Hello from sunny New Zealand. Well, it was sunny a minute ago...the weather is rather changeable out here. But whatever, I still bid thee good day from my very excellent holiday. I am currently sitting in a rain forest and taking the opportunity to blog - it's ironic that I've managed to secure reception here when it's been patchy throughout the trip so far - Vodafone, useless everywhere!
Anywho, we are currently in Franz Josef on the lush West Coast after spending the first week of the trip traversing the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps. I am so in love with southland it defies description. It is just beautiful with all the autumn colours and stunning blue lakes, rolling farmland and then these description-defying mountains. Anyone in good ol Oz who always wanted to go to Europe but never got there for whatever reason, don't worry. Just come down to the end of the South Island, it is just as stunningly beautiful and the people are so, so nice. Just love. Queenstown in particular has agreed brilliantly with me. I can happily imagine living there.
There's such diversity here and so much on offer. Every day is different, even if you're staying in the same spot, and you just don't know what you're going to get. Everything is just stunning though. We got caught in the first snow of the season as we left Queenstown for Te Anau, on our way to Milford Sound, crossing the mountains looking all white, and beautiful - and freezing. When we came back two days later, it had all melted and the scenery was completely different. It was totally lucky - I imagine the place is an entirely different experience in winter. The weather has thrown up everything at us, from rain when we landed in poor Christchurch to a beautiful sunny day yesterday. Today's been lovely as well, but the clouds are massing again and rain is predicted for tomorrow.
It is NZ after all, so there has been lots of action and adventuring. So far I've gotten drenched horse riding in Glenorchy, got yet more drenched under a waterfall while cruising along Milford, took a luge down Bob's Peak in Queenstown, sat front and centre in a helicopter over Franz Josef Glacier and clambered around Fox Glacier after a snow landing, and cantered around the dry river bed below Franz Josef village. It has been awesome. Now I'm sitting in our little campervan, surrounded by ferns and 300 year old trees, while my parents are off enjoying the glacier hot pools. It'd be utterly serene and peaceful if not for the constant background noise of choppers flying overhead. Glacier flights are a big business down here.
Speaking of the flights - helicopters are fantastic. I was a little iffy but the minute it took off, it was just the best thing. I'm a bit disappointed I didn't try skydiving at Queenstown now (or the Canyon swing, that looks like so much fun) but I was already freezing my ass off at the time, and jumping off anything was not very appealing. But anyway, helicopters. So much fun. I highly recommend it. I'm going to try and squeeze in another flight sometime during the trip. As well as more horse rides - that's heaps of fun too. Great way to see some of the country that others don't get to see.
Anyway, I'm just rambling. I'd better get off this and start getting stuff together and organised. We're heading along the coast tomorrow and then up over to the North Island on Monday. So far it has all gone reasonably well. We've managed to not kill each other yet, which is no small achievement considering we're all in close quarters. Luckily the campervan is a decent size, and I've got the front section to myself. And all things told we're all fairly independent, going off doing what we want and meeting up again later. So that's fine, really. I've also managed to secure the front seat most of the time as mountain roads and I are not good friends at the best of times - let alone when sitting in the back of a lumbering truck. And that's essentially what these damn things are. I find it super uncomfortable to be honest, but other than that, every thing's fine. I really think the South Island is one of the most beautiful places I've been and I'm loving every minute I get to stand around gaping at everything while soaking/freezing/being pestered by what may or may not be sandflies. As per usual, I've taken far too many photos.
Best part is knowing it's only a three hour flight from home, so coming back does not seem like such a huge ask.
Music: Wake me up when September ends - Green Day