New Zealand Update (4)!

Ok, I know I’ve been slacking on the blog tip, but I just spent a long ass time on this computer and slow ass connection.. only for my post to not save and have the computer shut down on me.. ugh!!

So, let me try to remember it all and pick up from the last post:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

  • Drove from Wanaka up the west coast for our 3pm Half-Day Hike excursion of Franz Josef Glaciers. (Drive was approx. 5 hours or so)
  • About the glaciers: The Franz Josef (Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere in Maori is a 12 km long glacier, located in Westland National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Together with the Fox Glacier 20 km to the south, it is unique in descending from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres above sea level, amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest.
  • We got a lil giddy as we neared Glacier country with some sprinkles falling from the sky, thinking that perhaps the hike would be cancelled and we can use the day to rest from our previous adventures. So, I used the handy mobile phone provided by our campervan hire, and phoned the Glacier folks…. only to be told, “honey, it rains 200 days of the year over here, so yes, the hike is still on.” Sigh and Doh!
  • We parked our camper at 2:45pm, just in time for check-in, and get our gear on: rainjacket, waterproof over pants, socks, hiking boots and a fanny pack filled with spikes – specifically for ice climbs.
  • And onward we were! After a short bus ride to the glacier valley.. we walked through the valley under conditions of cold winds and rain spittings….
  • Some parts of the glacier were rather steep, and I had many a times asked myself, “why? why do i get myself into these things? whyyyy??”
  • But with a lil’ push (literally) here and there by Lundy, I made my way up to our finish point.
  • I only wished conditions weren’t so wet, so that camera footage could’ve been used more,,,, but ahh well.. our pics look like we’re meterologists on site!
  • The glaciers were def a cool (literally and figuratively) experience!  You gotta be in decent and agile shape for this one!
  • Tired and spent after the hike, we parked our camper at the nearby Holiday Park and cooked ourselves a fabulous glazed lamb chop + pesto fettucine meal! SOOO YUMMY!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

  • Woke and continued on with our Round Two of lamb chop + fettucine pesto for breakfast…. Delicious AGAIN!
  • Eventually started our drive up the west coast towards Hoktika and then eastward via the infamously roller-coaster, twisty turvy Arthur’s Pass, to bring us back to Christchurch at approximately 7pm. (The drive took about a good 6 hours with a necessary one hour nap somewhere in the middle of that drive.)
  • Lundy’s good eye on the road even found “Saigon Star Restaurant” and I happily agreed to switch things up a bit for a lil’ home-cooking esque meal of vietnamese food..I opted for the simple pork and vermicelli while Lundy went for the special that included pork, beef, egg roll and sugarcane/shrimp with vermicelli…and of course, we ordered some egg rolls for apps!
  • We took the food to-go.. or as “take away” as they say here and in the ‘Hai.
  • We checked ourselves in back at the So Hotel, dropped off our stuff in the room, loaded laundry, and head back downstairs to bring the campervan to a nearby park for drop off, where our renters would pick up. Just as easy as that!
  • After a short walk from the park to our hotel, we devoured our meal and settled in for the night with internet/laundry etc.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

  • We woke for a 8:45am Super Shuttle pick to the airport for our 10:15am flight to the North Island; first destination: Rotorua.
  • We arrived at Rotorua on time at 11:55am and swiftly got our bags and checked in with the Car Rental Booths… only to learn that due to high season, all cars had been rented and all that was left were larger vans ..that were uber expensive for our short stay.
  • Thus, we headed to the Super Shuttle outside and had him lead us to a rather dandy and nice hostel, YHA Treks. (YHA and BASE are the two major hostel chains throughout NZ.. and I highly recommend.. clean and good space..and CLEAN!)
  • We checked in and headed out to purchase our bus ticket for Manukau City (just outside of Auckland) as since this would be our next destination for the day after… to visit some of Lundy’s distant relatives. After which, we settled at Art Cafe for some grilled sandwiches. I had the egg and bacon, while Lundy opted for the mushroom, advocado and cheese. YUM!
  • After a quick internet run, we grabbed some popsicles on this sweltering day and chilled on the park benches of the nearby park … with surrounding geysers and mudpools! The sulfur is FOR REAL here! But pretty nifty to see!
  • At 7pm, we were picked up to attend a Maori Culture excursion.
  • About Maori: The Māori (commonly pronounced /ˈmɑaɔri/ or /ˈmaʊri/) are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand (Aotearoa). They probably arrived in southwestern Polynesia in several waves at some time before year 1300,[6] settled and developed a distinct culture. Māori society was destabilised from the late 18th century by the weapons and diseases introduced by Europeans, and after 1840 they lost an increasing amount of their land, and went into a cultural and numerical decline. However their population began to increase again from the late 19th century, and a marked Māori cultural revival began in the 1960s and continues.
  • We were introduced to the whole Maori Heritage via our enthusiastic bus driver lady, who picked a gray-haired man (after no one volunteered), named “Herb” from Texas (in the chocolate business) to be our chief. Herb would be our representative for the evening… along with 2 other chiefs from 2 other busses.
  • After a ritual introduction ceremony consisting of some chant and spear moves by Maori warriors, we were invited to enter in the village where various “ways of life” things were taught.. including participation in some Maori games. Lundy was bold enough to partake in one of the games..and well rather than explain now, I’ll post the video some other time. (Lundy truly believes he was a Maori warrior in his previous life…and ya know what? I think he might be right! All signs make sense afterall!)
  • Next up, was a very entertaining show of story-telling, song and dance.
  • Then finally, an all-you-can-eat  Hangi Meal aka “Thanksgiving-esque” buffet was had by all…. turkey, roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, veggies, fish, mussels etc..!!! and yummy dessert!
  • Overall, GREAT TIME with the Maori… thoroughly entertained and well-fed.. I can’t complain! Definitely a must-do in Rotorua!

. . don’t burn the day. .

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