Tuesday, February 07, 2006

New Zealand South Island

Hello, my sincerest apologies for this ridiculously late blog. Basically the internet in New Zealand is a little behind the times and many cafe owners enjoy locking their computer in a wooden box so you can't play with the insides, but i've finally found a vulnerable one so let's begin.

We flew into christchurch many eons ago (About 2 weeks) and stayed 2 nights, it was quite pleasant and had quite an english feel to it with punters boating down the avon river and such like. We visited the college where Ernest Rutherford did his early work and saw an interesting aerial sculpture. Unfortunately both of us were feeling rather ill and the lingering after effects still trouble us but we battle on, for you!

We have hired a car, a thrilling 1.5L Toyota Corolla no less which we've already thrashed for 3000Km as you read this and it's going to get plenty more yet. Our first stop outside christchurch was Akaroa, a quaint, slightly french town (the french landed here first but the Brits kicked them out when they came back, hoho) We ate pastries.

From here we went over to Lake Tekapo which had a nice little church on its shores. The lake was a wonderful turquoise colour from dissolved rock (That was all in one day)

Next we went to see Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand and then off to Oamaru to see two penguin colonies, the ultra-rare yellow penguins which climbed up the cliff and came within touching distance and the smaller blue penguins which we had to find in our car.

From here we went off to Dunedin which was mostly uneventful though it does have the steepest street in the world, Balwdin street. I climbed to the top and found a bench and a drinking fountain, how thoughtful!

From there we headed along the southern scenic route through the Catlins to Slope point, the southern most point of New Zealand, possibly the furthest point from home for us, we weren't sure. (Can someone work it out, what's the furthest point from guildford and if it's not in New Zealand what's the nearest place we'll be to it)

We also saw nugget point which was quite beautiful.

Arriving at the other end of the scenic route we got to Milford sound which isn't really a sound but a Fiord and a stunning one at that. We took a 2 hour boat trip around it and drank loads of complimentary coffee/tea.

From here we went to Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of new zealand. Unfortunately adrenaline appears to cost around $200/hr so we contented ourselves with racing each other on the luge and checking out the great scenery from above the town.

Heading north from Queenstown we arrived at puzzling world in Wanaka which had some cool exhibits including this weird room and a giant maze which took suze and I 45 minutes to solve.

Yesterday we did a full day walk up the Franz Josef glacier which was great, we walked through an ice cave which was predicted to melt within 3 days.

Today we raced up the coast to see the pancake rocks of punakaiki and the glow worms of hokitika (no photos of them i'm afraid, too dark)


Anonymous Mikey c said...

hey Ash, ive been following your blog with total envy! i think you're gonna have to start hitting some seriously extreme places to top this trip! i've just got back from a week in New York, had an amazing time. Mum and Dad said you'd be stopping at theirs for a bit so if you need any suggestions on places to go out to in NY then give me a shout. Hope the rest of your tour goes well! c ya soon, mike

Tuesday, 07 February, 2006  
Anonymous Duffy Duck said...

ash mate how rugged do you look in that ice tunnel?? bizarre, i'm feeling a confusing set of emotions.....

seriously though man, you've got to stop going to these fantastic places, i can't take much more jealousy.

Tuesday, 07 February, 2006  
Anonymous Dave said...

Looking good Ash. I can't wait to get to NZ, but still got 6 weeks in Oz to get through. Oh it's a hard life.

Have fun.

Tuesday, 07 February, 2006  
Anonymous He who toys with 15 £250,000 detectors said...

Ah the power of Goodle Earth.

Whenever you were most south easterly in New Zealand wil be the furthest place away. The opposite of Guildford is way out at sea.

That ice climb looks like one to put on the 'to do' list. Very funky

-- Bendy

Tuesday, 07 February, 2006  
Blogger McClade said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wednesday, 08 February, 2006  
Blogger McClade said...

Come on Bendy, I would've thought that with £2.75 million of detectors you could've been a bit more accurate than that!

The furthest point on the Earth from your house is 51 12 43.82S, 179 25 00.08E which as Bendy says is out to sea.

If you want land then you've got the coast in the Mount Charles area which at 45 52 43S, 170 44 22E is approximately 542.5 miles from the farthest point. Looks like the nearest inhabited area is just up the coast at a place called Wickliffe Bay or down the coast at Sandfly Bay. The resolution for the whole of NZ is pretty crap so it's hard to be any more accurate than that.

Alternatively there's a lovely volcanic looking island called Campbell Island only 443 miles away from the opposite point, featuring the charmingly named Mount Honey. Might be a bit too much effort to get too, but it does look very picturesque and has 4 unique species of Penguin. Imagine.

The ice cave does look pretty damn cool, and the sequence on Flickr with the sign followed by you in the cave was very funny. Now we know why you looked so rugged.

Macca, "I do work, honest"

Wednesday, 08 February, 2006  
Anonymous Death by nitrogen asfixiation Bendy said...

I bow to your excellent knowledge Macca.

I honestly cannot be arsed to give details more acurate than that.(You might want to work on your maths though)

Today I overfilled one of the detectors with liquid nitrogen and the monitor on the side of the wall started counting down as the nitrogen started spilling out into the room.

20.7, 20.4. 20.2, 20.0

It bottomed out at about 19.4. This number by the way is the percentage of the rooms atmosphere that contains oxygen. The alarm goes off at 18.6 and it's time to get out of there on the double.

Bendy - you can trust me - Steve

Wednesday, 08 February, 2006  
Blogger Ash said...

Hey Mike, didn't know you were following my progress, I can't wait to go to New York, i'll definitely write to you before i get there.

Duffy, i think that gap between england and holland might be too wide, but errr thanks, i like that photo too...

Macca, i knew you'd come through as the uber geek, good work!

Steve, i like that story about you asphixiating yourself, the ending was a bit naff though.

Thursday, 09 February, 2006  
Anonymous Bendy said...

Sorry Ash I should have let the nitrogen keep flowing just for your gratification. I mean who would really care if I turned the experimental room into an uninhabital frozen box?

Thursday, 09 February, 2006  

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