Finishing the ramble didn’t mark the end of my time in New Zealand. Infact NZ 2.0 was just starting with even more adventure packed in.
Ross flew to Tasmania for falls festival and to go hiking in the Western Authors for 9 days, meanwhile Angus I hired a car and drove to Franz Joseph Glacier. 6hrs of car sounds being made by Angus still makes me laugh, and his perfected the art of tactful acceleration making drinking from a water bottle impossible. Hours of fun.
Hiking Franz Joseph Glacier was the highlight of my whole trip. We were helicoptered onto the glacier which gave an incredible perspective of the size, and spent 2 hours hiking to the icefall and back. It was leisurely as they gave us lots of information along the way, letting us take photos and drink the pure glacier water (don’t do it, your hand aches from the cold). The most spectacular part was the roar of an icefall. You hear what sounds like thunder and look around to see a chunk of ice the size of a small car tumbling down the slope. Probably because we have nothing like this in Australia, I was mesmerized by the experience.
After another 4hr road trip to Queenstown Angus went bungy jumping before he flew home. For an adrenaline sport…everyone seems to come back up traumatized…including Angus.
Just hours after Angus left the rest of the crew arrived with Lizzie, Jess, Alex, Kim, KT & Daniel. We had a very fastpaced stay, maximising every adventure, so I’ll keep in brief.
New Years Eve saw us canyoning, then partying up on the waterfront. The Queenstown fireworks were the only thing that made me miss home, no one does fireworks like Sydney.
New Years Day I went downhill mountain biking through Rude Rock and Skippers Canyon with the boys. It was easily the scariest thing I’ve ever done. When we hired the bikes they gave us full face helmets, elbow, shin and knee guards…we had no idea what we’d gotten ourselves into. These ski fields were built to be steep and fast, two things I hate, then add high wind along the ridgelines. I often had to jump off and walk my bike down steep sections, shaking with adrenaline, while the bike was being pushed around me by the wind. I came off only once, coping a bike seat to the back….that’s what you get for not using the dropper post.
White water rafting I think was the second highlight of my trip, again because its something I hadn’t tried before. We struck gold with our instructor who was both great at navigating rapids, and hilarious. He taught us not to apologise while learning, but instead say “Thankyou for your patience Mark”. This became a thing on the trip anytime we had to stop to tie a shoelace or the likes.
Fiordland was stunning, and so diverse. We spent a few hours kayaking Milford Sound, getting close to seals, surfing waves, rafting up and sailing, and getting drenched under waterfalls. One of the coolest kayak tours I’ve been on.
To finish the trip we sent our last 3 days hiking the stunnng Kepler Track. Read about it in my post Hiking the Kelper Track, NZ.
It turns out that bike stack pinched a nerve in my back, with the pins and needles in my leg while hiking not explained until I saw my physio back in Sydney. (I’m currently three weeks off training and counting)
After a whirlwind trip of adventuring through New Zealand for 3 weeks I finally returned home. I loved every moment of it, and it’s certainly given me the confidence to get out there and pursue adventures in other countries.