So I figured that it would be a good idea to throw together some final thoughts about New Zealand, so here you go. As you can probably imagine, New Zealand is pretty freaking awesome. It would be easy to spend weeks/months just hiking around the South Island, let alone the North. The West Coast was hands down my favorite part and incidentally was where we spent most of our time. I'm not saying that the East Coast wasn't cool, we saw sea lions up close in the wild (like they might eat you if you look at them funny close), some penguins coming ashore and a pretty awesome steampunk art exhibit. The West Coast just had so many amazing wonders to behold and well, I held... be held... was held by... them. So quick recap:
Flew into Christchurch Sunday morning early and immediately got in a car and drove to Dunedin stopping by Omarau on the way. Went gallivanting around the Sandfly Beach and the sand dunes trying not to anger the enormous sea lions 10 feet away while keeping a look out for penguins making their way to shore. Proceeded to spend the night in Dunedin so that we could make it Te Anau (and The wondrous Fiordland) the next day a bit easier. Drove over to Te Anau so that we could hit up Fiordland National Park. Did the Rainbow Reach part of the Kepler Track and the crashed like it was our job. Woke up early the next and had our plans up-ended because one of the walks we were planning on was going to cost $300 to charter a boat. Ended up doing the Luxmore hut portion of the Kepler Track and then crashing that night like we were getting paid time and a half. Next up... Milford Sound! It was a bit rainy, but that just made the water falls that much more awesome. Seriously, bloody brilliant. Packed it up that night and headed over to Queenstown the next day. Spent some time skipping rocks on Lake Wakatipu on the way, you know... just cause. Just putzed around a bit taking care of a few things that first day and night in QT. Next day was Canyon swinging and rain. Three jumps/falls/hand stands off a platform and some rain. Good combo? Well, it makes for a dodgy heart and an early night. But that was just a warm up. Sky diving from 15,000 ft AGL (16,200 ft ASL, highest commercial jump in the world). Shuuuuuut Up! Chatted with some Canadians girls that had just finished their jumps and ended up running into them latter that night at the World Bar. They must have had a Canadian posse because they had another 4+ with them at the bar. Oh, one word... teapot. Two more... bad idea. Learned that New Zealand bars close at 4:30. Rough drive on Sunday up to Franz Josef. Great drive, but rough. Go figure. Monday we were hiking on a freaking glacier. That's right. A GLACIER! What global warming? One more night in Franz Josef and then it was a five hour drive over Arthur's Pass (and through the clouds that prevented us from seeing anything cool) to Christchurch. Not much happening for us in Christchurch. Kind of crappy weather. Ended up running into one of the Canadian dudes from QT and met up with him and some of his group that night. Sadly, for all involved, there was a contest going on at the bar, some guy won a $400 tattoo for licking another guy's butt. Aaaaannnndddd... that was when we decided to call it a night and head to Australia.
Awesome times had. Great people met. Hope to see some of them around again sometime. Great wonders beheld. Just need to hold them again sometime in the future.