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December 31, 2006

The South Island

First off, sorry y'all that I haven't put up any pics.. all the Internet kiosks/cafes are really strict about that sort of thing. So I haven't been able to download anything off the camera. I promise to put some up when we get back!

So, starting from Wellington: we got on the Interislander ferry on the 27th to head across the Cook Strait. After a fairly uneventful ride between the islands and through Queen Charlotte Sound, we arrived in the port town of Picton. Not that we stayed long: we were on a schedule to pick up Jen's friend Kirsten from the Nelson "International" Airport. We stayed in Richmond, just outside. I don't think it was really much like my hometown, really. After all, one cannot see the Southern Cross from there. While in Nelson/Richmond we checked out the "Centre of NZ" (since recalculated by GPS to be in the harbor, actually) and went to a winery that sold several cases of their wine to "The World". Google "The World" for some more details about this opulent ship. We felt like the wine must be pretty decent, so we got a bottle.

Then it was on to Franz Josef. This was a very satisfying (and scary) part of the trip. You see, we trekked on a glacier, wearing ice crampons on our boots and everything. Silly me, I thought a glacier was flat. But not at the face of it.. we had to go up 200 meters of melting, moving ice/snow. And back down. I felt like we were living up to the extreme billing of NZ. Also took a trip to Lake Mathison so we could see Mt. Cook in reflection; but it didn't work out like that given the clouds. Still cool though.

This morning we headed across the south island through Arthur's Pass, a trip which has been rated one of the world's most scenic. I think we must have taken 60 pictures between the sea and the 900+ meter pass. Some of the Lord of the Rings was shot here (really, was there anywhere in NZ that wasn't in the pic somewhere?). Then it was on down the mountain, through the Canterbury plains to the town of Christchurch.

And that's where we sit tonight. Happy New Year everyone, ~18 hours early!

Posted by The Greatness at December 31, 2006 04:37 AM