Milford Track

14Apr09

Hi

The day after yesterday’s predecessor was tomorrow to the day in which I finished the Milford Track. (work that one out!)

For anyone of you readers who does not know what the Milford Track is, I will tell you. It is a four day walk which goes a total of thirty-three and a half miles. This doesn’t actually sound that far, we had a 16 mile school walk once, and that was finished in about four hours, so you could estimate this to take just eight hours. But the terrain is stony and wet, not like the cycle path we went down on the school walk. It’s also dangerous. Some places have warning signs saying things like ‘Avalanche Zone – No Stopping For Next 400m”, and this area is infamous for it’s flooding – there can behundreds of millimetres of rain in just a few hours. In fact, last Monday walkers had to be helicoptered out due to waist-high water on the paths. On the third day, you have to go over the Mackinnon pass, which means going half a kilometre directly upwards, and another Kilometer down. Here’s a pic:

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This is the Mackinnon Pass climb, and also gives you an idea of  both the track conditions and the weather we did it in (this is not our photo, however). And this is for all those of you think I’m a lazy slob: On this steep climb, I started off at the back and overtook 27 people (not including family) on the way up. I was so fast some people thought I had actually run! My Dad is at work at the mo, but we will get his pictures soon and post them. I am also waiting for someone else who was on the walk to email me some pictures of me at the top, so I can prove I was actually there. Unfortunately, my family cannot prove they got the top, as my Dad’s phone had stopped working by then. But, between you and me, I don’t think they deserve a picture at the top considering how slowly they walked: I was at the pass hut (picture below) more than an hour before them, but had to wait.

passhut

More stuff coming, like pics and stuff. Stuff.

NYAQ (Not Yet Asked Questions):

Did we make it? Yes
Did we enjoy it? Yes
Was it awesome? Yes
Were you tired at the end? Yes
Do your feet hurt? Yes
Why did we do it? Because it’s the best walk in the world
Are you doing it again? Maybe…
Tomorrow? No
Did you see a Kea? No
Did you at least hear a Kea? Yes
Did you lose stuff? Probably, but we haven’t found out yet…
Did it rain? Yes
A lot? Not really, just on the third day
Did you go the cheap way or the soft way? The cheap way, of course
Did you see anything uniquely NZ? Loads, especially the Weka
Were you awesome? Of course I was!

If you have any more questions, do not hesitate to pester me with them. But check I haven’t answered them already!

Also, a Kea and a Weka are birds. Here they are (Kea first):

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The Weka were really tame. I will show you a photo next time Dad took using no zoom at all, a real close-up. Meanwhile, Kea are extremely destructive birds, and spend most of their time doing something like this (also notice the bright orange underwings):

keaeatingrentalcar

This is basically what it did to our rental car when we came here last time.

On a pretty much entirely non-related subject, I have started a new rubishy blog! It is all thanks to Grandad who came up with the name “Wordsworth’s New Blog”, and here\’s the link!

Also, here’s an illegally uploaded (by me) song for all of those who don’t know who the Finn Brothers are:

http://download554.mediafire.com/ptui932tmmwg/jyvn3mgn30g/05+Don’t+Dream+It’s+Over.wma

We are going to see yellow-eyed penguins thisafternoon, so I have to log off now.

Keep commenting!


We came to Queenstown, and I was surprised to find how small it was. I remembered it bigger…

We flew by aeroplane, my dad was very pleased as we had a seat at the front of a section of seats, so had a lot of legroom.

 Anyway, it’s great in Queenstown, known as the world’s adrenaline capital. You can do a whole range of stuff. Pick from:

4wd Adventure
Aerobatic Flight
Bungy
Canoeing/Kayaking
Canyon Swings (very scary)
Casino
Clay Pigeon Shooting
Climbing
Cruises
Cycling
Fishing
Flight Chartering
Flying Fox (also very scary)
Gliding
Golf
Gym
Hang Gliding
Helicopter
Heliskiing
Horse Riding
Hot Air Ballooning
Hunting
Ice Skating
Jet Boating
Luging
Minigolfing
Monster Trucking
Motorcycling
Mountain Biking
Parasailing
Parapenting
Quad Biking
Rafting
River Surfing
Sailing
Skating
Sky Diving
Snow Boarding
Snow Skiing
Snowmobiling
Steam Training
Surfing
Swimming
Tennis
Walking

(I might have missed a few.)

