Well we are now in Queenstown, the furthest south that we will be traversing on this trip. It is a student town, but not like any I have seen! It is surrounded by magnificent snow-covered mountains and a huge lake (some fifty miles long!!!) – which affords the most amazing views from every direction (including our bedroom window).
Had salmon for dinner – caught fresh this morning (by somebody other than myself that is); and as I sit here relaxing with a glass of wine (the locals know how to squeeze a good grape) and watch the sun setting over the lake, it crosses my mind to complete a few posties (finally) and to update you on my adventure.
We spent three days at the Te Nikau Retreat – a hostel situated in the middle of a tropical rainforest; where they bake bread and muffins every morning and our room had a king size bed. What a place!
We only had to walk twenty minutes through the trees to be at two different beaches – one of which had grey sand.
I decided to fast myself up and go climb a rock so that Cake could take a photo with the sea crashing up behind (artistic and natural on all accounts). Only I hadn’t reckoned on the height of the rock and had a bugger of a time climbing down.
I ripped a pair of perfectly good trousers in the process: I would have taken more care usually, but the tide was coming in fast and Cake was too busy laughing at me to be of any great help.
This should have been warning enough, but the next day we went on a hike up a mountain (more rainforest; this time going upwards).
We had just finished the short trek (1.20hrs) when Yours Truly suggested that we take the other track back as it would allow us to see more of the land or some such bollocks (You will understand my grievance on this matter soon).
Well Cake (the daft bint) agreed, so we set off on what looked like a leisurely and well-signposted track through the trees.
There then followed four hours of mountain climbing; squeezing in between rock falls; trying not to slip on river rocks (long drops off the side of mountain sort of thing); until finally we walk out into open space and … nothing.
Nowhere near where we were supposed to be.
Somehow, we had crossed over onto another track and ended up in … who am I kidding? I still don’t know where we ended up. There were no people, no houses and no maps to show us that ‘You Are (Lost) Here’.
So it takes us twenty minutes to work out which direction we should be going in (incoming scent of the ocean) and then it takes us another ten minutes to figure out a way to cross over the mothafukin river that is in the way.
Then we have to wade across (knee deep – or in Cake’s case, waist deep) holding onto each other and trying not to think about having to spend the night on a rainforest-covered mountain in the middle of NOWHERE!; and the river is running so fast and so powerfully that we are forced to zigzag across it to reach the other side.
We then squelch along for another half hour (thanking God in a number of tongues), only to be faced with FIVE – count them now 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – wild horses who are standing in front of the only gate out of the huge field we find ourselves in.
Now those of you who know me well, know that I am not good when it comes to animals being in close proximity. And everyone knows that horses are f!ckers!
They just stood there; watching us.
In the end Cake made soothing noises in their general direction (You know, like the kind you make at children that mean “There, there, Mummy loves you”); whilst I attempted long breathing exercises to help me keep calm and tried to imitate the sounds that she was making – only mine contained more of the “Dear God I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die …” harmonics.
We couldn’t get the buggers to shift for love nor money and finally resorted to – get this – climbing round the edge of the fencing (balancing precariously on cliff edge over river – probably the same one we’d swam through earlier) before having to roll under part of the wire fence because we weren’t sure if it was electrified or not: and being wet is not a good time to test an electric fence!!!
Then we discover … that we are on the other side of the village and have to trek a further forty minutes back to the hostel.
To say that we were tired is an understatement. The muscles in my buttocks were on fire!
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AUTHOR: I am might war. I have a love of music, the written word, travel, Anime, polar bears, people and “sticking and colouring”.