Ok, trip planning updates!!! And how I previously stated that I was going to try to keep this "itinerary free". Well, that's not happening. I now have a calendar with our route and stops blocked out. Its mainly b/c we want to do some really cool excursions and I fear that they'll book up. Which means we need to plan and figure out which day we'd want to do the excursion so we can book it now. So much for trying to be all spontaneous.... Now its only partially spontaneous. lol
We're going to do a half or full day wine tour here:http://www.marlboroughwinetours.co.nz/index.cfm/home This is the main wine making region in the country. We think its smart to take a tour, rather than us try to sample wine and try to drive this standard transmission RV on the wrong side of the road. See, I can be smart if I try!
We've booked a sea kayak trip with these people:http://www.southern-exposure.co.nz/guided.htm
Its a guided 2-day catered tour, where you kayak during the day (and play with fur seals) then camp on the beach. Fun!
We're re-arranged our trip a bit, based on recommendations on someone I've found on the Lush Australia/New Zealand message board. Turns out she's a kiwi that lives on the South Island, who does travel bookings. What luck!
Originally, Will wanted to head here:http://www.newzealandnz.co.nz/destinations/moeraki.htmlIts basically a bunch of large round rocks on a beach. We'd be driving a good bit out of our way to see them, and I was wondering if it was worth it. I know we like taking pictures of rocks and everything, but this seems a bit extreme. My NZ person said that they were cool, but more as a "place to stop along the way" rather than "lets make it a destination" place. And its all farmland.
She instead suggested that we stay on the west coast and explore their glaciers - its the only place in the world where glaciers flow directly into rainforest.
We were going to drive over http://www.newzealandnz.co.nz/destinations/arthurs-pass.html Arthurs Pass. However, we'd only be there to spend the night (and have the afternoon/morning to explore a bit) before we drove to those boulders. I'm thinking we'd have a lot more fun scrapping this stop for something really unique that would require a full day to explore (rather than driving half a day, then hiking b/c we feel obligated to do so, before we drive off some more)
I've got inquirys into a few companies:
She recommended these guys: http://www.franzjosefglacier.com/activities.asp
We'd either do a 3/4 day or a full day glacier hike, which gives us about 5-6 hours on the ice. Our guide book recommended Fox Glacier (about 1 hr down the road) - stating that there's fewer people who go there (Fox only has one licensed guide company, Franz has 2 - meaning there's double the people), Fox is cheaper, and that the hike to get on the glacier is 30 min and a medium ascent, vs 1 hr and a zig zag trail up the glacier face.
So, I've also made an inquiry to these people at Fox Glacier http://www.foxguides.co.nz/trips.asp
I've asked about the full day tour (which has actually less ice time than the Franz tour) and the Helicopter tour. I think the helicopter tour could be *amazing*. However, I'm worried that there will be kids and annoying/whiny people who's fitness level isn't up to our standards. I'm almost betting that these types are attracted to the helicopter tour so they don't have to do the ascent or hike for as long.
My NZ contact has also recommended a helicopter tour at Mt Cook, which I think we'll do. I mean, this is the place to do a helicopter tour. And we have our 0% credit card. She also suggested that we visit this http://www.earthandsky.co.nz/ while we're in Mt Cook. Will really, really liked the observatory we visited last April in west Texas, so I think this would be a really neat opportunity. To see stars that we'd only get to see in the Southern Hemisphere.
And finally, we were trying to figure out which boat tour to take at http://www.doc.govt.nz/Explore/001~National-Parks/Fiordland-National-Park/index.asp Fiordland National Park Most people take the https://www.realjourneys.co.nz/Main/MilfordSound/ Milford Sound tour. But, me with my aversion to crowds and idiots, I'm thinking we'll do the https://www.realjourneys.co.nz/Main/Doubtful/ Doubtful Sound tour. My contact recommended that we do both (which we don't have time for), but from the information I've found, the Doubtful Sound is definitely the less popular tour. Plus, you get a lake cruise and a power plant tour - in addition to the boat ride in the sound!
And then I'm still working on trying to get Will to go http://www.canyonz.co.nz/ canyoning..... water slides down rocks in a canyon! Sweet! I can't imagine a better way to break bones!
We'll also do JetBoating in Queenstown and maybe bungee jump....