This gives you a real idea of what Queenstown is all about. Out of those 45 we have done a measly two (Walking and Jet Boating). In fact, in my whole life I have only done sixteen of them. It really is a place to come if you find James Bond a bit boring. Because New Zealand is so new, I think it has tried to make up for that by inventing a huge number of its own extreme and hybrid sports. Most of these involve big drops.

Anyway, Jet Boating was great, and walking was dismal. We walked for a long time, in a cloud. I wrote a short poem:

I wandered lonely in a cloud
That floats quite slowly, drenching me
When all at once, I saw some folks
It was a German family
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Pronouncing doubleyous as vees

Please comment to say whether you like it!

I did it wearing my superspecialawesome waterproof coat and some waterproof trousers, and my cool new boots which are also really waterproof. We have, in fact, been spending quite a bit in Kathmandu, where we get a discount, being Youth Hostel members. I am using the internet in the Youth Hostel at the moment, actually.

Any more to say? Well, Jacob finally has iPod speakers, but that’s about it…

The countdown is on until the Milford Track…


Sorry about the misleading title, we didn’t actually see the Finn brothers. We saw a Finn brother. We saw Neil Finn and his son Liam play live at the Auckland Museum (who said museums were boring?). For those of you who do not know who this singer songwriter is, here is his Wikipedia page. It was a great title though. Here’s what was going on in my head when I wrote it:

picture2

I know we didn’t actually see Tim, and I’m glad, look at how scary he looks in this picture. Who likes Lakitu the guitarist?

I really like doing image editing like this. It’s a rather crude example, but it suits the purpose. If anyone has any other image editing they want me to do, I will do it!

But back to the Finn father and son. We saw them in a really small venue, just a few hundred people. I sat right at the front, and Jacob got in the way of everybody. They played some really great songs. In fact, I think I have a picture here somewhere:

picture3

It’s a bit squished, but you get the idea of how close we were. The dude at the piano ins Neil Finn. The guitarist is Liam.

Anyway, I now have a social engagement, so au revoir for now!


Hey, folks and folkesses.

It’s time to update and tell you where we are now. In fact, there is a page on this blog on which you can see all the places I will and have been going. That page is here, or you can just look up the page and click ‘trip details’, but a link is better. I am only putting this in because nobody seems to be visiting (or at least, commenting).

We are in the Coromandel Peninsula, the first time while on this holiday we have been south of Auckland. Let’s see a picture:

pau

It was a two and a half hour drive, which is longer than you would have thought.

Anyway, how is it here? The weather isn’t so great, it has been cloudy these past days. And the house we are staying in looks a bit odd.

There are lots of beaches, and there is one hot water beach, which means that up to one hour each side of low tide, you can dig a big hole in the sand and sit in a hotpool, free of charge! We do have some pictures, but for the sake of human decency we have left them out. I do, however, have a picture I took of the waves crashing down on a rock just offshore. In fact, I cannot decide between three, so I’ll choose a random one:

photo-0187

Good, isn’t it?

You see the background cloudiness? It’s like that all the time, (a bit lighter sometimes), so the weather isn’t anything special.

We have also found that the people’s house we’re staying in have a really good taste in DVDs and we have been watching Blackadder etc. We are going to go on a walk and find some gold, and then maybe get a First Class flight home (yay). This place is a big gold hunting country, so, you never know, eh? Well, I do know, that sort of thing only happens in inpenetrable books and low budget films (look, a rock painted gold!). Anyway, the Milford Track is just 8 days away, and we need to keep walking in case we get stiff, shrivel up and die. Also, as well as that game of hangman only one other person (no names mentioned) is playing, I am going to post this Mindtrap question (not the exact words).

Tony is playing with his floating toy boat in the bath. It is full of nuts, screw, and bolts. He accidentally knocks it over, and all the nuts, screws and bolts fall out into the bath. Does the level of the water in the bath rise, fall, or stay the same?

 My Dad, who has a degree in physics, got this question wrong. What do you think?

My next blog update may be a while, so it’s goodbye from me, and it’s goodbye from me.

Goodbye!


Happy Birthday!

25Mar09

As I mentioned a few days ago, it was my brother’s birthday.

I bet that none of you really care what he got, but here goes anyway:

– A handbook about NZ birds

– Two pieces of paper in a bag

Err…that’s pretty much it.

