Archive for February 2nd, 2010

Day 6 – Franz Josef +Lots of Rain + Cancelled Glacier Hike = Many Drinks Consumed

We awoke to POURING rain the next morning that would continue throughout the day. Due to the bad weather, our hike on the Franz Josef glacier was cancelled. There’s not much to do in this town other than hike the glacier, so we spent the day lazing around, uploading photos, making big sandwiches, and drinking a ton of champagne and beer. It was disappointing not to get to see the glacier, but it actually gave us a day to take a break, slow down, and relax. 

Rain Blows

Day 7 – More Driving and More Rain

The sky was still dumping rain the next morning when we hit the road early to make the drive to Te Anau. The drive down New Zealand’s west coast is stunning, although the crappy weather didn’t allow for the greatest views. After making a stop in the town of Wanaka for some shopping and chillin’ by the lake, we arrived in Te Anau, showered up and went out to dinner. We had an early night to prepare for our Milford Sound cruise the next day.

 Day 8 – Milford Sound (Or What We Could See Of It)

One of my favorite things I did when I was previously in New Zealand was a boat trip around Milford Sound. Even in the rain, the scenery is incredible with loads of waterfalls cascading down the surrounding mountains. I wasn’t too concerned when it started to sprinkle as we started the drive to the national park. Unfortunately, by the time we actually got on the boat, the rain had picked up and we were surrounded in fog. We basically floated around in a white cloud for two hours. It was still pretty, but not nearly the experience I had hoped for everyone. Luckily, the clouds did part for a bit on our way home and we were able to stop in the park and snap some good photos.

Milford Sound. Stupid Fog.


Driving through the park

Days 9, 10, and 11 – Queenstown!

The next day, it continued to rain on and off while we made the short drive to the adventure activity destination of Queenstown. Our first night we had a yummy Indian dinner and hit up a couple of bars to let loose. Andy and Nicole woke up early the next morning to do a jet-boat trip in Skippers Canyon before we made the drive over to the Kawarau Bridge for Kelly to do her bungy jump. She was pretty freaked out, but after some liquid courage and watching a few of the other jumpers, she was totally pumped up about it. I had made the 43 meter jump myself eight years ago and I knew Kelly would love it.

 After getting weighed in and waiting her turn in line, she dove off with no problems. We’ll post the video on our flickr page soon (it’s already on her facebook), but needless to say, she thought it was a blast. Next on her list is skydiving!

Kelly on the platform

 We all took a ride on the Queenstown gondola and we celebrated Andy and Nicole’s last night in town with an amazing seafood dinner and drinks. I was sad to drop them off at the airport the next morning, but was happy to have Mary around for another couple of days.


View of Queenstown from the gondola

Andy and Nicole's Last Night

After a few persuasive speeches from Kelly, Mary decided to take the plunge and do a bungy jump. The three of us headed back to the bridge, got her signed and weighed in, watched her freak out on the platform (which was pretty hilarious), and cheered her on as she dove off.

Mary's bungy!!

The rest of the day was centered around the University of Texas vs. Alabama national championship game. We found a bar that put it on for us and we spent the afternoon rooting for the Longhorns, taking back pitchers and making new friends. Kelly managed to befriend an entire rugby team that was in town and tried to beat them at their own drinking games. Even though our boys didn’t win the championship, we couldn’t be upset…we’re having a blast in New Zealand!

Hook 'em

Day 12 – Reuniting with Becky in Wanaka

Mary decided to do a day kayaking trip and take a bus to meet Kelly and I in later that evening. Becky, her mom and sisters were vacationing in Wanaka at a friends house and invited us to stay. Becky took us on a lovely hike and that evening we made dinner and watched movies. It was really nice to spend more time with Becky and her family (and to play with Caitlen again!)

Hiking in Wanaka

Day 13 – Back to Christchurch…in the Fricken Rain

I was crossing my fingers for good weather, as we planned to hit up Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo on the drive back to Christchurch. No such luck…it poured the entire time. We did get a quick look at the lake, but that was about it. Damn the crazy weather! On the plus side, we did have a yummy Thai dinner once we got back into the city.

Lake Tekapo

Day 14 – Mary Goes Home

On Mary’s last day, Kelly and I drove her out to Sumner Beach for brunch and some strolling along the shore before taking her to the airport. Our last night in town, Becky made us roast lamb for dinner and we kicked back with some vino to enjoy our final night staying in their home. Kelly and I were not looking forward to getting back into hostel life.

It was a crazy two weeks and we feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends that would spend their hard earned money (and vacation time) to come visit us on this adventure. We love you Mary, Andy, and Nicole!


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