Alright, my goal was to have this blog all caught up by August..so here I am on 3 days away! I’m truly the queen of procrastination.
The Reedy Family South Island of New Zealand Experience:
Tuesday the 29th of June: We boarded the Tranzscenic Railway that would take us from Christchurch (the east coast) to Greymouth (west coast). The train passed through the Southern Alps, over crystal blue rivers/ glacial runoff, and past green fields. Truly beautiful scenery! We had breaky on the train and walked out to the observation deck to take in the views and mountainy fresh air. Once in Greymouth we picked up the rental car and headed for Franz Josef glacier. On the drive we passed over countless one lane bridges that were a bit scary—especially one of them that had a train track going down the middle as well. We made a few stops at beaches along the way and got to the glacier right before sunset. The glacier was wedged between two mountains and we probably should have listened to the do not trespass signs because when we got close for a picture we could hear parts of it breaking off.
Wednesday the 30th of June: We drove down the west coast, stopping at Fox Glacier, miscellaneous beaches, and taking in some more gorgeous mountain/river scenery that the winding road had to offer us. We would drive a bit and my family would say..”we could be in Alaska right now”..“we could be in Colorado right now..”, “we could be in Washington right now”, or various other spots in the U.S. and we decided New Zealand has the best of American scenery packed into one little Island. By the end of the day we made it to our destination, Queenstown—a really neat ski resort town and one of the South Islands biggest cities that is nestled in the middle of a mountain range on a big lake.
Thursday the 1st of July: We were originally scheduled to go on a small plane ride to Milford Sound, where we would board a ferry, but because of the weather conditions our tour was canceled. So instead..Billy and I decided to go sky diving! We had to wait until the afternoon, so to kill time we had lunch at the famous to Queenstown burger spot- “Fergburger”, and I can see why they’re famous..delicious! Then Dad and I hiked on the Queenstown walking trail to the top of town. When it was time to go sky diving, Billy and I were surprisingly calm. I was more excited then nervous! We got into a little air plane that only had enough passenger room for Me, Billy, two other skydivers, our instructors, and a camera guy. We jumped from 12,000 feet, we free felled for 45 seconds at 125 mph, and they pulled the shoots at 4000 ft. IT WAS AWESOME! My tandem guy and I did a barrel roll out of the plane and then the camera guy came over and made us spin around. Everything went smoothly and I landed on my feet. The scenery we fell over was beautiful..mountains and a crystal blue lake that I could see to the bottom of from 12000 ft above. The rest of the day Billy and I had a natural high from the adrenaline and I think Mom and Dad were just happy we made it out alive.
Friday the 2nd of July: Since the Milford Sound tour was cancelled for a second time we decided to hit the road early and drove out to Mt. Cook where we decided to take a scenic helicopter ride (my first helicopter ride!). The helicopter took us to the top of a mountain for a snow landing. From the top we could see a glacier and we played in the snow a bit (Larry our family vacation mascot—a little bear in an OSU sweatshirt, and I made snow angels) before re-boarding.
Saturday the 3rd of July: Our final day in New Zealand. We drove a grit switchback road to the top or Mt. Hut to a ski resort. Billy had been looking forward to this day all trip. Dad and I were a bit nervous having not skied for a while by the looks of the mountain, and Mom decided to spend the day by the fire reading her book. From the very top of the mountain in one direction you could see the ocean and in the other the snow capped Southern Alps mountain range. It took us a run or two but we were finally getting the hang of it, and then the run before Dad and I had planned to go in for lunch Dad wiped out. He had to be sled down to the med center, where the doctors believed he had sprained his knee. Unable to put pressure on it to walk I had to assist him up to the lodge where he hung out with Mom for the rest of the day in pain. Billy and I finished out the day and I traded in my skies for a snow board part way through the day. Great day of skiing, other then my Dad’s injuryL! We spent the rest of the evening heading back to Christchurch and touring around the city.
Sunday the 4th of July: The day of my return to the United States. My journey started at the Christchurch airport at 5 am. I had a long black and meat pie for breakfast—two of my favourite foods from the southern hemisphere before boarding my 6:40 am flight to Auckland (On the North Island), I had a 5 hour lay over there and met up with my family (Dad in a wheelchair because of his accident) for our flight from Auckland to LA. We had had to arrange separate domestic flights because I had scheduled mine back in February. It was a 12 hour flight which Qantas spoiled us with tons of food and movies. I slept a bit and arrived in LA at 6 am still July 4th. It was back to crazy USA airport security and summer heat (It had been winter in NZ and Australia). Ironically a girl I had lived near in Sydney was on my flight from LA to Chicago and we were in the same terminal as we had been in February for our group flight to Brisbane. Memories flooded back from the beginning of our trip and I was glad to have someone to talk to, still feeling a bit sad to leave Oz. I arrived in Cleveland by 7 pm after a total of 28 hours of traveling all on the 4th! A bit tired I spent my first evening at home catching up with my best friend Lisa and enjoying a mint Oreo blizzard from DQ –fulfilling one of my American food cravings.Up next: American Observations