Welcome to Chris Lewis
LAX, why do you keep making me hate you? 1 hour after scheduled departure time and we’re sitting at the gate having the hydrolics on the plane looked at. And there is a screaming alien baby in the row immediately in front of us.
Dunedin to Queenstown
Once we arrived in Dunedin, we found our hotel – a place called Hogwartz Bacpackers. We got there earlier than planned so took a tour of the Cadburry chocolate factory and Speight’s – one of the bigger beer brewers in NZ. We added on dinner at the Speight’s Ale House after which was quite tasty.The next day was quite busy as we had a full day tour booked. After our 8am pickup, we headed along the coast of the peninsula near Dunedin. There we saw Larnach Castle, the only restored castle in the country. Afterwards we headed to the end of the peninsula to the Royal Albatross Center. The tour was a little underwhelming as we didn’t see any birds! (these are endangered birds but 30 pairs breed at this place) Next up was Penguin Place. This is a tour of a private farm where 2 different types of penguins nest. The neat part was they have built covered tunnels with lookouts so you can see the penguins in their nests from as close as 5 meters. We saw several yellow eyed penguins and a few bluue penguins in their nests. After this we did a Monarch Wildlife Cruise. This went by the albatross nesting grounds where we got to see at least 11 birds flying around. We also went by a seal colony and saw a ton of them as well,along with lots of other birds.

The next day we took it easy in the morning beofre going on the scenic Taieri gorge railway with a following bus ride through the central Otago area to get to Queenstown. This was quite a nice area and we want to go back sometime to explore it- including the central Otago rail trail.

The next morning was a 6:30am bus pickup to heaad for Milford Sound. We got to stop several times for photos in the national park along the way. It snowed a bit along the way and was on some winding roads. Once we actually got to Milford it rained the whole time we were there. This was good because we got to see a ton of waterfalls, but bad because we couldnt see much of the surrounding mountains. It was still worth the trip though. On the way back we got dropped off in Te Anau.

The next day we wandered the city until noon when we got picked up for our overnight cruise to Doubtful Sound. This as the best part of the
trip. We took a 30 minute bu followed by an hour boat ride across a lake followed by a 45 minute bus to finally reach the sound. The weather was perfect and the views were amazing. We cruised around the sound for 3 or so hours before dropping anchor. I went kayaking while Cressie did a small boat ride. After about 4 people decided to go for a swim in the water that was only 7C РI was one of those. It was a short swim. This was followed by a 3 course buffet dinner that was the best meal of the trip. After dinner people just hung out and looked at the stars before bed. The next morning started at 7am with the engines turning back on and we spent 3 or so hours riding back to the port. We then got transfered back to Te Anau. We had a while before the bus so watched a short movie on the Fjiiordlands. We then caught the bus back to Queenstown.

The next day we did a jet boat ride on Dart River through Mt Aspiring National Park. The boat ride was fun and it was through a pretty area of the country. This also included a bus ride through some areas and a guided nature walk. This combination took most of the day.

The next day was my birthday so Cressie paid for me to bungi. I jumped from the birthplace of bungi which is from a bridge where you actually get wet in the river below. This was so much fun I did it a second time but I jumped of backwards the second time. Cressie did not jump. That evening we took the gondala to the top of Queentown where we rode the luge twice then ate at the buffet overlooking the city.

This morning we took it easy and just wandered through the gardens and by the lake. We then caught a bus to the airport and started heading home. We are in the Auckland airport now waiting for our connection to LAX. We are both sad to leave but we know we will be back soon.

Doubtful Sound
Just made it back from overnight cruise to Doubtful Sound. It was
amazing – had to be highlight of the trip. Now off to Queenstown for
the last few days before flying home.
Seals, Llamas and Sounds
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Chris Lewis
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 2010 14:29:33 -0700
Subject: Seals, Llamas and Sounds
To: post@posterous.com

Upon arrival in Wellington, we immediately hopped on the ferry to head
to the South Island. The sun was starting to set as we left so we had
some great views of the coast of the North Island, however, that meant
it was dark by the time the South Island came into view. Once we hit
shore, we found our hostel and crashed.

The next morning we were booked on a 8am ferry to take us to Ship Cove
where we planned to do a day walk along the Queen Charlotte Trek. As
luck would have it, it was rainy and overcast that morning, but we
decided to still give it a go. It was a 1.5 hour boat ride to get to
the start. The dock we landed at had a history of Captain Cook, since
he apparently landed there several times. After reading the info and
taking a few pictures, we were off.

The first 45 minutes of the hike was uphill to get to a scenic
overlook, which Cressie was not too happy about. We finally made it,
and the rain had stopped and the clouds were liftimg so we had some
great views. After resting a minute we pressed on, as this was a point
to point walk and we had to be picked up at the far point at 3pm. It
was an interesting walk through lots of unique trees with some great
views of the inlets as we walked. We stopped at several points along
the track, including one where we got engaged. Soon after we realized
we were starting to run out of time so we picked up the pace. We made
it to he lodge with 10 minutes to spare. We got back to land as it was
getting dark, grabbed some dinner at the pub by the hostel, and called
it a day.

The next morning we got the early bus to head down the coast to
Kaikoura. Immediately upon arrival we wre picked up and headed out to
do a llama trek. This consisted of walking while dragging llamas on a
leash through a not too scenic area (compared to the coast that was 5
miles away), and we stopped to have a picnic lunch. Cressie really
enjoyed it though, and since I was expecting to not really enjoy it as
much as some of the other things on the trip, this activity went as
planned. This took up the rest of the day.

The next morning we were booked to go and swim with seals but it was
postponed due to weather. We instead decided to walk up the road to
where a seal colony was. Once we got there we saw 6 just laying on the
rocks. By this point the clouds had lifted and we saw snow capped
mountains surrounding us. We sat and watched the seals for a bit and
took some pictures. We were so close we could have touched them. We
then headed along a cliffside path to look for other seals. Eventually
we found a narrow trail that cut down the cliff to the beach where
there were literally hundreds of seals on the rocks. We made our way
down the trail and looked at these seals for a bit. There was none
else here which probably had something to do with it being 3k from the
car park where the other seals were as well as the steep cliff trail
you had to go down. We then walked back to town and caught the bus to
Christchurch. Next time we are in Kaikoura we are going to check out a
place where baby seals swim upstream to a waterfall and play there. It
is 20km out of the town though so we couldn’t get there without having
a car.

We only stayed in Christchurch long enough to grab a meal and sleep.
We got on the 7:45am bus headed for Dunedin, which we are on now. We
spend a dew days there and then head for Queenstown and the sounds.

I’ll be posting some more pictures whenver we find some wireless
internet that doesn’t charge by the MB.

Proposal Details
In case anyone wants more details than “I asked, she said yes” (But really, do you need to get any more detailed than that? Just sayin…), Cressie has posted a more in-depth account you can read here: http://chrisandcress.com/post/1319042260/my-precious-the-details