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March 21, 2005
Jody writes:

See our New Zealand photos.

If I were a god and wanted to purpose-build a seven-hour trek, with volcanoes, lakes, tarns (glacial lakes), forests and mountains at my disposal, I couldn't have done a better job than the Tongariro Crossing. We walked it the other day - it was stunning and knackering. Amy and I climbed from 1,150m above sea level to 1,886m, then descended to 700m. We passed Mt. Ngauruhoe, which was used as Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings, but the path to it's 2,287m summit was too intimidating to climb. Instead we just stared at it for a while. And posed for photos in front of it.

We were lucky that the conditions were good - if you're unfortunate enough to have rain, mist, wind and snow to deal with, you'll probably have a terrible time, as Emily said she did in this message.

I may have enjoyed the walk a little too much. If when I return to the UK I grow a beard, clad myself in Gore-tex and start looking to join a weekend rambling club, someone please stop me.

A few days after Tongariro, we crossed to New Zealand's South island and ended up in Kaikoura. While Amy swam with dolphins, I decided to join a team of whale watchers in Kaikoura. Chasing along the ocean to find the whales before rival tour companies scared them off was fun, but the whales we found were young and therefore pretty small and unimpressive.

Perhaps I shouldn't have relied on Moby Dick to teach me everything I know about whales, but I expected the beasts to rise up from the water, wink at me with one giant eye while spirting a ten-storey high fountain of water from it's blowhole. It would then dive, waggling it's tail for a good minute, while I rummaged around for my camera before it disappeared. What I actually saw was three adolescent whales poking a lilo-sized hump out of the water before they sank without a trace.

The 50-strong gang of dolphins that followed us around and the plethora of seals and sea birds spotted along the way made up for it though. And the old ladies being sea-sick was also quite amusing.

In Christchurch we celebrated St Patrick's Day with far too much Guinness and went shopping for some hideous traveller's clothes. Amy and I are now the proud owners of two micro-fleeces. If you've never come across one before, I can tell you that they're very warm, weigh next to nothing and are so uncool that they make dungarees seem like a good idea. We had to do it - we've run out of bag space for warm clothes.

Yesterday we caught the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, which was another four-and-a-half hours of stunning scenery. We stood out on an outside viewing platform taking in the views, until the train charged through a tunnel and we were blasted with soot. The train ran on coal until it was converted to diesel in the 60s and we were coated in the aftermath of the spent fuel, which made us look like a pair of grubby chimney sweeps.

Today we're seeing the Fox glacier the posh way - we're catching a helicopter to the top, then milling round on the ice and browsing down at the peasants who only shelled out for a hike around the bottom.

posted at 11:36 AM | link

4 Comments:

  • you are retracing the berg's very steps of this time last year... kaikoura - amazing
    tranzalpine - amazing
    fox glacier - painful, but amazing
    WANAKA - pls go (it is amazing)
    Queenstown - yes, the luges are fun for sure
    need more pics please.
    love the one of you and nanna.
    miss you madly xxxx

    By Blogger The Berg, at 11:49 AM  

  • great to see the NZ pictures brought back some good memories , if you get a chance go to a town in the south island called Lyttleton , carl said he could spend the rest of his life there looking out at the habour . Jill

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:45 PM  

  • Hi Jill,

    We drove through Lyttleton, stopping for a look at the amazing views. I don't know if I'll ever see a country more beautiful than New Zealand. I bought a book to see me through the many bus journeys here, but I haven't touched it yet because I've been too busy looking out of the window.

    Have fun in the US, by the way!

    Jody

    By Blogger Jody, at 8:14 AM  

  • Hey Amy aka Jibbi.
    You're still famous for the song on Habbohut you did. "Habbo is all Beautiful." Karioke style Jibbi.

    Your photos are fantastic. You should both write a travel book and make a fortune.

    Good for you for going on a world tour, even though you're not famous (yet).

    Take good care,
    Becs

    By Anonymous Becs, at 4:09 AM  

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For older entries, see the archives at the top right-hand side of this page.
Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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