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NZ 2009 - Travel Journal

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Author Topic: NZ 2009 - Travel Journal  (Read 762 times)
Bloody-Good Member
Posts: 312

« on: August 16, 2009, 07:49:24 pm »

I am no writer and apologise for the typos but I can't be bothered editing it.

Day 1

Out of bed at 3.50am, Donna and Dale arrived around 4.10 am, loaded up the luggage in the Voyager and we were on our way.
It was a good trip to Sydney, traffic was quiet, so no hold ups.
Said our goodbyes to Dale, had a little wait to check our luggage, then headed off to duty free.
I was unually very reserved with my shopping but Kat bought a great little Nikon Coolpix L100 and Donna bought a gorgeous pair of Versace sunglasses.
Had a quick bite to eat and boarded the plane at 9.45am, in the air by 10.15am. Very calm take off with little turbulance and the captain said we would make it to Queenstown in 2.5 hours thanks to a nice little tail wind.
My TV isn't working....so I'll have to read.
Lunch was nice, chicken caesar salad, choc brownie and a nice glass of Sav Blanc.
We are about a hour away from landing and have been told it is cloudy with some rain but considering the weather, our pilot landed us very sweetly.
Through ciustoms very quick though they wanted to wash Kat's boots.
Our car ended up being a white 2008 model Prado...nice car.
Got to the crowne, valet parking (yay) and very pleased with our room, sixth floor and over looking the lake and the mountains....stunning view indeed.
Decided to go up the gondola to the skyview for dinner. Again Kat was not happy bing in the gondola but Donna seemed fine and we loved our buffet meal.
Back to the hotel and asleep by 10.30pm...it was a long day.

Day 2

We were up at 8am and decided today we would shop.
Went to Glassons where Kat bought clothes and to Dotti where she bought shoes.....then it was off to Louis Vuitton where I finally purchased something....a gorgeous pair of sunglasses. To get the tax off them though I had to have them sent to Christchurch airport where I would pick them up at the ned of our holiday. We were in there for about an hour drooling over the bags and wallets. Next year I am getting a bag for sure. I also bought a pair of really good hiking boots....not from Louis Vuitton of course :-)
We wanted to take Donna to all our favourite places so it was to Old Man Rock for lunch and one of their incredible hot chocolates. There is none better than Old Man Rock.
It was decided then we needed some excitement so back to the Crowne to drop off all our shopping abd back to the wharf to go Jetboating. Donna had never done this before so we knew she'd be in for a treat. Today the lake is quite choppy so we were wave hopping and I did wonder a few times if we went airborn....lots of fun, then under the bridge and onto the braided river for some major hamilton spins and rock dodging. It was an the longest jetboat ride we've had yet, an hour and very worth it.
On the way back to the Crowne we stopped at a camera shop where Donna purchsed a new camera. Hers is a Canon and for the price, a very good camera. I bought a very nice woollen cardie, as I discovered upon opening my suitcase, I had accidently left some things at home....bet they are at the botto of my bed when I get home.
The Novotel restaurant is where we decided we'd go for dinner, it was lovely as usual as was the ambience so we stayed there until about 10 pm and had a cocktail or two.
Walking home we thought it might nice to pop into the casino but Kat couldnt go in because she is only 19, so onward towards the Crowne where the Wharf Casino is (across the road) where Kat was nice enough to go back to our room and let Doona and myself go to the Casino for a while. Hmmm, nothing special, lots 20 bucks (not really a gambler), went back to the Crowne for yet another early night.
Skiing tomorrow....just hope this blister lets me.

