Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fox Glacier, Punakaiki, Nelson, Abel Tasmin & Picton

Writing this from a hostel in Picton. We have a ferry booked for tomorrow afternoon to take us to Wellington so we're taking some time out to relax and get some washing done!

In the last week we have moved on from Queenstown where we did white water rafting and a trip to Milton Sounds to Arrowtown where we went on a nice long river walk and frooze ourselves camping overnight, to Fox Glacier where we were soaked walking to look at the glacier and didn't get up in a helicopter, to Punakaiki where we had a great Halloween night and stayed in a native rainforest, to Nelson - which was underwhelming and a little dull, to Abel Tasmin where we got a boat taxi and hiked for a few hours along the forest along the shore.

The weather at Fox Glacier was fantastic on the day we arrived which gave us a chance to see Mt Cook and Lake Matheson. We hoped to get up in a helicopter the next day or the day after but unfortunately the weather turned lousy and it was misty and rain for the next 24-36 hours so we decided to skip town and head for Punakaiki. You'd think we would have tired of the rain but we checked into a lovely little hostel retreat set in native rainforest where we shared lodgings with other people including a couple from England and three girls from Dublin and we had a great night chatting about where we'd been and where we were going.

Punakaiki is famous for its Pancake Rocks and the weather was back to blue sky and sunshine the day we left and we took a walk along the coast to see the rocks and they were a lot more than I expected - well worth a trip there and staying in the Retreat.

From there we headed to Nelson which was a little underwhelming as it is quite a small town with not much going on although we drove a few kilometres along the coast and took a walk along the beach.

We headed further NW along the coast to Abel Tasmin where there is a huge forest park and we camped for two nights. On our second day we took a water taxi along the coastline and got dropped off in Bark Bay and hiked three hours back to Anchorage where we chilled out and played on the beach before getting picked up again and taken back to the campsite. As it was still early evening, we headed to Moteuka where we checked out a small independent cinema - it was very small and everyone sat on sofas. The tickets salesmen was also the confectionary stallsman and projector runner so you can imagine the quirk of it all. We saw a nice movie called Away From Her (6.9/10) about a couple where the wife develops Alzeimer's and forgets who he is. A kind of lost romance/drama - heartwarming and heartbreaking. Worth checking out.

And so, today we are in Picton - chilling out and relaxing before heading to Wellington on the inter-island ferry.

I thought I would be able to upload all our photos to the internet but I need to install Active X which I can't because I have no access, so you'll have to wait until I get back to Christchurch unfortunately where I will have the time and ability to put everything up for you. [I hopefully have managed shortly after typing this to have 5 or 10 photos on Facebook giving a little taste of what we have seen although there is much much more!]

The south island has been very interesting and we're exited about what the North has to offer.

See you soon for another update!


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