Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Super Duper Post #100 - The Vacation!

So I have been a little slow since I got home. But seeing how I am one post from 100 and have lots of pictures to share why not go for it. So without further adieu, my vacation/adventure:

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island. It is one of my favorites from the trip. Great nightlife, cheap drinks, cool things to see. Could have spent a few weeks here if time would have allowed.

The center of Christchurch is based on this Cathedral.

A WWI monument in the Cathedral Square.

Myself, Neal and Jeff after breakfast. We all stayed at the YMCA.

Here is Mark Noske and Neal eating at the Tap Room. You cook your food on a very hot brick. Sounds cool but was too much like work for me.

Jeanette being Jeanette in a phone booth.

Neal, Jeff and Jeanette on a little trail outside of Lyttleton.

That's me overlooking Lyttleton Harbor.

A little beach in Lyttleton.

Shots of the harbor.

Neal posing with the Mr. Whippy truck. Notice that Neal is holding the "Longest Drink in Town." A special shout out to Red Socks and Sun Dresses. There is a long story about this rest stop but I have too much to post now to spend five paragraphs explaining it.

Jeanette in the Botanical Gardens. Christchurch is known as "The Garden City."

How do you top the Botanical Gardens? A trip to the "Antarctic Adventure Center." This is in the cold room of -20C. Jeanette trying to get her tongue stuck.

Akaroa is a small town south-east of CHC. A surprisingly long drive through hilly terrain and one lane roads. Don't get me started on the one lane bridges. The town is incredibly laid back. This was the only French settlement in New Zealand but not much remains of the French influence except the road names.

Very green and a harbor surrounded by mountains.

A couple of shots of the harbor. The water is very clear, if not a little chilly.

Jeanette posing in front of the harbor.

Wanaka, New Zealand
We were trying to make it to Queenstown but got a late start out of Akaroa and I underestimated the time it takes to travel in New Zealand. So we ended up getting to Wanaka late at night and basically turning around and heading towards Fox Glacier.

A shot out of car window on the way to Wanaka. A small rain storm blowing in off the ocean.

We past three very large lakes and reservoirs. The water in this one was very blue.

There was a small rain the night before but there was run off rolling down the mountains. We saw many little waterfalls like this one.

So we spent the night in Wanaka and headed towards Fox Glacier. Here is the Kings Point scenic overview. This is the west side of the island (CHC and Akaroa were on the east coast).

Another shot out the window on the coastal drive.

So we made it to Fox Glacier Village. Not much to talk about in the town but we signed up for Ice Climbing the glacier. So after a good night sleep I get up and want to take a shower. We stayed a a backpackers that you have to pay for hot water in the shower!!!! That did not start my day off right. But the climb was worth it.

First look at the glacier.

Another look as we start to hike.

Here is the outlet of the glacier. the rains from the night before had blown out a lot of large chunks of ice.

Here is a picture of Adam from Michigan. He was the other climber in our group. He was a lot more experienced climbing than Jeanette or I. Jeanette climbs indoors, but I have never done any climbing. Notice the guides in the background fixing the path for tour groups.

Hiking the glacier. That's Malcolm our guide in the red. Behind me in Gill (Jill) the Quality Assurance person for the guides.

I'm learning to belay for Adam. Believe me, it is a lot easier to belay for Jeanette than Adam.

Now that I did not kill Adam or Jeanette in their first climbs time to pose for a hero shot in case I fall to my death.

A shot of me preparing to climb for the first time.

I survived the first one, so I am pointing out something more difficult.

So we hike to the another climb point.

A little cavass. The are very blue from the oxygen trapped in them.

Jeanette belaying me on my second climb.

Yep, that's my ice axe.

Malcolm and Jeanette hiking to another climb spot.

You probably have to expand this picture to see it but there is a school group on a hike in the distance here. Gives you an idea of how big this glacier is. BTW... Fox Glacier is the largest in New Zealand beating out Frans Josef.

Jeanette's third climb of the day.

She's way up there.

This is me about 3/4 the way up.

These rocks are debris that has been scrapped up by the glacier over time and have worked their way to the surface.

As we head to our final descent/ascent point this shot gives you an idea of how high we are. Some of these openings go all the way to the bottom.

Me in action!

Jeanette with her trusty ice axe.

An idea of what we are doing for our last climb. Descending and then climbing out.

Adam and I waiting for Malcolm to gear up.

Jeanette bravely went first. Here she demonstrates how not to descend. Notice her feet are above her ice axes. How she got free from here I will never know. My groin would have cracked like a wishbone.

She's straighten out and working down well here.

Here is Jeanette continuing to work her way down. She climbed out with no issues.

A picture of me descending. Notice I am keeping my boots below my ice axes.

That's me about 8m down.

Me climbing back out.

Gill was trying to get a picture of my axe swings but instead caught me getting pelted with ice chips.

Going over the edge was the hardest part. Here we actually see one of my axe swings.

Here I pull myself over and out. A little harder than it looks.

Jeanette and I on Fox Glacier. I look beat and Jeanette keeps on smiling. The climbing was a lot of fun but on the hike back it started to rain. Ran into two Polies at the bottom of the glacier (Rechelle Parent and Noah Beyeler). Went out to dinner with them and Adam. Had a good time. This time I stayed a place that did not charge for hot water!

Nelson, New Zealand
Got to Nelson and it was rainy. All the places we wanted to stay were booked so we scrambled for a place to stay. Wish we had more time here because it seems like a cool city. But have a booking on the Picton-Wellington ferry the next day.

A picture of me and Jeanette on the InterIslander ferry. This is how we crossed from the South Island to the North Island. Notice I have shaved.

Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland, New Zealand
Well I did not take many pictures of the three cities on the North Island. Wellington seemed really nice. Hamilton was a college town and Auckland was similar to what I am used to in Denver but with a harbor.

Sydney, Australia
Sydney was great. A lot warmer than New Zealand. I did have a car here so my life became a lot simpler. After striking out on the first couple of places we tried to stay at we ended up at the Base Backpackers on Kent (Wanderers on Kent). For those who not familar with Base, they are pretty basic but popular with young backpacker crowd. A common promotion is a free beer when you check in.

So our first day we meet a local named Stefan, who pointed us in the right direction. His suggestions where great and we had a blast.

Here we are sailing out to Manly on the Manly Ferry.

There was some sort of sailboat race going on.

We are about halfway between Manly and the Circular Quay. You can see the Opera House in this shot.

Here is a better shot of the Opera House.

A shot of me in the Circular Quay waiting for the ferry.

It just wouldn't be my blog without at least one shot of Jeanette in a bikini.

That's me walking on Manly Beach.

Here is the Opera House on the return from Manly Beach to Circular Quay.

Jeanette outside the ticket door. We bought some tickets and saw the ballet the next day. We don't have any good pictures because they don't allow photos in the Opera House.

The day after the opera we went around town some more. This is the Maritime Muesum.

Jeanette in front of one of the many Starbucks that dot Sydney. Even the Aussies pay $7 bucks a coffee. What's up with that?

Then we went home to Denver. Not much else to say. Itb took 5 hours to put this post together so I hope everyone enjoys it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

email me sometime.. bobko

nice pics!

1:02 PM  
Blogger Neal said...

Awww, Mr. Whippy. That was the highlight of my New Zealand trip. That day was awesome. I didn't do all of the cool stuff you did though.

5:42 AM  

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