Thursday, February 28, 2008

Land of Everything

For one thing, with so many places to visit and so many things to do, it's didn't feel like a 3 week long break at all.. and there's so many places that i had to skip due to a lack of time.

While planning the trip, i knew that there were several must-do things/sights. They were (not arranged in any priority):
Tongariro Alpine Crossing
White water rafting
Abel Tasman National Park
Hot air balloon over Canterbury
Wine tasting at Hawkes Bay
Climbing of glaciers
Paragliding off Cornet Peak
Shotover Jet
Bungy jumping

While i got to do most of the stuff on the list, i did wish that i had known about this list, 101 Must Do's for Kiwis - AA Travel New Zealand

Checking off the list against what i did in NZ

  1. Mitre Peak & Milford Sound - NO (never even heard of any sounds prior to visiting south island... and as it was too far south.)
  2. Doubtful Sound - NO (see above)
  3. Bay of Islands - NO (too far north)
  4. Fiordland National Park - NO (see no. 1)
  5. Abel Tasman National Park - finally YES!!!!
  6. Aoraki Mount Cook - YES (went to Mt. Cook Alpine Valley)
  7. Coastal Kaikoura - YES (heard about all year whale watching from a fellow traveller and then plans were made to visit the site. Great seafood there too!)
  8. Hanmer Springs - YES (Read about Hanmer Springs in the local papers while there and decided to go there)
  9. Camping Country - YES (The whole trip was in a campervan and the assortment of camping stops can astound you.)
  10. Tutukaka / The Poor Knights - No ( didn't hear about it)
  11. Marlborough Sounds - No
  12. Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers - YES (it was wonderful)
  13. Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro - YES (Such a painful yet rewarding hike to see the volcanos)
  14. Waitomo Caves - No ( wasn't interested in caves or glow worms)
  15. Southern Scenic Route - NO
  16. Otago Rail Experience - NO
  17. White Island - NO
  18. Stewart Island - NO
  19. Arthur's Pass National Park - NO
  20. Tongariro Alpine Crossing - YES (long and painful hike)

And the list goes on... seems that there's a whole lot of stuff that i didn't get to do (especially the top 5)... and will need a second trip there. It is definately a place worth visiting and 3 weeks is not enough.

Total milage travelled - 3500km (excluding flights there and the 2hr sea crossing of Cook Straits)

Biggest lessons learnt
Sandflys CAN CAUSE misery - it was a record breaking 2 mins picnic by the lake
Blue equals GREEN - When visiting places such as Blue Pools of Haast Pass or Blue Lakes of Mt. Cook Valley, do note that it's GREEN
Scenary and weather changes every five mintues
Hokitika is filled with quaint shops. I wanted to buy everything!
Christchurch is not Europe

Enough of talk, here are some pictures

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