Friday, 9 October 2009

NZ Holiday Wrap Up!

Starting Sunday week ago (27th Sept.) Tiarnee and I set out on an 'end of Uni' holiday for Tiarnee. She's finished her study and when her registration comes through she's able to start teaching. Very cool! So being the last chance we'll have to take extended holidays for a while we headed off to the South Island of New Zealand for 8 days, and then 2 days in Melbourne when we returned. A brief summary of the trip: (Pictures to follow when I return to an ADSL2+ net connection!)

Day 1: Minimay - Melbourne (drive) - Christchurch
Set out nice and early to arrive at Tullarmarine Airport with plenty of time to check-in and fulfill some duty-free orders for family. The drive was a really good 5 hours, and the flight a smooth 3.5.

Day 2: Christchurch - Franz Josef
After getting up at 8:10 local time (which was 5:10 according to our body clocks!) we rushed though brekky and picked up our hire car. As the weather was miserable we headed out of Christchurch, taking the stunning drive through Arthur's Pass across to the west coast. We then headed down the coast, arriving at Franz Joseph on sunset. We soaked the evening away in some beautiful 38 degree hot pools.

Day 3: Franz Josef - Haast
As the Franz Joseph walk was booked out, we quickly drove down to Fox glacier in time to take the morning half-day glacier walk. This river of ice is 17 km long & 300m wide. It was a massive walk but a clear-blue sky made for spectacular scenery and a great walk on the ice. One of the highlights of the trip.

Day 4: Haast - Queenstown
On this morning we drove through more snow-capped mountains and beautiful clear lakes as we drove through the Haast pass. A stop at Wanaka for lunch, before driving to on to Queenstown where we checked into the Crowne Plaza!

Day 5: Queenstown
The most awesome day of the trip! Sleep-in, free cooked breakfast and the Shotover Jet in the morning! In the afternoon, up to Coronet Peak for snow sightseeing, before shopping in town (for Tiarnee) and a ride up the Skyline Gondola for yet more spectacular scenery, downhill luge, and a buffet tea! After tea what better than for a drink? So we headed to the 'Minus 5' bar where everything including the cup you drink from is made from ice! You can only be in the bar (temp of -8 while we were in it!) for 30 mins. Took lots of photos of each other and the ice sculptures inside.

Day 6: Queenstown - Invercargill
Much more low key. Another awesome cooked brekky in Queenstown (not free this time!) before we drove south to Invercargil. The further we went the worse the weather became. Went all the way down to the bottom of the South Island. Before the hail, rain and wind got the better of us and we retreated for the evening.

Day 7. Invercargill - Dunedin
Heading back up the east coast, we arrived in Dunedin in the early afternoon. A visit to the Cadbury factory there was literally 'sweet as'! We also visited NZs only 'castle' which wasn't really a castle, as there were no walls or moat. But it was a huge old Victorian mansion with elaborate garden etc. For tea this night I ordered Crayfish! Expensive but delicious! It was the first time I'd ever ordered Cray, but hopefully won't be the last.

Day 8 - Dunedin - Christchurch
In icy 5-6 degree temperatures we set out on the 5 hour drive back to Christchurch. We arrived in time to have a walk around the Cathedral Square and finish off our souvenir shopping. We also went to the even church service in the Christchurch cathedral. A very ornate church!

Day 9 - Christchurch - Melbourne
Clothes shopping in the Christchurch mall for Tiarnee, followed by a quick visit to the fantastic International Antarctic Center before dropping off Earl our hired car and heading to the airport. Our flight home was perfectly smooth, and featured a stunning flight across NZs southern alps.

Day 10 - Melbourne
A relaxing holiday day to recover from our holiday! More shopping by my beautiful wife before heading to the Melbourne Museum to visit the Pompeii exhibition & a movie at the IMAX! We rounded out the day with a delicious meal on South bank.

Day 11 - Melbourne -Minimay
Another sleep-in before our long drive back to the Wimmera. We were glad to breakup the drive by having lunch with some friends in Ballarat, and tea with some other friends in Nhill!

All in all a fantastic holiday that I'm still enjoying!



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