Here we are again, with just a few days left to go till we return to good old blighty.
Well we have deffinately been making the most of things, as you will see, as you read
We left Queenstown on the 20th February and headed towards Christchurch. However, two
hours prior to Christchurch we hopped off the bus at a small town called Geraldine.
We sat patiently and waited for our mini bus to pick us up and take us to Rangitata White Water Rafting Lodge. Our driver was a friendly chap and filled us in on all the sights along the way, it helped as he was an equestrian. Hey we must attract them.
The lodge was divine and we spent a quiet night cooking our dinner and reading our books. Next morning, when the bus load of other people arrived from Christchurch
(including Peter and Rich, 2 lads from our Kiwi bus) we went and donned our snazzy wetsuits. Looking particularly sexy .. We hopped back into a bus and headed for the river.
The boys and us chose to go with the Guide Hughey and we jumped into his yellow raft. Perhaps this was a mistake, as he had a strange sense of humour. ! But Hey Ho. Now as we started to drift down the river, he encouraged us to practise our forward and backward rowing methods. Then our turns to the right and left and then the safety position of diving into the middle of the raft and praying for dear life. At this point Hannah started to get nervous. ! ( She wondered why the hell she was doing this, because she really doesn't like water that much).
Reading between the lines of what Hughey was saying, this was about to be the most dangerous activity that we had participated in so far. ( Oh Joy). !
Our first rapid was grade two and we were quite concerned to find that we all seem to be doing the wrong thing and Hughey wasn't looking too impressed. How all eight of us managed to stay in the raft throughout our trip down the river was a complete MIRACLE. !
The Grade Five ( worst rapid you can get, no one does a grade 6 as they are lethal).. Prior to each rapid we all hopped out of the raft and went and checked it out. Hannah seriously considered walking it. It looked mean as you will see from the photos. You know all Shelley Bell could do was laugh, whats wrong with the girl. ! ( I think she was too busy looking for cowboys in the helicopter that kept flying above us.).
Anyway, we survived the rapids and we even got to swim in the fast flowing river too, which was an experience. Our kind guide even let us jump off the rock together. Aaaah. Shelley Bell then impressed Hannah by jumping off a cliff into the water. She tried to convince Hannah to join her, but Hannah preffered to sit and watch everyone else get wet and cold.
We left the lodge after a Barbie and headed to Christchurch, where we had an early night. All this fresh air and adrenaline rush is totally exhausting.
Up early the following day, we headed to Kaikoura ... The bus had on it our mates, Hayley, Phil and Brad. So that was fun and that evening we took some tasty bottles of non alcoholic wine ( long story) to the lookout and watched the sunset over the mountains.
Following morning we were up at the crack of dawn, yes literally ... We were about to encounter one of the most amazing experiences ever. Swimming with The Dusky Dolhins! Once again we put on our sexy wetsuits, flippers, snorkelling outfits and headed to the Great Ocean. ( Rikk you would be so impressed with our snorkelling now and Hannah doesn't tend to freak out as much in deep water ! which is handy.. Brownie points ?) The boat ride took twenty five minutes and the wildlife was amazing. ( saw Seals and Albatross's).
We found the dolphins and Oh my god, there were loads of them ! How does about 600 of them sound ? They were everywhere jumping out of the water and playing. We felt quite choked with emotion. So snorkells and flippers on, we jumped off the back of the boat and into the not so warm water. The experience of swimming with Dolphins all around you was thoroughly amazing. If you got one's attention, by squeaking at it .. You could turn in a circle and they would play with you. They were so gentle and careful not to get too close that you could touch them but close enough for you to see every single marking on their bodies. We were thrilled and we got some great photos on the way back to seal bay.
The next day, it was swimming with the seals .. more wetsuits again, getting quite used to them now. We drove down to the seal colony with our guide and there basking on the rocks were the seals. Trouble was, they needed to be in the water. ! So snorkels and flippers on once more and we clambered into the water ( It hadn't warmed up since yesterday). We headed out into deeper water and low and behold there was our first seal. He was great fun, showing off that he could do a handstand beautifully and we clearly could not. ( typical man) !
We were lucky because we managed to find more seals as the time went on and they were so much fun in the water, they came so close, you could see all their markings and their huge beautiful eyes.
So there you have it, our last days in New Zealand ... We have made the most of it .. haven't we ?
So tomorrow we head to Fiji to finish of the last of our trip ... You will be able to find us on a remote island, sipping cocktails, topping up our tans and taking the occasional dip in the ocean with our snorkells and flippers on. Yeah we plan on purchasing a set in Fiji. !
Take care folks
hope you like the pictures, we were really pleased with these.
Luv Essex and Cowboy
PS Shelley Bell says sorry to family, no cowboys to marry in New Zealand. ( No cheap hols)
Essex says no vets as yet, but hey they could be on holiday in Fiji ... ( We hope.. Always the optimistic ones. !)