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New Zealand, Australia and beyond

sunny 17 °C

Sunday 14th
Westport to Lake Mahinapua
We have woken up to a really sunny day today. Blue skies and barely a cloud in the sky our first stop is the walk that should have happened yesterday. What an amazing walk. An hour along a cliff edge with the snow capped Southern Alps to our left and the seal colonies and beaches to our right. Absolutely stunning views and awesome photos. Last town for a few days so we have to stock up on food and fancy dress costumes for our 'P' party tonight. I've decided to go as a painter as I already have a top that looks like paint splashes, so I bought a set of coveralls and some paint brushes to put in my hair and around my neck on a ribbon. We rocked up at the night's hostel, and I must say we have stayed in better. The rooms themselves are alright, three bunk beds, but the sheers vary between scalding and frosty and the whole place smells of a cattery. At least we had dinner cooked for us. Steak/quiche, vegetables, corn on the con, bread roll, pasta and green coleslaw (a cold mix of broccoli, spinach, cabbage and carrot mush). Yum!
Just before dinner, some of us went down to the beach a couple minutes away. Sand (ish), blue sea and sun on your face. Finally! Then for the party!
I was rather impressed with the effort some people went through. A police station (cardboard box with windows cut out, 26 drawings stuck into the window gaps, and police cars stuck around the bottom), popcorn (popcorn boxes stuck all over her body and sandwich bags of popcorn attached) and a poof (pink boxers, grey waistcoat, pink hot and tinsel boa). Another one of my favorites was the plant- two plant pots around the legs stuffed with mud and flowers. Only the barlady wasn't too impressed following him round with a dustpan and brush as the mud kept falling out. Our bus driver Ben was also in attendance. He wore his driving shoes. They are like my finger socks but made of wetsuit material. He also wore fishnet tights, a yellow and green zip up dress, and a black wig. This is on a 50odd year old man with hairy legs, tattoos and strong masculine side. 1 I'm not sure how you wear tights with finger shoes and 2 I'm not sure if he was going as Pretty Woman or a prostitute. Same thing i guess. Either way it was very disturbing, especially when he stood next to the fire, dress raised slightly and him claiming "I don't know how you girls don't get cold". We do get cold!! And try doing it in heels as well!! First prize is a canyon swing second prize is free video and photos if you Bundy, and thrd is a pub crawl voucher for Queenstown.
My cold is getting the better of me still, so another early night for me.
Unfortunately being in the middle if nowhere meant bare,y any reception, let alone any wifi to pay for, so no skyping this weekend. O will aim to Skype my Tuesday morning so England Monday night. Fingers crossed it works alright. I've also managed to spend all my activity money so far so free walks and sight seeing for me from now on. Thankfully there are a lot of walks down here on the South Island.

Monday 15th
Lake Mahinapua to Franz Joseph
We have to leave the hostel by 9.30am sharp. Whilst les, the hostel owner, is funny, he is also 87 and is very straight talking. My day starts with the usual porridge with dried fruit, bag packed and onto the coach. Most people at the back are feeling a little worse fir wear today, and so it's A quieter journey. The bus driver asks the standard "did anyone get lucky last night?" as well as a few more crud questions, then plays the obligatory first track of the day, always something equally crude. That's the level of humour on the coach each day. So off we set to the actual lake. I must be getting used to seeing great things as this morning, the lake entertains me for about three minutes and then I'm back on the coach. Next stop is the 'museum'. New Zealand used to make money from deer farming, possums (to eat and their fur) and timber. So this museum is all about those days before their main income came from tourism. The guy who runs the place, Pete, is a little strange. He seems very stern. Where people have written letters into him after seeing him being 'callous' on tv, he has written what could be described as disproportionate replies. The information centre contains signs including 'vegetarian is another name for a poor poor hunter' and the possum fur cushions still have their whiskers in them. Safe to say I didn't spend too long in there.
W then head off to Franz Joseph where we are now, and staying today and tomorrow. Franz Joseph is the home to glaciers and alpine terrain. Mst people are doing a heli-ride onto the glacier with three hour walk or kayaking around the lake. Having already seen glaciers in Iceland, I'm sticking to free stuff over the next couple of days. We have spent the afternoon in an outdoor hot pool, and I'm hopefully going for a wander around town tomorrow or potentially a walk to 'subalpine terrain' with some others. More prizes to be won later, so fingers crossed.

Posted by Charlief 20:19 Archived in New Zealand

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