On the pieces of paper, one had a Wiimote (that’s a Wii remote, folks) and one had an iPod. He actually already has an iPod, so this was actually iPod speakers (as if his constant playing of Nirvana wasn’t bad enough anyway). Here’s pics of his presents (actually just off Google):
ipod-speakersnintendo-wii-remote-jacket1wii_play9781877246586

After this, we had been told we would need to leave early, so we got out by a quarter to nine, and then stopped at the toilets, where we were asked to get out, even though I had already been. We walked over tp the pier, still for no conceivable reason. Then, a Dolphin Watch boat appeared, and that was my brother’s birthday surprise, so we went swimming with wild dolphin! My dad took a lot of video, and I am going to get a video uploaded once I have edited it of the trip.

We also went to a glow-worm cave where there were glow-worms and cave eels (awesome).

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We also went to the ‘World Famous Hundertwasser Toilets”, which were rubbish, and went to the Sky Tower restaurant for dinner.

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It very slowly revolves; it takes an hour to go all the way round (we went round two and a half times!). I had soup (pumpkin) and then tart (also pumpkin), with chips. It’s strange, because when you need the loo you need to go and look for it, because it doesn’t revolve and you do.

Anyway, we had a great time, now we’re back in Auckland.


Pic Attack!

23Mar09

Hey, blogaholics! It’s your favourite blogger here, with a hot new update – we have pictures!

After so many (about three) of you complained that we had no pictures, here we go:

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This is me putting the final touches to a piece of beach art we just happened to make.

 

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This is us and Yatin’s family. I’m the one on the bottom left, not liking anybody because I had a headache.

That’s all for now, but more are on their way. Now I have to actually tell you what we have done.

On Saturday (for me at least) I went on a ten-kilometre walk. This is still in training for the Milford Track, For which you have to walk 16km a day. That’s 9.94 miles, to you still stuck in metric. I also walked up a hill to where Hone Heke cut down a flagpost four times in a row, because he disagreed with the loss of power granted by the Treaty of Waitangi. There was a war, so it was slightly more interesting than otherwise. Hone Heke distracted them by having warriors shout and fire and make a big fuss, then he went and cut down the flagstaff. This technique worked four times in a row. I find it odd that we were meant to be the civilised, clever ones. But we were outsmarted by a silly trick!

Also, we went to the Church at Paihia on Sunday.

It’s my brother’s birthday tomorrow. But don’t tell him, it’s a surprise! (JOKE)

We are going to the Sky Tower to eat. (NOT A JOKE)

I’m not going to put what we are going to get him, in case he somehow reads it. I’ll tell you tomorrow, or the next time I can get on internet. It costs $6 an hour here, which is actually quite good (that’s just over £2).

As I say, there will be more pictures soon. So just wait.

And finally, who fancies a game of hangman? My go first. Guess a few letters at a time. Make all the answers something to do with this blog. Here we go:

_ _ _ _ / _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Keep guessing!


Kerikeri

19Mar09

Yesterday, I mentioned a stone building and Maori pa, but I didn’t actually write that much about it. That place is called Kerikeri, and was the site of the earliest christian mission in NZ. Here is a picture of the bit of Kerikeri we went to (the tourist bit):kerikeri_historic_buildings

Thew building on the left is the Stone Store, used as a storage place (duh) and is the oldest stone building in New Zealand, completed in 1836. Tyhe building on the right is the mission house, and was originally the house og John Butler, though it did have many owners. That house is the oldest wooden structure still standing in New Zealand, built in 1822. The one in the middle is St. James’ church, which, like many churches, has been rebuilt at least three times. Once, it got hit by a tornado! Her is Kororipo Pa, a bit like stone age fortresses you can see in britain today:

pa

We went here too, and it was just some hills, but when it was built, it was an inpenetrable outpost of doom. In fact, a lot of the Bay of Islands was controlled from this little fort. I mentioned that Maoris had stone age-like forts, and this is true, and because when settlers arrived in New Zealand, it was still in its stone age! So having muskets was a bit like cheating, really, and so they were valued highly. So the settlers needed somewhere to put all the stuff the Maoris traded for muskets, so they built a stone store. You see, it all fits together slightly like a jigsaw!

On a slightly more cheesy note, the towns slogan is ‘it’s so nice they named it twice!’, so I don’t think I’ll be going back there, thank you very much.

Our hire car had a spare tyre on, because a tyre went down while driving. We got a new tyre on our way back! Yeah! (I really am scraping the barrel now, what else can I say…)

Oh yeah, my mum is really, really good at Wii Bowling. She got about 160 on her first go, beating my dad and my brother and nearly beating me! And I’m a pro! We think she’s been sneaking out of her room at night to go and practice. More on this later. Because now it’s time for Numa Numa!

If you still have any brain left after that, then please comment!