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The adventures of Fe & Chris

Archive for December 28, 2007

Arthur’s Pass & glaciers

After spending a night in a very pleasant forested car park (the local camp site was another unpleasant car park) we opportunistically took the advice of a sign that directed us for a walk.

We started in beautiful mossy forest, passed through lovely dwarf forest, then up a cascading river which took us above the tree line. At the end of the path we found a small, snaking glacier which were most pleased to see (the day before we had run away from the Franz Josef Glacier on account of it crawling with queuing tourists). With a few slightly complex river crossings we were at its snout (the end bit) and enjoyed a fine exploration.

It was a lovely walk. It was raining, but it didn’t seem to matter. There were almost no other people on the hill for most of our walk, but the tourist sheep principle applied, and the car park was full on our return.

‘Tis the season to be jolly

Well, actually in NZ it feels like completely the wrong season mostly - all a bit too warm and sunny. On Christmas day the weather did its best though - it was very wet and rather chilly for quite a lot of it. We did, however, manage a walk to look at the Fox glacier before the clouds burst again. The glacier is pretty impressive, although it perhaps might have been more so if we could see the big mountains that were obscured by cloud in the background. Ah well.

For Christmas we both got flip flops as our previous pairs had sadly passed away over the last couple of weeks - very distressing, especially for mine which have been with me for a good number of years and a few travels - Reef flip flops therefore highly recommended.

We treated ourselves to a buffet style lunch full of our favourite things at a nice picnic spot in the rain, with an almost constant stream of campervans and cars driving past, though there were nice views when the rain stopped. We had a lovely, yummy Christmas cake that Nicola had very kindly provided, and we even got a twinkling Christmas tree for 97c (about 30p) courtesy of The Warehouse in Queenstown “Where everyone gets a bargain” - apparently this is true!

After checking out our planned camp for the evening and finding it was in fact a car park, and busy as well, we headed along the road and found a nice little grassy spot where we had our Christmas dinner - for those interested this consisted of “Marinated Aubergine Steak”, “Sauteed garlic mushrooms and capsicum” and new potatoes glazed with butter. Delicious. This was rounded off with a rather nice white wine from Gisborne, NZ.

Hope you all had an equally lovely day.

Always choose your tent carefully…

T’was Christmas morn by Lake Paringa. We were enjoying the pleasures of a small campsite and a morning cup of tea. Entertainment was kindly provided by a lone camper striking his tent (in the camping sense, rather than in violence).

Over the course of an hour we watched this Mr Bean like character fail to pack his tent away. Now, you might argue that it being the season of goodwill to all men I should have offered my extensive tent folding experience however:

1. He had erected his tent in a position that spoiled our view so we were not inclined towards generosity.

2. It was Christmas, he was alone, thus clearly a psychopath.

Now, why did it take him a hour before he succeeded in his task? His tent was a natty self erecting tent that sprang open and assumed the position as soon as released from its bag. Just when he thought that game was over and the tent in the bag, it escaped his grasp and exploded back to square one.

Chrismas Eve visitations

I awoke to the sound of a mosquito in my ear and rain on the roof. It was 0500 and we were camped by a braided river not far from the three townships of Haast.

My skin was all itches and bumps. I enquired as to the state of consciousness of my beloved. Upon finding her mostly awake I continued to ask her whether she had suffered at the hands of flying insects. By the time her sluggish brain had processed my words and considered the environmental conditions I was up and jumping about and not concerned with her answer.

The van was full of mosquitoes. Hundreds of them. These were the first mossies we had met in NZ. Ordinarily we suffered from Sandflies which give a nasty nip, but can’t penetrate the van unless we open the door for them.

There was nothing else to do but drive away with the windows open. We travelled 30 or so kilometres to Haast Beach which afforded fine surf views. We spent one whole hour killing mosquitoes, then went back to bed.

It rained all morning so we stayed in bed, drank tea and watched the huge surf. When the precipitation stopped we struggled out and had a solar shower. As there had been no sun, it was cold. Why we waited for it to stop raining, I’m not sure.