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Posts Tagged ‘update’

I have been slacking a little on the updates. Probably because this blog was a way for my family who doesn’t have Facebook to see all my pictures of my trip and so far, I’ve managed to show most of my family pictures. However, I did promise myself I’d keep updating this so I have a well-rounded journal on my trip. So here goes!

I last left off in the middle of New Zealand so I’ll continue with that! One of my most favourite things of my entire trip was the Franz Josef glacier hike. It was unbelievable. This is a glacier that sits right next to a tropical rainforest and is one of three in the world to do so. The other one is about 5km down the road from it and the third is in …Brazil? I believe.

The glacier itself is about 12km long, running up a gorge. Of course, it has, in the many thousands of years it’s been there, been the one to carve out this valley. It has, at some points, been as long as 15km. Every year it gets about 80 feet of precipitation falling on it, which is quite a lot. So much so in fact that the average time it takes the ice to move from the top of the glacier to the end is only an 8-year cycle. That’s pretty fast for a glacier.

With the Franz Josef glacier, you can choose from 3 hikes. One is an hour hike, one is a half-day hike and the other is a full day. Of course, everyone wants to do the full day hike. So it’s important to book ahead, weary travelers! Luckily, because we traveled with Kiwi Experience, they have a certain number of spots set aside so we only need to decide the day before whether we want to do it or not. But anyone not traveling with a tour, I would recommend booking your tour as early as possible to guarantee spots.

The full day hike is an 8 hour event. Now, only about 6 of those hours is spent on the actual glacier but it still seems like a long time to be standing on ice. Fear not, it goes by quickly! In the morning, you get a quick little video of the hike and the rules, then get your gear. Not sure if I mentioned it but you get hat, gloves, coat, pants, boots and crampons (the little metal that goes on the bottom of your boots so you don’t go flying on the ice). All you need to provide are non-jean pants or shorts and 3-4 layers on top. You should be good to go then!

Our guide’s name was Jason. He was very …interesting. Young – only 18 so I’m pretty sure he was the youngest of our group! He enjoyed telling dead baby jokes, which I was very amused about. But he was good at his job and made sure we were all safe. There are ‘features’ – as they call them – on the glacier that the guides like to wind the group’s way up to and around. These features only last a week or two, on average, before they fall or melt away which means if your friends do it at another point in time, they will most likely see the glacier from a different viewpoint than you. It’s neat.

Anyway, enough ramble about the hike. I highly, highly recommend it. It honestly was one of the best things I did in the 6 months I was away. It’s a little expensive ($100 or $150 NZD I believe) but definitely worth every penny. Onto the pictures!

Also, I promised my friend I’d do a shout-out on a blog for him. He’s never had one before! But I can’t mention his name so I’ll just call him Hockey Boy. Hey, Hockey Boy! SHOUT OUT!

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Dear Parents:

It is here I lay to you Exhibit A: Proof that Emma has been using sunscreen, not only regularly but all the freakin’ time.

I AM WHITE OH LORD

I think this picture speaks for itself. No need to continuously ask me if I’ve been using sunscreen because I am sure you can tell from this, that I most definitely have been. I appreciate the concern, nevertheless, and kindly request you turn your concerns towards my friend, the elusive Kelly, who has taken a moral stance against sunscreen and all sun-care related products. Use your parental powers on her; she definitely needs them because she is going to return with LOTS AND LOTS OF CANCER.

XOXO

Your ever-reliable, responsible and intelligent daughter,

Emma

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I did the 8 hour glacier hike today and it was amazing. So, so amazing. I can’t wait to post the pictures so you can see how gorgeous it is.

Luckily, they provide you with mitts, hats, pants, coats, boots, socks and crampons (hehe crampons). So that was good. I didn’t freeze my butt off on the ice. Although about 1/4 of the way through I did manage to sink both feet into some shin-high ice water. I spent the next 5 hours in 3 pairs of soggy socks, and wet boots. Super luckily, I have no blisters to report!

Tomorrow we head to Wanaka Lake. Not exactly sure what’s on the go there but I plan on just maybe getting a hike in and relaxing. Then the next day it’s off to Queenstown! The day after we get there I’ll be doing a Lord of the Rings tour, because yes, I am a giant nerd and then a day trip to Milford Sound. I hear it’s absolutely lovely. Someone on the trip talked me into it, despite the $160 price point.

After that it’s white water rafting with hopefully Kelly, then we get into Christchurch the day before our flight leaves. We will probably sleep overnight in the airport as our flight leaves at 7am, meaning a 5am check-in. It doesn’t make sense to pay for a hostel just to wake up at 4am and leave. So we’ll be camping out overnight airport-style. Should suck but I’d rather that and save $30. See? My inner backpacker has finally been awakened! Hurrah!

