Project 365 2012 – Day 334 – NZ Day 13

Day 334 - Tongariro Crossing

Day 334 – Tongariro Crossing

Day 13 – Taupo to Waitomo to Tongariro to Taupo

Today was an action packed day. We started by driving to Waitomo and I unfortunately forgot to take my travel sickness pills. It almost ended badly but I pulled through and we headed off into the caves. They gave us wetsuits and socks. We abseiled down into the caves, down a giant slide, across a flying fox, climbed up walls, jumped off ledges, and drifted gently through the glow worm caves. It was very physical, a lot of hard work, very cold, I got a lot of bumps of bruises, but it was so much fun and beautiful. I’m very glad they gave us helmets because I hit my head so many times. Also because the floor was uneven, I fell over almost constantly.

After getting semi warm showers and having some hot soup and bagels, we did a walk around the rainforest before heading off to Tongariro National Park. A few days before one of the volcanos erupted, but there was no sign of that there as they had reopened most of the roads and tracks. It looked very Lord of the Rings like, so pretty.

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Project 365 2012 – Day 330 – NZ Day 9

Kaikoura

Day 330 – Kaikoura

Day 9 – Franz Joseph to Punakaiki to Hanmer Springs to Kaikoura

Today was another big day of driving so it was an early start. We drove up the west coast to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks. They’ve got an interesting formation that looks like slabs of rocks stacked on top of each other. We just so happend to get there around high tide so we could see the cool blowholes. It was a bit of a detour to get there, but it was well worth the visit. I like rocks, but the husband usually doesn’t so much (scarred by having to do earth science at uni maybe?), but even these rocks he said he found really interesting.

We then headed to the east coast towards Kaikoura. We drove through the mountains and through an area called Lewis Pass and through Hanmer Springs, which was covered with all these yellow flowers or broom, which looked very pretty, but I’m sure was just a weed. We stopped at a rest stop of lunch, and it just to happened that it was the only rest stop that didn’t have a table. So we just sat in the boot.

Kaikoura is a very pretty little coastal town and still no sandy beaches, just rocks. We headed out to see some seals on the peninsula, which paid no attention to us at all. It was a long but good day, and the best thing was that we can see sheep from our motel!

Project 365 2012 – Day 324 – NZ Day 3

One Fine Day

Day 324 – One Fine Day

Day 3 – Te Anau to Queenstown

We drove back to Queenstown and enjoyed another great day of weather. We keep hearing about the rain in New Zealand, but apart from the tiny bit of drizzle on our first day, it’s been nothing but perfect. I don’t think I packed for this weather as I was expecting it to be much wetter and cooler.

We stopped off at a few lookouts, saw lots of cute sheep, drove through a red tussock grass reserve, which reminded me of something out of Dr Seuss. I can’t believe how clear and blue the water is around here. It’s so amazing.

We had lunch in Queenstown and took a wander around the gardens before meeting up with our guide for our Segway tour. Our guide, funnily enough, was from Adelaide. I’m beginning to notice that most people are on working holidays and we’ve met very few locals. I thought going on a Segway would be tough, but it was actually really easy and heaps of fun.

I have also discovered my new favourite New Zealand food, which is home made creme brulee fudge. It’s so amazing that I almost inhaled it, which my husband thought would be cute to name me the Greedy Fudge Monster.

When we went to check into our hotel, we were informed that they had overbooked the hotel because of a conference. However, we got upgraded to their sister hotel, which was nicer, better, and was closer to town. We don’t often have much luck, in fact lots of things that happen to us make me feel like we’re just a complete disaster, but this was pretty lucky.

We walked out to town for dinner and then had a walk along the shoreline after picking up some more fudge. Yes, it’s that good and highly addictive.

The photo of the day was taken at one of the lookouts on our drive. I’m pretty annoyed about that giant speck of dust on the sensor, but it can’t be helped and I’m not game enough to clean it myself, so there it will stay for the rest of the trip.

Project 365 2012 – Day 323 – NZ Day 2

Pier

Day 323 – Pier

Day 2 – Te Anau to Milford Sound to Te Anau

We woke up to the view of beautiful snow capped mountains and after eating a simple breakfast of instant noodles, we headed out for the day to Milford Sound, which is actually a fjord and was just incorrectly named. I’m often not a fan of tours, but I’m glad we took a bus because it gave us some time to relax, and our bus driver was not only knowledgeable, but very funny.

The drive and the weather were beautiful and we stopped off at a couple of places along the way including mirror lakes, drank some fresh river water , and saw some kea birds, which love tearing bits of rubber off the bus. I couldn’t believe how tall the mountains were and photos just don’t do this place justice.

We went on a boat cruise on Milford Sound, had lunch, saw seals and penguins and enjoyed the view. It was very very windy and I had to concentrate very hard not to drop my camera. We got really close to some of the waterfalls and some of the people standing on the lower deck got drenched. I saw the skipper of the boat laughing. He thought it was hilarious and he did warn them that it would get wet.

I don’t know what it is about buses, but on the way back everyone was falling asleep. I don’t know if it’s the motion of the bus, the long day, or maybe even the bus fumes. I blame my travel sickness pills. For some reason the more motion I experience, the sleepier I get even though the pills have caffeine in them. It feels like being drugged with sleeping pills because it’s uncontrollable. The husband finds it hilarious to watch me try and fight the sleepiness and eventually give up.

Back in Te Anau we had some dinner, I had seafood and the husband had roast lamb, and went for a walk along the lakeside, which is where the photo was taken. I took more photos of rocks as well, but I thought I shouldn’t post photos of rocks for this whole trip!