Day 3

Up by 8am and headed to The Remarkables. The drive was very easy and with the new skid rails on the steeper areas, a lot less dangerous. The views as per normal were spectacular. We have chosen a great day to go up....blues skies and puffy clouds.
Went up on the big chairlift first and woohoo, finally felt cold. It is very steep and at times quite high off the ground but the views are worth it. You can see white peaks to the end of the horizon.
The sign at the top told us we were in a high avalanche area which I think made Donna a little nervous. We stayed at the top for about 30 mins, got photos and just enjoyed the feeling of being in such a beautiful place.....perfect air, perfect views and it is also fun watching people fall over when they jusmp off the chairlift ;-))
Took the chirlift back down and had some lunch, then back to the car to get our ski boots, mine instantly hurt my blister as soon as I put them on...looks like no skiing for me this trip (bugger)
Kat had a few runs but you could see she wasn't having as much fun as normal....no one to ski with.
We left around 1.30pm and stopped at the lookout for Donna to get some photos.
Kat was tired and feeling car sick so we dropped her off at the crowne and Donna and I headed to Glenorchy. The drive was again, stunning. It has to be one of the prettiest drives I have ever seen. The lake is in view almost all of the time reflecting snowing hills and mountains. I showed her the dart river and then on to Paradise where I also showed her places LOTR was filmed. We went a little further than I have been before...almost had to start 4wdriving :-)
One the way home we heard Donna's phone rining but by the time she got it, she had missed the call. I had a funny feeling it had something to do with Dan....and of course it was.
Spoke to Darren, Daniel is fine, respite paniced yet again over one of his seizures.
Had dinner tonght at the Crownes three/sixty...best meal I have ever had whilst in NZ. Donna and I also shared a bottle of wine.....got back to the room feeling a bit tiddly but slept horribly.

Day 4

Arrowtown is on our agenda today. I have been there once but only drove through, I want to spend some time there today.
We had a lovely day of shopping and a wonderful meal at The Stables. A 160 year old building that is so charming you feet like you have time travelled back to another era.
More shopping after lunch.....Arrowtown has some very high end boutiques....a few were a little too high end. I bought a very nice Diesel shopper and some blownglass and crystal souvineers.
Kat bought a lovely designer dress made from believe it or not, rain coat material. It is silver and fits her like it was made for her. Donna looked at a marino wrap with possum fur but it was $930.
I got some great photos at Arrowtown and would love to come back for the soul purpose of taking photos one day.
Called into lake Hayes on the way back to Queenstown then back up the Gobdola so Donna could see the Queenstown views during the day.
Had dinner at Prime, then more shopping. Purchased some Bulgari and Jean Paul Gaultier perfume and back to the Casino where I won $40.
Off to Mt Cook tomorrow.

Day 5

The drive to Mt Cook was great, only four hours and that was with a few stops along the way.
Checked in at the Hemritage then went to the museum, planatarium and also watched Mt Cook Magic.
Had dinner at The Old Mountaineers Cafe which was delicious and found out Charlie (the owner) wasn't there, he is in Sydney.

Day 6

Upgraded to a cooked breakfast then hung around until 10am to take Donna to Mt Cook Airport so she could do the flight up through Tasman Glacier and do the snow landing. This is something we did last year and no words can describe how incredible it is.
We met a couple from Newcaslte there doing the same flight, lovely couple but the girl was a bit nervous about going on the flight, I assured her she would be safe and would love it and she did.
Donna got off the plane smiling and said it was one of the best things she has ever done.
While they were on the flight Kat and I went up to the info centre and took photos of various exhibits and even touched a rock from the summit of Aoraki Mt/Cook.
By the time we got back, they were just landing.
We then drove out the Hooker valley to hike past the second suspended bridge for some incredible views of the mountain. kat didn't do this last year with us so I wanted to take her there this time.
The hike is about 4 hours long with fairly easy walking with only a few up hill clammering over rocks.
The weather was amazing...very much spring weather but too hot for me. I go to NZ for cold and snow.
Got some good photos of the mountains with Mt Sefton looking very good today....the light on it was perfect for taking photos.
I can't get enough of Aoraki/Mt Cook though. I adore this mountain and the mythology behind it....as well as knwoing it was an Australia woman who was the first woman to climb him and also the first along with two men to do the Grand Traverse...Freda De Faur was an amazing lady who most Aussies have never even heard of yet she accomplished so much. Buried in Manly, some lovely Kiwi's brought a piece of the mountain to her grave and had it laid there with her.
Got back to the room, had a nanna nap, woke up around 4.30pm and got ready for dinner. Tonight it was in the panorama restaurant, never fails to please with great service and fantastic food.
Stayed for a couple of cocktails and agina had a terrible nights sleep. What is it with me not being able to sleep properly this trip!!