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Well, we made it! The flight was fairly uneventful. Got in late, up early. Christchurch at night was beautiful – so quiet at night which was a lovely change from the ever-busy Sydney. Reminded me of home. ❤

I swam with dolphins yesterday. It was a pretty amazing experience – they come so close, I so thought I was going to run into one of them a bunch of times. Unfortunately, my dolphin experience ended early as I realized I? am not meant for the sea. Yep, seasickness does me in every time but I’ve never been that violently ill, I think. Lovely.

Otherwise, it is beautiful out though a lot of my time has been spent on busses. I am looking forward to a couple of days off in Franz Josef.

Oh, and I bought a new camera. Because I’m a balla like that. It’s red and I think I am in love.

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So we’re finally on the last day of my Uluru trip. Phew! I apologize for the sheer amount of photos in this post. But it had to be done. Hopefully you’ll forgive me.

So day three!

We woke up again super early, somewhere around 4.30am. The sunrise from our camp was absolutely stunning and is now proudly displayed as our header. After a quick breakfast and pack-up of the camp, we headed to do the King’s Canyon walk, which was approximately a 7km return hike (including a stop over at the “Garden of Eden”). As you’ll see from the pictures, temperatures were predicted to hit upwards of 40*C! Yikes. My 1.5L water bottle came in handy many times during the trip but by the end of this morning I was horribly tired of warm, even hot, water.

After our beautiful hike around the top of the canyon, we went and had a BBQ lunch back at King’s Creek Cattle Station and I sat by the pool for a bit. Then it was off on the road, to slowly make our way back to Alice Springs. On our way back, we cut across the land on outback road and that was about an hour’s drive. Very fun though, like a really long, slow rollercoaster, haha. After that, we stopped in to see Dinky the Singing Dingo and the Dodge truck that opened up the outback dirt roads and then home to Alice Springs.

That night in Alice Springs we all went out for dinner and I ordered a Camel & Stout Pie. And let me tell you… camel taste like, well, camel. It tasted dusty? It was very tender but not very good. I ate about half the pie before I gave up. Worth a shot. Funny how I got food poisoning not from the camel, but from my work holiday party. You’d think it would be the other way around!

In any case, here are my pictures from Day 3. Enjoy.

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This post is about my second day of the Uluru (Ayer’s Rock) tour I did with Wayoutback Tours. Again, a fantastic time!

Started the day off with a 4.30am wakeup call! So early. We had slept on the ground under a tin roof the night before. Those that decided to be a little more “cool” had slept out under the stars. They quickly moved when it began raining sometime in the night. It was actually a pretty good sleep, despite sleeping on the ground surrounded by strangers.

We headed to a sunrise lookout point where we got to take some fantastic pictures of the sunrise and have our breakfast. Shortly after that, we headed to Kata Tjuta, or the Valley of the Winds for our hike. Those that chose to do that whole hike (like me) walked about 7km in a big loop that day. We finished around 10.30am and boy, it certainly felt like it was 2 or 3pm in the afternoon thanks to the early wake up.

I had a hiking buddy with me for the second part of the hike (after the point when those that decided to take the shorter route turned around). We didn’t talk much but we both kept at the same pace. I decided that by the end of the hike, either he had the fitness level of a 23-year old or I had the fitness level of a 58-year old. I was really hoping it was the first one! Considering we were the 2nd and 3rd person back (yes, even beating those that took the shorter route), I am going to say it’s safe to assume he was in great shape.

After that, we went to the Uluru Camping Ground and hung out at the pool. There’s no words to describe how it feels to immerse yourself in a refreshing water after a long, 37 degree hike. It was amazing. After a lazy lunch, we headed to our next campground and set up. I got to take a shower in a tin shower stall (see pictures) and I think that was a pretty fantastic experience. There was no curtain or door on the shower and I got to watch the sun set in the outback as I showered away the grime and sweat from the day.

That night our tour guide, Adam, cooked us Green Curry on the open fire AND bread made with beer. I was highly impressed and it was delicious! We then settled down around the fire for a sleep under the stars. Absolutely gorgeous, lying there and gazing into the universe. I could have done without the flies or mosquitos, though! I think I woke up pretty much every hour and was covered in bites by the morning but the night-time sky and sunrise that following morning more than made up for it.

Here are some pictures from Day 2:

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A quick video because looking at over 340+ pictures is making my head hurt. But they will be up soon, I promise, with recount of my trip. I had a lot of fun and it was amazing.

My excitement SHINES through in this video, can’t you tell? Aha.

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