04.08.2007 8 °C
It's a week since we left Thailand already, and it's been pretty non-stop here in NZ. We spent the first day here wandering around Christchurch and planning what we were going to do for the next ten days. The tourist information places over here, called i-sites, are really helpful. We took away some leaflets for perusal over a chai-tea (me) and a moccha-lata-something or other (Matt) at Starbucks, then went back to i-site to book up some travel and accommodation. We've now joined the YHA as it only cost $40 and we made that straight back in membership savings. We spent the rest of the first day trying to find a supermarket and hunting down snuggly warm jackets - we were feeling cold in our fleeces and knew it would be colder as we headed further south.
The next day (Wednesday) we made our way over to Greymouth on the West coast via the Tranzalpine Train, which goes through the national park of Arthur's Pass. From Greymouth we caught the Intercity coach to Franz Josef, where we had two nights booked - one for when we arrived from Christchurch and one for recovery for the glacier trek we had booked for thursday. Yup, glacier trek! We went for the all-day option, which tired me out seeing as I had no exercise whatsoever in Thailand but was totally worth it. The half-day option really wouldn't have got you very far as we just followed a path already carved out of the glacier until after dinner, when we started adventuring out a bit more. Funny as it may sound, trekking along that glacier was the warmest I'd been since arriving in NZ. At least until I accidentally stepped onto what appeared to be ice and got thigh-deep in ice-cold water. Still, we were kitted out in water proof trousers and by this time we were on our way back to the bottom of the glacier so it was bearable.
Friday we got the Intercity down to Queenstown. The views were amazing and we got several photostops. It was a beautiful sunny day and you could see exactly why Peter Jackson decided NZ was the place to film Lord of The Rings
Saturday we took a day trip to Milford Sound. It was five hours there, 2hours on cruise at the sound, then five hours back. Milford Sound seems to be a popular tourist destination and we wanted to go as far south as we could so it seemed a good idea when we booked it, but to be honest it was a bit of a let-down. We went with a small cheap company which had no heating on the bus, the windows were misty nearly all the way so you couldn't see the views either, and the actual Sound was pretty, but not as breathtaking as the previous day's views down the West coast. Nevermind, lesson learnt!
I'll leave the scenic shots to Matt.
That brings us up to today, which we're spending chilling out in Queenstown, with a trip to the cinema later and hopefully a bit of indoor rock climbing if we can find one that's open on a Sunday.