Day 7

Up at 7.30am.....only Donna and myself went up for breakfast, Kat is trying to catch up on sleep.
Had another look through the souvineer shop. back to our rom to pick up Kat and headed to the Tasman Valley for more hiking, this time a little shorter in distance but a lot steeper.
Donna coped well for about 3/4's of it but when the track turned to rocks and boulders that had to be climbed a bit, she got a little bit nervous...but she coped, made it to the top and was pleased she did, the view up there is wonderfu. Icebergs, the terminal face of Tasman Glacier, Mt Chudleigh, Aoraki/Mt Cook as well as many others. It really is a site to behold. Took lots of photos then started our way back down which is probably more hazardous than coming up. You have to have a bit of mountain goat in you.
Stopped at the first blue lake (which is actually green) and messed about there for a while trying to break the ice that covered most of it. Donna and Kat were like kids, throwing small boulders onto it with little luck of breaking anything.
Started to walk back to the car when I got a text from Darren saying Dan had aspirated at Respite and was in the Mater. He had vomited after having a bath and being fed, something they know NOT TO DO!
He told me he would let me know more as he did so we had some lunch at the Hermitage Cafe, came back to the room, had a shower ans then got the phone call from the doctor telling me that dan was gravely ill and would die in the next 24 hours if we didn't ventillate him. I told him to do anything and everything to save my son....sitting here now, feeling helpless, and sick in the stomach waiting to hear if the procedure went ok...it itself can cause the paitient to go into cardiac arrest.
Darren finally texted me that it went well. He was stable now and all I want to do is get home.

Day 8

Had a horrendous nights sleep. Coudn't stop thinking of Dan even though I had a Temaze tablet. It is raining, suits my mood I guess. Went up to have breakfast, then back here at the room waiting around to hear more news. I couldn't sit here any longerI had to do something so got some of my clothes and headed up to the laundry. It was an older area of the hotel and was quite spooky, I couldn't help think of the hotel in The Shining, almost expecting Jack Nicholson to jump out and say "here's Johnny".
Darren finally texted me, the x-rays are not as bad as they thought, they were als planning to back him off some of the sedation to get him to cough and to breathe on his own. This settled my mind a little bit but it is so hard tobe so far away.
We had dinner once again at the Panorama.....I can't say enough about it, just lovely once again.
Back to the room, watched some tv and had yet another bad sleep.

Day 9

I was up at 6am, had a shower, made sure everything was packed and went uo for breakfast and to check out.
We left for Christchurch around 8.45am. Stopped at Lake Tekapo so Donna could see the Little Church and the dog....it was colder there than it had been the whole trip.
The drive was mostly drizzly but even in the rain, the sights are very beautiful. Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo'looked amazing,....such a incredibly light aqua.
Filled the car up at Ashburton (Diesel Pardos are amazing on fuel $80 for the whole trip)
Got to the airport at 12.30pm, checked luggage, and did more shopping (we are women:-)
The pane got in late so we were delayed and then dleayed longer due to something needing to be calibrated in the right engine, scared the crap out of me. I am a nervous flying as it is.
I didn't enjoy take off at all. The head flight attendant asked me if there was anything he could do, I said get me a glass of wine which he did and which I threw down int two gulps. Three more wines later and a very nice dinner of chicken, pasta and caper suace as well as hokey pokey icecream and I am feeling quite relaxed. I played Who Wants To be A Millionaire on my screen and won the million dollars, I wonder if Air New Zealand will give it to me ;-))
We should land in about 30 minutes. The flight had a little bit of turbulance, won't be long until we land, I am about four and a half hours away from seeing my boy.
Landing was great, very smooth and not scary at all. Got through immigrationa nd customs quickly though Donna had to declare a coupleof wooden items. She got through, though they were wary about a little wooden boat.
Our driver was waiting for us at Macca's and usual was a maniac driver....what do they teach these Happy Cabby guys??? We did however get home safely and was greeted by a very excited Percy Pug and cats. Spoke to my Mum briefly, said goodbye to Dale abd Donna then both Katrina and I hopped in the car to go see Dan.
I was happy to see him but it pains me so much to see him so ill and there is little I can do. We stayed there for about an hour, talking to the sister taking care of him....hoping to be convinced he would be ok. Said a prayer, then with a heavy heart headed back home.
It has been such a long day....I am exhausted. I just hope I can sleep.
Our NZ trip was great for the most part. I loved introducing my sister to this beautiful country and I am know she enjoyed herself.
It is good to be home though.

