As an arond the world trip, obviously there is one circumference, but this current one is the clockwise drive around the South Island of New Zealand. I started in Auckland, came south to Christchurch in the campervan, and then headed north again.
MONDAY 2/11 Over the mountains and down the coast….
Today I drove over the mountains west from Hanmer Springs, and through Greymouth, along the Tasman Sea. It was a beautiful drive, and coming into the town of Hokitika, was kind of getting lonely. It had been a long day of driving, and although the sites were beautiful, I wanted to connect with some folks. God answered in the form of two wonderful couples at Fat Pipi’s Pizza, right out on the beach. We joined each other for our meal, prayer, and a sweet time of fellowship. As we left, I got some great hugs, too! Then headed south to Franz Joseph for the night.
TUESDAY 2/12 Ice ages!
I had a chance to see Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers, as well as Skype Jess and the family (including little A, who said ‘Hi Di’ when he saw me!!). Sweet times!! So good to connect with some of my favorite people… Then continued south on the Haast Highway down to Wanaka through Lake Wanaka and Hawea. Some of the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen! The Puple Cow hostel is right on the lake, and I got a sweet sleep.
WEDNESDAY 2/13 Hebrew riders again, and Te Anua
So, on my way out of Wanaka, found a couple more ladies needing rides, again from Israel. Brought them to their place and a couple others rode with me to Queenstown before heading down to Te Anua. Good conversation and company.
When I arrrived in Te Anua, went for a hike with two of the staff, from China and Germany :). Enjoyed some food together, and it was great to be moving out of the car (they were thrilled, because they would have a long walk to the start of the hike without me…). Signed up for kayaking in the morning, and prepared for an early day.
THURSDAY 2/14 Misty morning monsters
The folkore of the Fjordland black flies is that they are there to keep people from settling, and to remember that we aren’t in heaven yet (although it is beautiful). I believe this, because although I only had a few bites, they are terrible!
Our Valentines day kayaking in Milford Sound was misty, but romantic. We saw the falls, sailed on the kayaks, and absorbed the beauty of this massive area from below. There were speed boats and cruises coming into the area, and I was grateful I chose to be human powered. We saw a seal sunning itself, and generally enjoyed the day!!
The group just had five kayakers and a guide, by Sea Kayak Fjordland. I would do this again in a heartbeat!! In fact, next time I’ll go out to the Tasman sea and come back into the sound. In the other group of 5 five was another massage therapist, from Colorado! She lives about 2miles from my home–talk about SMALL world. Unfortunately, she was staying at the lodge, so we didn’t have time for a trade, but we’ll be in touch back home.
FRIDAY 2/15 Southern coast and Queenstown
Today I drove to the south end of NZ, checking out and enjoying various beaches, little hikes, cafes (skyping at one), and continued beautiful views! Ended the day in Queenstown where I checked out teh Ice Bar and wound up the day enjoying a Fergberger as the sun set on the lake. When I went to my ‘dorm’ room, this time I had just one roommate, and she’s biking across the country. Enjoyed visiting with her a little bit before we both grabbed some sleep. In the morning, I was slated to do a parasail, but I wasn’t feeling. So, as I went to bed I asked that God direct the weather to show me what was best. I had paid for the event, and if the weather was bad I could get a refund. By the way, by the time I returned the car, I had put about 1400 Km on it in under 2 weeks.
SATURDAY 2/16 direct answers, and the hopscotch begins.
In the morning, the clouds were too low, so I instead went on a hike for this Shabbat :). Turns out this was similar to how I considered doing a heli trip in Te Anua, but the weather prohibited it. My mid-day Jetstar flight to Wellington is a great way to see the mountains from the air without any extra cost!! I arrive in Wellington and my new friend Bianca picks me up, we enjoy walking around town, being part of an art festival and waterfront life before we share dinner and I skip on up to Auckland for the night (arriving late). I spent the night in a backpacker near the airport so I will enjoy my 23 hour layover tomorrow in Sydney.
SUNDAY 2/17 Hopscotch #3 (Wellington, Auckland, Sydney..Bankok.. Delhi)
Early morning Air New Zealand flight–I get bumped to Economy Plus (yes, thank you). I was next to another young woman who was just as thrilled about the upgrade, and we talked about life, work plans, etcetera!! Yes, they do have Lord of the Rings characters do their emergency announcements!
Land at the airport, store my bag, and head out for the city. –SEE PREVIOUS 2/17 blog for Sydney-
I have slept in hostels, backpackers, homestays; on queen beds, dorm bunks, floors, campvan bed, singles, and–tonight took the cake, airport floors. I thought, international airport–plenty of couches, padded benches, places to stay. Found myself a cozy corner in McDonalds on a padded bench and proceeded to try and sleep (with my luggage locked to the table and other bag beneath my head, others around me). Well, just after midnight, we were all awoken and told to assemble in a little, brightly lit, hard chaired area :(. BOO. Thankfully I have my camping mat, so I do get some sleep, but this is just nuts. The cleaning zambonies are going constantly, and the whole experience is just a little weird (please bear in mind that I have slept at my share of airports before, I’ve never been moved. Anyhow–led to some bonding and conversations with folks. In the early morning, I shower at the airport (yay for that facility!!) and check in for Delhi.
MONDAY 2/18 Sydney-Bangkok-Delhi
Another long day of travel.. Nothing too noteable. I arrive late on the 19th to Delhi, going back 4.5 hours of time zones.
Impressions of India, coming up next!