Saturday, February 19, 2005
From there I went to Wellington, where it was pouring rain(I was due, apparently). I couldn't get on a ferry, because, well, because I hadn't booked ahead, but also because one of the ferries was taken out of service and there was this huge backlog of people trying to get across. This made me stay a day in Wellington, which wasn't so bad, it's a very nice city. I liked it much more than Auckland. The next day I still couldn't get a ferry, so I called up the Wellington-Picton flight service and they got me on the last flight of the day. It only cost about $30(NZ) more than the ferry, and it was a very intersting experience. It was a 14 seat plane, with one of the passengers sitting in the co-pilots seat. The views were great, and we came into a tiny little strip near picton on what was certainly the steepest landing approach I've ever been on.
From there it was on to St.Arnaud, a town that barely exists, to do a hike in the Nelson Lakes National Park. I did the first day in pouring rain(time again, apparently), past roaring streams and waterfalls. The weather got better, and I stayed two nights at the Lake Angelus hut. The first night there were five Israelis and about five others there. The second night there were about twenty Israelis and five others. Lying on a bunk in a hut in the New Zealand mountains listening to twenty Israelis carrying on a loud and energetic conversation in Hebrew is a surreal experience.
From there I went down the west coast, where the weather was actually pretty good, even though it's supposed to be the rainiest place in New Zealand. I stayed in Punakaiki, another place that barely exists. It was rather idyllic actually. It would have been nice if I'd had more time... and if they had a grocery store there. I went from there to Franz Josef glacier, a very busy tourist destination, where I did a very touristy thing and went on a guided glacier walk. It was good, if a bit expensive($135NZ). We walked through all sorts of crevasses and ice caves. I don't think I'd want to do it for more than a day, it begins to seem all the same after a while.
I am now in Wanaka, which I remember from my last trip. The weather here is fantastic, hopefully it holds for a few days, as I am travelling up the Matukituki valley for three days.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I went on to New Plymouth, a nice town in the Taranaki district, which is much less touristy than the rest of New Zealand that I've seen. I went up and did the circuit around Mt. Taranaki, an isolated volcanic cone that was used as a stand-in for Mt.Fuji in The Last Samurai. It was a good hike and the weather was mostly good, which is about the best you can hope for in New Zealand. I went in and out of gorges, going up and down a lot of ladders and steps and climbing a few ropes. I'm done with that and now I'm headed for Wellington and the South Island.
I have a lot of pictures, but I have no way to put them up right now, so that will have to wait.
Friday, February 04, 2005
I'm in Turangi today and I should do the Tongariro crossing tomorrow. Weather should be starting to get better, which would be nice.