We've done a total of 8,500 km in New Zealand!
Queenstown itself was OK, it certainly was a really pretty town but it was also very touristy, and they are really really strict about where you can camp (you can get an on-the-spot $800 fine for camping within a 10 km radius of the city!). So we stayed at a DOC (Department of Conservation) campsite just outside the city called Moke Lake Reserve. Apparently there were fish in the lake so Tony and Sky got right on it, with the obligatory beers as well. Little did I know that this was to become a major theme of the rest of the holiday in New Zealand...fishing, surfing and drinking beer!
|Moke Lake Reserve, near Queenstown|
So we must have caught it on a really wet day:
|What we saw of Milford Sound...|
It's funny how all of the tour guides and operators and people you meet never tell you these things...this is how it could look:
So unfortunately we just took a couple of rainy photos, and then headed to our campsite at Lake Gunn for the night before heading down to the South Coast and the start of the surf trip. We headed to a place called Monkey Island for a couple of nights which is just West of Invercargill, and then skipped Invercargill out (it wasn't that great) to head straight to Bluff. Bluff is for some reason known as the most Southern point of the Island, even though it's not. But we went there anyway as Tone and I got a photo at the Northern most signpost so we thought we should get one at the most Southern one too. We also stopped off at Slope Point (the actual Southern most point) and found that we were closer to the South Pole than to the Equator! As you can see it was pretty cold down there. It felt a lot more like England, all overcast and grey and with the constant threat of rain.
|Bluff (not the most Southern tip of the South Island)|
|Slope Point - the actual most Southern Point|
I didn't go in here as it was a bit big for me, but Sky and Tone seemed to have fun. I was the official photographer...
|Sky surfing Porpoise Bay|
|Tony surfing Porpoise Bay|
|Me surfing at Kakanui|
|The World's Steepest Street in Dunedin!|
|The van is in 1st gear and we're not sure it's going to make it up...|
|New Zealand Fur Seal chilling out on a rock|
|Tony and Sky on the Moeraki Boulders|
|Jumping at the same time on the Moeraki Boulders|
We finally got to Lake Ellesmere, but it was so infested with mosquitoes that we just ended up sitting in Sky's van all night. Luckily we'd bought a load of beers and some tequila so we thought we'd play a couple of drinking games and some cards to pass the time. Then the camera came out, and we started taking silly photos of us drinking tequila on a slow shutter. Then we suddenly got an attack of the munchies (having not had any dinner) and proceeded to cook some egg sandwiches. I've never seen someone eat so many eggs in one sitting, I think Sky ate 10 eggs and Tone ate 8 eggs. I think I only ate 3, or maybe 4...anyway, there were a hell of a lot of eggs being cooked. Probably helped keep the hangover away the next morning!
|Hunting for Paua|
|The Paua out of it's shell - some of it sliced really finely|
|Paua and pepper pasta!!|
Some of the surf spots around Kaikoura are world class, especially Mangamaunu, which is rated the same as Raglan in the NZ Surf Guide. It's a right hand point break which you can ride for up to 300m on one wave! Tone and Sky both had waves that they caught and rode all the way to the beach. Unfortunately you then have to get out and walk all the way round to get back in again...but they said it was worth the effort.
|Tony surfing Mangamaunu|
|Tony's feet - ravaged by rocks, paua and surfing|
We spent most of our time in Christchurch whilst we were selling our van in Sumner and Taylor's Mistake. Sumner is a cute little seaside town, and Taylor's Mistake is a beach just over the hill from it. For about a week every day we would get up, go and have a cold shower at the toilets in Taylor's Mistake (or not if it was really cold and windy) then go to Sumner to make breakfast and wait for the calls about the van (we had no reception over the hill). Occasionally we would head into Christchurch, and Tone would do a bit of surfing. We also managed to get the local DVD rental place in Sumner to rent us some DVDs, so we watched the entire second season of Dexter, and season 3 and 4 of The Wire.
It was quite stressful selling the van - we turned down a couple of offers as we thought they were too low and we wanted to get more money for it. We thought we had loads of time but as our last weekend started creeping closer and closer we started to panic. In the end we sold it just last Saturday to 3 guys, and thankfully for not too much less than we wanted. Panic over! It was such a weight lifted off our shoulders, and we could now go and chill out and relax in Christchurch. We treated ourselves to an Indian that night at a little restaurant in Sumner called 'Indian Sumner', it was really good, and I have to say better than any Indian i've had in the UK.
|A civilised cup of tea in Christchurch|
|Playing chess in Cathedral Square in Christchurch|
|Feeling some lips at the Ron Mueck exhibition|
|"Mask 2" by Ron Mueck|
|"A girl" by Ron Mueck|
Fia and Tone xxx