New Zealand: The South Island

We have been in the south island of New Zealand for just over a week now and I thought I better jot down what we have been upto.

We caught the Bluebridge ferry from Wellington on the 20th of September and had a nice journey moving through the Marlborough Sounds which are quite spectacular. We hit Picton on the south island about 3 hours later and decided to stay there the night before moving on.

From Picton we headed towards Nelson and spent the day looking around this busy little town made famous by the fact that the ring from The Lord of the Rings was designed and made here by master goldsmith Jen Hanson. We had a look around his jewelery shop and I was a bit sad and took photos of the master copy of the ring that was used in the film! (couldn’t resist!).

From Nelson we headed north to a small little town called Collingwood,  This town is famous for The Farewell Spit. This  is a 32km long sand bar that stretches out of the top of the south island. We took a tour to see this giant sand bar, it included a very long ride on a bus along the sand bar with commentary on all the different birds that live there (Zzzzzzzz), the tour was complete once we reached a lighthouse where there was extensive commentary on how life was 50 years ago living in the lighthouse (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz). As might have guessed the trip was pretty boring and not worth the $90 dollars each we all paid, but I guess we live and learn! However I won’t be remebering Collingwood for the tour because this is where I asked Bobbie to marry me because the scenery here was really beautiful.

From Collingwood we travelled south to the Abel Tasman National park where we took part in a 4.5 hour walk through some really beautiful scenery, we also got to see a colony of New Zealand fur seals which was really great! (see photos which will be up soon)

From here we travelled down and onto the west coast to a town called Westport, not much to see or do here so we quickly moved down south to Greymouth. Here we took part in a bit of caving! We turned up at caving HQ at around 1pm and were quickly put into thermal t-shirts, socks and jumper and then we had to squeeze into a 2 piece wetsuit which was kinda tight. We were then given gum boots and a helmet and then hauled into a truck for a 10 min drive to caving country. Once here we had a 25 minute trek through a temperate rainforest before reaching the mouth of the cave. We then had to take part in a bit of Maouri superstition and collect a piece of the "earth mother" to put in our helmet, we all choose a leaf. Then we had to draw a spiral on our cheeks with some mud. This was all to keep away the dragon that Maouri’s belive dwell in caves! Once we  had become all tribal we decended into the blackness. It was alot of fun crawling and jumping our way through the cave, I got the chance to self guide myself through a tight tunnel which was a little claustraphobic but also alot of fun. We also got to slide down a water fall and glide down a inner stream on black inner tubes without any lights on so we could see the thousands of glow worms that hang around on the roof of the cave. Our last test before seeing daylight was to crawl through a tightish tunnel called "the love tunnel". It wasn’t to bad until trying to exit the tunnel through the "afterbirth" hole. This was really really tight and I didn’t think I would fit, but with a little wriggling we all managed to get out without getting stuck, phew! It was a really fun day and I would recommend doing it to anyone.


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