Time has really started to speed up, I cannot believe
that I will be back in Australia this time next

I last wrote to you all from Dunedin. So much has
happened, it will be hard to put it in a nutshell, so
I'll just describe the bare highlights.... There has
been little sleep, much activity, much partying and
merriment... Oh so tired am I!

After having so much luck with the weather so far, we
did spend much of last week sheltering from some
pretty violent storms that brought rain, more rain,
rain, and Oh....? Did I mention we had some rain? I
have begun believing that a tent is no longer properly
functioning unless there is a river of swift current
flowing directly beneath, next to, or through it. If
contents of said tent also become drenched then one is
officially camping. Needless to say, this did serve
to dampen our spirits a little, but we have braved
through it, and now head to a North Island where major
highways have now re-opened after some of the worst
floods in 25 years! I sure know how to time my trips!

After I last wrote, we drove into Fjordland on the
south west coast of New Zealand. We took a four hour
boat cruise on Milford Sound, which was so mind
boggling beautiful that flies had laid eggs in my
mouth since I had my jaw dropped to the floor for the
entire voyage.... On our return from the sound, a
group of eight of us were dropped off to start a 3
day back country hike through the Routeburn Track.
Again, we had a stunning time despite the rain on the
second day. My only issue on this trip was dealing
with the rage of my fellow hikers who stupidly forgot
to pack any lunch provisions and therefore vied to
harbor as much guilt on me as possible for thinking
only of myself and packing the night before....(my
salami and cheese was most precious....!)

Heading north from Fjordland we arrived in Queenstown,
which I have decided is the Boulder equivalent in New
Zealand. I loved it. Lots of open air cafes around a
stunning lake with "The Remarkables" (mountains used
many times in the LOR movies) in the background. My
only travel bugs here were the unfortunate occurrences
of having my mobile stolen (please email me your phone
numbers if you are in Australia!!!) and taking an
ill-fated Lord of the Rings jeep safari tour with a
driver who was better suited to a career selling
funeral packages....He received the not-so-often-seen
dark side of my pissed off nature, and I got a full
refund. What a jerk. He even had the audacity to
point out that he hadn't seen any of the movies
because he had "better things to do than spend 3 hours
in a movie theater!" I can think of more appropriate
things to say to six eager (and yes, somewhat
pathetic, I grant you) young LOR fanatics who had just
foregone the opportunity to hand glide to spend $100
seeing film locations in the flesh.

Anyway, moving north again, we took a trip to Fox
Glacier (Jon, I thought of you.) situated among
coastal rain forest. Several of us took a guided
crampon hike on the ice and I got to crawl inside an
ice cave complete with flowing river.....great

We stayed a few nights in Punakaki in the Paparoa
National Park. I went Black water rafting which is
basically an inner tube ride in complete pitch black
other than the mesmerising star-like luminescence of
glow worms in the sky. Excellent!

Today we left Abel Tasman National Park where I went
Sea Kayaking for the day, only to be turned around due
to gale winds....oh well, no rest for the weary....

Heading to Picton tonight, and ferry tomorrow back to
the North Island and then 2 more days to Auckland.

I will stay in touch!