rainforest whilst the sun attempted to make an appearance. More waterfalls later and we arrived here. Stereotypical Ski Resort, lots of sports to do and loads of backpackers. Weather is a bit changeable (sunny but cold) and we have booked ourselves to do some white water rafting today (gulp!) Polly is off Horsey riding tomorrow and thats aboot it.

Loz - Congrats on RAF
Holme Farm Massive - Hope all are ok, pass on our congrats to Mark
Hainton Avenue Posse - Hope Nanna is ok and you both are
enjoying the decorating.
Dad and Joan - Havent done any more wine tasting yet.. will let you know when we do - Kathy Linskey do a nice tipple if you want to investigate - they will post to the UK too!
The Bagnall Clan - Cheers for the update on the footie, hope the various injuries are healing ok - Brian - the scenery here is unbelievable - not done as much walking as we hoped but will do soon!
Rae - Hope you didnt witness any stabbings at Hull Fair
Emily - Hows Britains next Swimming champ coming along?
Manchester Massive - Respect! oh and Phil can you email your address to us please?
Matt S - Hows uni? Slacker...

Lots of love

Pollyali

Posted by pollyali 16:13 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (5)

Where do I start?

Nelson, Motueka, Abel Tasmen NP and Christchurch again!

semi-overcast 14 °C
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Hello all, as promised I Polly am the author of this update and have I picked an update to do! So much has happened since our last blog, for starters the weather was much better, I say was because it's just started raining again! Boo hiss!!!

Ok I'll start from where we left off.

Nelson
This is where we met up with our Swedish friends again, not much to report on the place except we had a less than average curry for dinner in an establishment called The Indian Cafe, and we stayed in a hosel called aptly named 'Backpackers',the double room we opted for after seeing the other clientele (lots of crusties and men with long greasy hair)was very reasonable.
After a very short stay here we decided to make our way futher north to the Able Tasmen National Park, but before we did that we had a job to do, to turn Betsy into a mobile bed! We bought a matress (single was the only size that would squeeze past our wheel arches)along with some material for making curtains (blue with gold flowers), some pillows and a brown fleecy blanket. She looked amazing!
We made our way up the coast followed closley by the Swedes in their Spacecar (a people carrier cleaverly made into a campervan complete with DVD!)not vary spacious I hasen to add. The views where spectacular especially now the cloud had lifted and we made our way slowly up the windy hill road to the entrance to the park. The walk itself ran along the edge of the cliffs and skirted round the edge of several massive golden beaches. We stopped at one of these for our lunch (coffee and bannana's) We then headed back to the car and went to find somewhere to sleep!
We ended up next to a motorway in a free campsite where we tested out the back of the car as a bed... very nice although a slight squash!
This is when the fun began. Our plans were to proceed along to the West coast and do some glacier walking. However, the car, had other ideas! We were roughly thirty miles out of Motueka when the dreaded engine judder came back! Queue hasty call to the AA whom we had joined only four days ago. Verdict: Electronic and Transmission problems... To top it off, we couldnt get the key out the ignition, the air con stopped working and the gearstick would stick in park! The AA reluctantly gave us a budget of $800 to get a hire car, the car towed back to Christchurch and accommodation for the night. Anyway, it didnt cover the towage costs and a decision was made to drive back ourselves with the four wheel drive disabled. We ended up using the accommodation budget of $120 and picked a swanky flat with a jacuzzi!
Drove back to Christchurch on Saturday (all 500km) and took the car to the garage where we were told that nothing could be done until monday and we would have to stay in the city until then. They gave us a courtesy car which we drove off and promptly died in the middle of the street as it was completely drained of petrol.
So here we are.. total cost of car problems.. $500 and rising fast.. we need to stay here another night as there is no promise that the car will be fixed in time to leave today.. we dont know what to do and get angrier by the minute. Note to all: Do not buy a car from the back packer car bizarre!

weather has improved though!

Posted by pollyali 12:20 Archived in New Zealand Tagged round_the_world Comments (5)

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