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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2009, 06:28:34 am »

How nice that you enjoy NZ so much and keep coming back.   I did enjoy reading your travel diary.   I hope that you have many more happy holidays here and it is sad that this one was marked with your sons illness.     I do hope he is much better by now.
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Bloody-Good Member
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2009, 09:35:59 am »

He was better yesterday, lungs were clearer except for a small collapse at the bottom of his right lung. Platelets are heading back up and liver function appears better.
I hope when I get there this morning they have even better news for me.

I do enjoy my NZ trips. Our countries are so alike, infact some refer to Australia as the West Island and you guys as another state of Australia. I like that you are only a short plane trip away and your scenery is what we had many billions of years ago.
Did you know that Oz and NZ are two of only four counties who have Alps?
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Shit-Hot Member
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2009, 10:28:19 pm »

Thanks Jodes. Great reading. I'm sorry to hear about your son, but glad to hear he's doing better.
Have you ever been skiing, exploring in the North Island? I lived on a high country station an hour and a half from Ruapehu. I'm not sure how it compares with the South Island, but it was certainly an interesting place.
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Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2009, 10:34:31 pm »

Shef we are visiting the north island next year.
We will fly to Christchurch, drive to either Picton or Blenheim (whichever one has the ferry crossing), cross to Wellington, stay the night, then onto Mt Ruapehu where we will stay and ski for 4 days. Then to Rotarua for the night, then to Auckland, stay the night and fly home.
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« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2009, 06:38:27 pm »

If you get the chance while you're at Ruapehu, wander over to Taihape and visit Gravity Canyon. They have a bungy, flying fox etc www.gravitycanyon.co.nz
I have never plucked up the courage to go on any of these, but we have friends who visited that loved it
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2009, 10:49:18 am »

Shall do Shef....thanks. It is nice to know where to go when you've never been there before.
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2009, 02:34:30 pm »

You will be able to fly direct from Rotorua to Sydney by your next visit (courtesy of Air NZ).

That will enable you to avoid Auckland (known as JAFAville to us REAL NZers)....
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2009, 05:01:23 pm »

If I had time I would start the holiday in the North Island, cross on the ferry and make my way back to Queenstown and fly out of there.
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Bloody-Good Member
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2009, 05:30:12 pm »

Hmmmm thinking about it, it would be a great trip.
Fly to Rotarua, stay the night, head to Mt Ruapehu, stay for 3 days, onto Wellington over night, then cross to Picton, stay the night, then to westport for one night, down to Franz Josef for the night, then to Queenstown for 2 nights and fly home.
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2009, 08:58:43 am »

I may be teaching you to suck eggs but........
At Westport, visit the coaltown museum and go for a drive up to Denniston.  [Dont bother if its not a good day]  The seal colony at Cape Foulwind is overated but may be worth a look, and Punekaiki on the road to Greymouth is great when the sea is rough.  Just south of Greymouth, Shantytown is well worth a look.
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2009, 10:37:47 am »

Double thumbs up for the Coaltown museum.. it was excellent and Denniston mine is a not to miss experience.       
I took this at the top of the incline as the cloud began to part...what a view.   You can also turn right at the bottom of the hill and follow the track to visit the bottom of the incline.
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