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Day Eleven – Milford Sound to Te Anau- New Zealand

Today……was……the …..best…..day……EVER!!! We had booked the JUCY tour of Milford Sound – being the proud JUCY people we are! Plus the lady at the travel desk said it was an early tour that wouldn’t be crowded and too touristy – so we were in! Bright and early at 8.30am we arrived at the Milford Sound ferry terminal, all set to board a big boat for a tour of Milford Sound. Now, Milford Sound contrary to popular belief is not really a Sound (in Geology, a Sound is a large sea or ocean inlet larger than a bay, deeper than a bight, […]

Day Ten – Queenstown to Milford Sound – New Zealand

It was f*&^ing cold! I think my face froze off overnight! It was so cold that I had to hover over the dunny seat to stop myself sticking to it! Bloody hell New Zealand can get cold…. Anyways, having warmed my nethers over the gas stove, we set off towards Milford Sound. Along the way were more lakes that went on forever, Highland cows that looked mean and hairy, roadkill hedgehogs that I was itching to stop and get a look at (I’ve never seen a hedgehog before!) and even more clear rivers and streams.   We stopped for lunch […]

Day Nine – Franz Josef to Queenstown – New Zealand

Having thoroughly had my tanty overnight regarding the cancelled helicopter trip to Franz Josef Glacier, Long-Suffering Mentor (also known as Cardio Cathy!) decided we would do the Franz Josef Summit walk – one and a half hours walk return but most of it uphill (of course – we ARE going to see a glacier!) and most of it on very uneven surface. Glaciers leave moraines as they retreat, and these moraines are made up of really, really, REALLY unconsolidated rocks. Big rocks, little rocks, really big rocks, really small rocks. Not a walk conducive with recovering from a broken foot. […]

Day Eight – Franz Josef Glacier – New Zealand

Today was the day of adventure……. …..until we woke up and realised the weather was really shit! Like so shit that we couldn’t see the top of the mountain let alone where the glacier was! So we were kind of expecting the bad news…… Still, ever the optimist I set off for my first adventure, quad biking through the terminal moraine! After a quick run through of how to use the quad bike, and a test drive around the course to make sure you weren’t some nufty who would take out the whole group because they forgot where the brake […]

Day Seven – Queenstown to Franz Josef – New Zealand

I woke up – and I could move!! This was a bloody good thing! After a thoroughly enjoyable morning walk along the beautiful braided river I felt even better. We managed to get on the road by 10am after a quick stop to the petrol station, the supermarket AND the pharmacy where I almost had to bend over for a rectal examination to get my extra strength codeine – but I got it! So off we set for Franz Josef! The road to Franz Josef is known as the famous Haas Pass and there’s a reason it is so famous! […]

Day Six – Dunedin to Queenstown – New Zealand

I knew something was wrong as soon as I opened my eyes! I couldn’t move! I was busting to go to the loo and my back had completely seized up in the JUCY van! I was packed into my bed with no way of manoeuvring out to the bathroom. I panicked! I called out to Long-Suffering Mentor who was snuggled up and asleep in her upstairs tomb (the double bed up over the drivers seat is so small it looks like a coffin!) but because she was packed in like a sardine she couldn’t hear my desperate cries! After some shouting […]

Day Five – Post Conference Trip – New Zealand

Having woken early in our lovely little room, I noticed when bending down that my back was twinging a bit. I made myself promise I would take it a bit easier today as I didn’t want any nasty incidences or surprises. Making our way downstairs we enjoyed a simple continental breakfast with lots of cups of tea, and quickly packed up the JUCY van in preparation for what Ewan promised would  be an action packed and very full-on day. The scenery was so picturesque as we drove out to Hakataramea Valley to a huge quarry. The quarry was Late Oligocene […]

Day Four – Post Conference Trip – New Zealand

Being the totally organised travellers that we are, my LS Mentor set an alarm for 6.30am allowing us a leisurely time for showers and breakfast before trotting across the road to the bus for the airport, having checked out with minimal hassle. Unfortunately LS Mentor’s clock was still on Victorian time, so I woke up thinking there is way too much light coming through my window, grabbed my watch and immediately began screaming “we’re late” and rushing around like a mad woman. We eventually made it out of the hotel and across the road – dragged all our luggage onto […]

Day Three – Queenstown, New Zealand

This mountain changes every day! The different light and sunshine makes it alive!! Today was a full day of CAVEPS – bird, mesozoic and dinosaurs, macropods, and New Zealand cenozoic. Lots and lots of dinosaurs and crocodiles. The highlight of the day though, was the Plenary speaker – Senior Professor Jingmai O’Connor spoke about the rise of birds. Jingmai is the coolest Palaeontologist I have ever met! She’s dynamite in a small package, covered in tattoos of birds and dinosaurs! She spoke with such passion and intellect, I was so impressed with her presentation. I actually met her afterwards in […]

Day Two – Queenstown, New Zealand

Having had a long and restful sleep, we clambered up the inclines of Queenstown, New Zealand towards the Skyline Gondola, to get to our conference location high up on a mountain overlooking the beautiful town and lakes. Long-Suffering Mentor (who is afraid of heights) managed to hide her conniptions with white knuckles and distracted chatter, as we ascended up the mountain in a small gondola. The views were incredible. Breathtaking! The snow capped crags of mountain ranges blending in with mountains that look like green velvet. Sometimes it just looks fake – like a painting! The geology of the South […]