emails from New Zealand: #4 January 2008

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Hey All!
Just a quick email to let you know I’m doing fine. I’m back here in Queenstown on our free day on the trip. Most of my traveling companions filled the day with exploits such as river rafting, bungee jumping, hang gliding, etc. Since my era of living dangerously has long passed, I opted for a long walk up a “hill”.

I’ve learned that Kiwi’s are very good at understating most everything. An easy walk is usually at least 10 miles and a challenging one is a death march. The word “undulating” has come to terrify me.

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Anyway, the “hill” I climbed today was a 2000′ elevation gain! I’m suffering from a pretty bad chest cold at the moment so that didn’t make it any easier. The view was spectacular from the top though. You could see the entire town of Queenstown, both arms of Lake Wakitipu and the entire Remarkables mountain range. We were even above the hang gliders.

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A view from the top of Queenstown Hill: worth the effort!

I was wiped afterward though and took a 2 hour nap. I think the chest cold caught up with me.

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A stop at the famous ‘Bra Fence’. I believe the conversation went something like this (without words): Did you? Yes I did!

Luckily I don’t have to worry about waking up my roommate at night with my coughing as she is deaf. She’s an absolute sweetheart! She’s a retired teacher for the deaf and has us all signing now. She’s on a two month trek and has been to Australia, Tasmania, is now in New Zealand and will go to Fiji on the way home. She is an amazing person!

 

 

Yesterday we were kayak partners. We paddled the AMAZING Milford Sound, known as the 8th wonder of the world. It was incredibly beautiful with mountains rising 1 mile out the sea forming the walls. We saw waterfalls, seals and even a penguin! If you have a chance google it and check it out. It’s beyond description.

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Milford Sound. The best kayaking experience EVER!

The day before we did a short hike and then a bike ride. The ride was a killer! It started out uphill and climbed and climbed. I rode 1/4, walked 1/4 and then got on the bus. About half of the people made it up and then we all got on the bus for a ride thought the tunnel. Afterward it was downhill for 8 miles or so in some of the most amazing scenery, huge mountains all around. It was hard because I wanted to look, but the road was steep and windy and I was worried about wiping out! I made it just fine though.

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A view from the road to Milford Sound. Hard to focus on biking when you are surrounded by such beauty.

We move on tomorrow to the west coast and will continue the loop of the South Island. I’ve had a wonderful time so far and look forward to every new experience. Too soon it will be time to leave.

*** In January of 2008, I ventured by myself halfway around the world to New Zealand. This was before blogs and smartphones. When I could, I would go to an internet café, purchase an internet use time card and type frantically hoping to finish my email before time ran out. Other than fixing some obvious spelling mistakes, the following is as written in 2008. As tempted as I am to edit and embellish, I want to maintain the moment as it was then. I have added pictures, some of mine, some of my travel mates. I apologize that I can’t give credit since I’ve long since forgotten which was whose, but I am thankful I have them to relive this wonderful adventure. ***

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