Dusting off my old photos albums, reminiscing about the old days and putting on a slideshow. Grab some popcorn, sit down and enjoy the show.
New Zealand is a picturesque country and I love that they embrace the Maori culture. It is my kind of place with so many adrenaline activities. It is so easy to get around New Zealand and you don’t have to travel too far before you are hit with more gorgeous scenery.
With English being the main language you don’t have to worry about speaking another language. However they do have a few weird terms like judder bar is a speed hump, chilly bin is an esky/cooler and jandals are thongs/flip flops.
Hanmer Springs has several thermal pools which are surrounded by mountains and forest. Three pools are sulfur, the water temperature is 41C and they are a little smelly! Unfortunately when we were there the weather was not great so we didn’t get a magnificent view of the mountains.
I was in Christchurch before the devastating earthquakes. I remember the city being pretty with lots of gardens, parks and even the roads were lined with trees and flowers. I guess that is why they call it the garden city! Explored the city by tram and took the skyrail to the top of a hill for a full view of the city.
Climbed aboard the Transapline Train for one of the worlds most scenic train rides from Christchurch to Greymouth. The train trip went through snow capped mountains, along Waimakariri River which is crystal clear. There was breath taking scenery at every turn.
Franz Josef Glazier
Hiked along a 3km river bed before making our way to Franz Josef Glazer. Strapped on tresses to our shoes which had several spikes to help stick into the ice. Our tour guide used his pick to chip away at the ice and make steps for us to follow. Squeezed through crevasse and explored ice caves. Inside the cave you sunk into knee deep icy water. Words can not describe how cold the water was.
Explored the peaceful lake and admired the reflection of Mt Cook on the water.
At Makarora I gripped on tight to the jet boat for an adrenaline filled ride. Skimming along only inches of water on the pristine river.
Our driver would head straight for a tree and then turn at the last second to avoid a collision. Spin close to the banks of the river and travel at high speeds along the water. Plenty of faith was put in the hands of the driver.
Skydiving over lake Wanaka
Dressed in our very unflattering suits I was harnessed up and ready to board a plane for a tandem skydive. Packed into the plane like sardines waiting to take the leap from 12 000 feet in the air. We edged our way to the plane door posed for a quick photo and next thing you know we were out of the plane falling! My arms felt like they were going to get ripped back with all the pressure. We fell for 45 seconds which seemed a long time when you are falling through the air.
When the shoot was pulled I was yanked into an upright position. At one stage we were dangerously close to another parachute and I was concerned we would become tangled.
The landing was the scariest part with the ground coming up so fast. I had to lift my legs up but found it difficult with the harness and weak stomach muscles!! As my legs were not up high enough, my left leg got caught up and dragged underneath us. Must not have been too bad as after it was all over and I wanted to get back up there and do it all over again!
On board a boat we cruised around the Milford Sound looking at seals and penguins. Admired the natural beauty, surrounded by mountains, greenery and waterfalls. Relaxed and took in the view.
At Rotorua I explored the Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. After a traditional Maori show I walked around the valley. The Ngamokaiakoko Mud Pool is a large pool of boiling mud. The temperature of the mud is 90-95C!
Pohuta Geyser is the largest geyser and it erupts about twice every hour and can reach heights of 30 meters. The boiling water is ejected into the air.
Ngararatuatura Cooking Pool is a large circular pool of water which was continually bubbling. The water was crystal clear it makes you want to dive in (not that you could).
New Zealand is geared up for tourists so it is very easy to enjoy. I got around by using a jump on jump off bus which was great for seeing the country in my own time.
Have you been to New Zealand? What was your favourite spot?