Thursday, November 15, 2007

Flight to Auckland







November 10-12th, 2007

Beau dropped me off at the NO airport for my 1:55 pm flight to LA. I had a brief (1 hr) layover in Houston and arrived in LA at 6:00 pm. I left at 9:00 pm for Auckland and arrived at 7:30 am on MONDAY morning. Lost a day crossing over the international time line. The flight from LA to Auckland was 12.5 hrs and I actually got a little sleep this time. I went to the top of the Sky Tower which is supposed to be the tallest building in the southern hemisphere and took some great pictures. Unfortunately, I left my usb cable for my camera and will not be able to download pictures until I can find a new one. I will try soon. Other than the Sky Tower, wasnt loving Auckland.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

National Park Village

November 13, 2007

I caught an early bus for the six hour bus ride to National Park Village. This will be my base for the one day trek to climb the Tongairiro Crossing which is reputed to be the best one day trek in all New Zealand. There are only a few people at my hostel which makes sleeping easier. The town is a big ski resort and since it is only a few weeks to summer here, things are a little slow until the hikers get here in the summer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Still Waiting

November 14, 2007

I got up early to catch the bus transport to the Crossing but it was SNOWING. No kidding, 2 weeks till summer and it looked like a blizzard for about an hour. The winds also reached about 70 mph throughout the North Island which is where I was. I decided to stay another day and try my luck. Not much to do here and there are only 3 local tv stations. lol

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tongairiro Crossing






















November 15, 2007

The bus arrived at the hostel at 7:15 am and 2 German girls and I climbed aboard. We stopped at another hostel and picked up 18 more trekkers. We arrived at the start of the Crossing about 8 am. It is a 18 kilometer hike throught the mountains which is about 11 miles. The bus driver said he would pick us up at the other end of the Crossing at 4pm. The weather was overcast and quite windy. I was the 1st one out the bus and on the trail. I did not want to get behind some that looked as though they had no business there. Along the trail I passed a group of 30 teenagers on some kind of field trip. Then all of a sudden, straight up the mountain. It was getting colder and the wind was blowing harder. There was snow all over the ground. At one point, myself and 2 other climbers thought we may be summiting the wrong mountain but realized that we just had hit the hardest part of the climb. The wind at the top of Red Crater would almost blow you down and in fact one girl later said it did. Unfortunately the first 3 hours did not result in very good scenery. After crossing Red Crater though, the wind was not as bad and the sun started shining some. The views got better and I could understand why this is one of the most trekked areas in all New Zealand. I finished the Crossing at 1:45 pm and had to wait for over 2 hrs for the bus. At the end of the trek there were about 100 other people waiting for their buses also. Back to the hostel to rest my now aching muscles. lol












Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wellington, Picton, and Queen Charlotte Track (Day 1)


























































































































































November 16-18th

I caught the afternoon bus from National Park to Wellington. Wellington was a great city with a lot of night life and great restaurants. After Wellington, I caught the ferry to Picton on the South Island. It is a beautiful boat trip with great scenery for about 3 hrs. You can save the $65 dollar ferry boat fee if you decide to skydive from Wellington. You leave Wellington but land in Picton and the plane brings your baggage. Nice alternative, though a little more expensive.
Picton is a nice little town which is the center for trips to the Queen Charlotte Track, Abel Tasman Track or wine tours of the Marlborough region. I completed the Queen Charlotte Track in 3 days. It was more difficult than I expected mainly because one day was 35 kilometers. It was supposed to be 4 days but I walked past my accomodations. lol The Track is up and down the mountains every day but the scenery was unbelievable. Definitely a must do.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Queen Charlotte Track (Day 2)




November 19, 2007

Today was supposed to be an easy 2-3 hr walk to my next hut. Somehow I missed Naolines Homestay and by the time I realized it (3 large hills and about 2 miles) I decided to continue to the next place that I had booked. I had started at 9 am and arrived at my next destination (Debritts) at 7 pm and one day early. 35 kilimoters (21 miles) in all with the hardest part of the track this day. The owners called the place I was supposed to stay and she was worried because I was 9 hrs late. Another thing I didn't realize, most trekkers or trampers as they say in NZ let the water taxis take their baggage from hut to hut so that you don't have to carry all that weight. I thought only a few wimps did this but I found out that I was the 1 in a 100 that carried my own bag which now weighs about 25 lbs.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Queen Charlotte Track (Day 3)







November 20, 2007

I left at 9am and was told it was a 6 hr walk to Anikiwa where the water taxi would pick me up at 4:30 pm. It was straight up most of the morning which is just what you want to see after the previous 10 hr day. LOL The view of Queen Charlotte Sound are so beautiful that you almost don't feel the searing pain in your legs and shoulders. lol I actually made it at 1:50pm and had to wait around for a few hrs. So I have an extra day and decided to go on a half day wine tour through the Marlborough Wine Vineyards. It was $59NZ and I think I can drink that much wine since we will visit 5 wineries and all tastings are included.

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