Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Whirlwind Tour of New Zealand with Iowan Friends

The pace picks up. When Ben Garrett and his girlfriend, Christina, joined us on November 1st we had 10 days to get as much ground covered as possible. Needless to say a car was required to complete this mission. Unfortunately, the 60-80 degree weather we had experienced the 3 weeks prior was replaced with 30-50 degree weather. Along with these colder temperatures we experienced rain, sleet and snow!

In the North Island we experienced:
* Coromandel Penninsula (we actually sat in the hot water holes this time at Hot
Water Beach...see previous blog posting)
* Taupo Lake (hiked)

We didn't spend alot of time in the North Island because we were trying to get to
the South Island which everyone said was absolutely beautiful.

In the South Island we had a great time:
* Did some hikes in the mountains and had great vistas.
* Ward, Christina and Ben went skydiving at 12,000ft (air temperature at that
elevation was -4 degrees F). They said it was quite an adrenaline rush. They were
free falling for 45 seconds.
* Ward and I drove to Milford Sound and did an overnight cruise through the Fjords
(If you wonder why I didn't go skydiving its because I spent my money on this
instead.) It was incredible!! We kayaked and saw penguins, seals, and dolphins.
Highly recommended. You'll have to read the egroup and see the pictures.
* Christina and Ben bungy jumped off the bridge where the bungy jumping
originated. Too scary for Ward and I. They did it in tandem. Some people
actually got their body dipped into the water head first.
* Christina and Ben went scuba diving.
* We all went mountain biking on single track through the hills.

The North Island has rolling green lush hills with lots of dairy farms. It is much more populated than the South Island. The South Island is known for its picturesque mountains, fjords, and adventurous activities (as well as its "sand flies!"). An egroup will be coming shortly and will explain all the activities, etc we did in more detail. Please let us know if you have had difficulty signing up for the egroup. If so, we will send the email to you directly.