25.01.2010 - 27.02.2010 25 °C
... as you have probably noticed I have not done a very good job at keeping this blog up to date. I'm lacking the motivation to keep it updated which is why I'm going to give a very brief summary of what I have been up to for the last month, add some more pictures from the last leg of my journey and most likely stop updating this blog (aside from maybe posting pictures).
January 25th: Headed to Piha Beach for the day to check out the Quiksilver junior surf competition with Michael. Packed up our stuff at the Zink's, had a delicious last meal and caught the overnight bus to Wellington (11 hours)
January 26th - January 28th: Spent time in Wellington exploring the city and areas around it. Things we did in Wellington include visiting PJ for dinner (my housemate in Christchurch who I met at Queens while he was on exchange), spending an afternoon at Days Bay and taking the cross-harbour ferry home, visiting the Yayoikusama exhibit at the art gallery, Te Papa museum, parliament, botanical gardens, hiking to the top of the tram route for a beautiful view of the city, seeing "California Love" play a free concert at the soundshell, seeing the "blue screen" where parts of Lord of The Rings was filmed, experiencing wellington nightlife with PJ and friends, etc. On the morning of the 28th we hopped on the Cook Straight Ferry to Picton. Beautiful ride, especially coming into Picton. Headed to Nelson to spend the night at a really nice hostel called Accents on The Park.
January 29th: Explored Nelson on bike, planned kayaking trip to Abel Tasman Park, went to Tahunanui Beach...
January 30th - February 1st: 3 day kayaking trip begins! 5:30 wake up, bus to Marahau. Arrived at Ocean River Kayaks Freedom Rentals depot, had a tutorial on see kayaking in the morning and some practice on water (tandem sea kayaking). Got the water taxi to Onetahuti Beach (Tonga Bay). Paddled to Bark Bay to camp for the night, stopping enroute to see the seal colonies on Tonga Island and explore some small secluded beaches, Tonga Arches, etc. Woke up the next day and paddled to Pinnacle Island to see more seals, went into lagoons at sandfly bay and torrent bay (high tide only) and stopped at Anchorage to hike (barefoot... maybe a bad idea) 45 minutes to Cleopatra Pools for a refreshing swim. Paddled to our campsite at Te Pakatea through BIG waves and tried surfing the kayak into the beach (almost dumped). Beautiful secluded bay with only a few campsites. Next morning we paddled back to Marahau stopping enroute for lunch on the beach and returned to Accents in Nelson for the night.
February 2nd: West coast bus trip stopping along the way for "morning tea," lunch, etc. at various sites which included Murchison, Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, Hokitika. Arrived in Franz Josef to spend the night at Montrose Backpackers. Hiked to the toe of the Franz Josef glacier and hiked to see glowworms at night.
February 3rd - February 6th: Bus to Queenstown down the rest of the west coast. Stopped at Haast, Wanaka, some waterfall. Stayed at Bungi Backpackers for two nights and Southern Laughter for two nights (much more social and central). Queenstown is absolutely beautiful.. but fairly touristy. Highlights include 134m Nevis Bungee, riding the gondola and doing some "luging" at the top, spending time at the beach/wharf (live DJ's, tons of people), nightlife (World Bar serves drinks in teapots... pretty cool), live music, relaxing, visiting a local cliff jumping spot called "Little Thailand", meeting some really awesome people, etc.
February 7th - February 8th: Travelled to Wanaka to spend to nights at The Purple Cow (really nice hostel). Wanaka is a much smaller version of Queentown and serves as a gateway to Mt. Aspiring Park and apparently gets pretty busy in the ski season. Highlights in Wanaka included drinking Wanaka craft beer at Kai Whakapai cafe and listening to live reggae DJ's, hiking the Diamond Lake track, relaxing on the beach, seeing Edge of Darkness at Cinema Paradiso (really cool movie theatre with a converted car couch, lazy boys chairs, etc. AND they serve homemade cookies at intermission). Kristin went skydiving here while I did some golfing at the driving range.
February 9th: Bus to Christchurch, passed beautiful Lake Tekapo on the way, views of Mt. Cook, arrived at 10 pm to my new flat in Christchurch but had no power!
That concludes the "backpacking" portion of my trip. Kristin left for Sydney via Auckland on the 11th. Since arriving in Christchurch I've been busy getting settled into school (classes started on the 22nd), participating in "orientation week events" including live music, a cricket match, etc. a roadtrip to Akaroa, roadtrip to Dunedin for the weekend, surfing at Taylors Mistake, exploring christchurch, going to sumner beach, lyttleton, getting to know my new housemates (PJ, Mike, Brad, Steve) and their friends among many other things. That's all for now! From now on I will most likely just post pictures...