25 July 2013

BEER!... and a Wedding [Australia]

While motivation levels are still relatively high I thought I might as well write about my recent trip to Australia. The main reason for my visit was to celebrate a friends wedding. I met Paul while living in London and hadn't caught up with him, or any of our mutual friends, since. So it was a perfect opportunity to catch up with him and the whole London crew all at once. And while I was at it I decided to take a couple of weeks off to drink VB, watch the footy and yell "'straya, c**t!" at random passer-bys / take a look around. Credit goes to my friends that took more photos than I did at the wedding etc, which I later stole off Facebook.

23 July 2013

Wild [Fiordland, New Zealand]

In March of this year (yes, I know it's taken me six months to post this!) I joined a group of family and friends on a six day trip in the untouched and wild Fiordland.

The occasion? My brothers 40th birthday.
The location? the deep South West Coast of New Zealand.
One of the most remote and untouched places in the country.
The transport? A massive boat.
The crew? A randomly connected bunch of family and friends, all intent on having a good time.

18 April 2012

Hooker Lake [Mt Cook, New Zealand]

Mount Cook is a fairly straight shot from Queenstown, so we decided we would save the gas and hitch-hike. Thankfully getting a ride was easy, and we were cruising north in style after only after a few minutes waiting.

The journey was pretty spectacular through the Lindis Pass, but as soon as we got near Mount Cook the weather turned to crap. Our ride dropped us at the turn-off to the national park, where we managed to get another ride to the camp ground. When we got there we could not see a thing! There was thick cloud all around and the wind was blowing something crazy. So we set up camp and read for the afternoon. That night the wind was so loud that we couldn't sleep. I was sure the tent was going to rip or blow away; it was insane! So I did not have high hopes for being able to see the mountain for the two days we planned to stay.

7 April 2012

JUMP! [Queenstown pt. II, New Zealand]

After Milford we drove back to Queenstown, again to stay with Jamie and Maree. It was so handy having relatives living in Queenstown! It meant we could base ourselves there, then go off and do little side trips, but always have a comfy bed to come back to.

One short trip we did was to drive in to Skipper Canyon. The ride in is kinda scary; a narrow, winding dirt road. On one side a massive cliff face and on the other a huge drop off into the bottom of the valley. But the view is pretty stunning, and being the extremely skilled driver I am; it was not a problem. We drove past the Skippers Jebtboat again and watched it roar up and down the river. If it wasn't so expensive I would have been keen to give it a go.

4 April 2012

Blown Away [Bluff + Milford, New Zealand]

Contrary to popular belief, the southern most point of New Zealand's South Island is not Bluff, but a place called 'Slope Point', which is a deserted stretch of beach. Other than being the southern most point, it really has nothing going for it. So instead we decided to check out the imposter that is Bluff.

Unfortunately Bluff doesn't have much more going for it. It was so windy that Julia and I were almost blown off the top of the hill, but at least it was clear enough to get a decent view of Stewart Island. At the bottom of the hill we had the standard photo underneath the road sign, a bit of a wander around, then decided to move on.

29 March 2012

Southern Scenic [The Catlins, New Zealand]

"The Catlins is a major highlight of the Southern Scenic Route. Situated off the beaten track, the Catlins encompasses the area between Kaka Point and Fortrose. You will journey through rural heartland and podocarp forests, past rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls. The natural landscapes are enthralling and the wildlife is extraordinary"... so says the Official website of the Catlins. And their description is pretty spot on. The Catlins packs a real punch; a small but diverse and beautiful area of New Zealand, with some really amazing scenery.

A few of the main sights; the Cathedral Caves and the petrified forest, are only accessible at low tide. Unfortunately for us low was at 8am or something ridiculous, so by the time we got up and got moving we had missed it. But no major drama, we just decided to spend two days in the Catlins and enjoy things at a more leasurly pace. Just as well we did, though, as there is a lot to see!

20 March 2012

Up Close and Personal [Moiraki + Oamaru + Dunedin, New Zealand]

After a quick grocery stop, we jumped in Jamies truck and headed out for our week-long adventure around the Southern Scenic Route. This route runs from Queenstown to Dunedin, along the south coast of the Southern Island, passing some of the most amazing scenery in the country. We kind of did it backwards, heading first for the east coast; Oamaru, but s'all good.

The journey to the coast was fairly uninteresting, mostly driving through farm land. We passed by the Clyde Dam and Alexandra, before hitting the coast and heading for Moiraki. Moiraki is famous as there are a small collection of almost perfectly round boulders lying all over the beach, half buried in sand. Some are impressively large, others have cracked open showing a hollow center. The beach itself is really nice; wide open flat sands which stretch for miles around the bay. We had a bit of fun jumping all over the boulders, taking photos, but to be honest; it lost its appeal after about 10 minutes.

18 March 2012

Adventure Capital [Queenstown, New Zealand]

Queenstown is the adventure tourism capital of New Zealand, but it requires one thing we don't have a lot of; money. It seems literally everything in this small town bears extremely over-inflated prices. Lucky I have a super-awesome family that gives me a free bed, feeds me and even lets me borrow their vehicles to tiki-tour around in.

So we went out for a day to explore the area. First stop was Arrowtown, a small, old mining town that has been transformed with nice cafes and expensive shops. Nice, but not exactly our destination of choice.
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