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Vanesa/ Nicole’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 16 Jan 2010

Location: South Island, New Zealand

MapOn our drive into Nelson we realized that we were definitely in wine country, viewing field after field of vineyards. Nelson is an irresistible combination of breathtaking scenery and a laid-back atmosphere surrounded by many golden sandy beaches and aqua blue water. Upon arrival we checked into our hostel only to realize that this dorm happened to be co-ed and we were sharing our room with 3 foreign males. Question? Do all guys smell this bad? Do all guys snore this loud?

So as you can tell our first co-ed hostel experience was a total bust. Sleeping in a room with 3 guys, all on different snoring cycles did not allow for much sleep. The next evening we requested an all female dorm which allowed us to meet some cool girls from England. That evening we all went out dancing and discovered that this town has a whole lot of pretty boys in it, not quite our type. When a guy has to spend more time getting ready then we do, that is just plain wrong!

Next destination... Franz Josef! On our very long bus ride down south we stopped in a small town called Punakaiki. This town had some of the most magnificent scenery we have seen thus far. Beautiful canyons, rock cuts, pancake rocks and blowholes. The landscape in Franz Josef was very similar to that of Alberta. The further south we went we began to see that there was still snow on the mountain peaks. So it is safe to say that we put away our togs (bathing suits) and took out our track pants and sweaters. Franz Josef consists of huge glaciers nestled in valleys surrounded by plush rainforests. It is a very big tourist town that only consisted of mountain men with long beards.

Queenstown lookout here we come!

This is the moment that we have been waiting for. The adventure capital of the world! Queenstown is an outdoor adventure playground that is surrounded by stunning alpine mountains and mystical lakes. The bus ride to Queenstown was unbearable as we were fidgety with anticipation. Of course, throughout our 7 hour bus ride the two individuals that we connected the most were an American named Jason, and a Canadian named Kat.

Once we got off the bus we were told that it was only a 10 minute walk to our hostel. Little did we know, the 10 minutes was really a hike up the steepest hill we have ever encountered. We are talking about straight up! We had to walk on an angle with our entire luggage just so we didnít fall backwards. We finally made it to the top of the hill, heavy breathing, burning calves, and heart pumping. You would have thought we had just completed a boot camp military style workout. If you think this is where it stops, you are soooo wrong. We get to the top of hill only to realize that we have to go up two flights of stairs. If we werenít tired after this we had one more hill and 5 more flights of stairs before we actually made it to our room. Apparently this is what happens when you wait to book your hostel until last minute. On a good note though, we did have one of the most spectacular views in all of Queenstown. Our hostel was nestled right into the top of the mountain. We were so high up in altitude that our heads were basically in the clouds.

That evening Vanesa, Nicole, Kat and Jason all explored the town and hung out, it were as if we had known each other for years. We only stayed one night in Queenstown cause if we stayed any longer we would have had to of been on the next flight home. It is a money sucker!

Although it was extremely hard to say goodbye and make our way up the east coast, with a little will power and a set itinerary we managed to get on the bus.

Christchurch was next on our itinerary. This is the largest city in the South Island. It consists of a University, old stone buildings and churches, and a river that winds itself through the entire city. As we are not in this country to spend our time in large cities we quickly moved on and caught an early train to the small town of Kaikoura.

The train was called the Tranz Scenic, and scenic it was with views of the ocean side, mountains, rolling hills and tunnels. Upon arrival in Kaikoura, we were thoroughly disappointed when we discovered that due to rough weather conditions all whale watching boats were cancelled for that day. Guess we are going to have to find somewhere else to do this. Tonight, after talking to a local we found out that there is a toga party going on tonight. Guess we better check that out!

Tomorrow, we will venture back up towards Picton to catch the inter-islander back to the North Island where it is much warmer. We are slowly losing our tans, and we donít like it. Where are the warm, sunny beaches when we need them!