From the South to the North

What a chill couple of days we’ve had! We spent the day yesterday driving to Picton to prepare for our ferry trip today. We made a brief stop in a Blenheim at Paper Plus, yes again, I buy the other two Lord of the Rings books. Aidan is almost done with Fellowship and Caleb has read both the books he brought and is about halfway through The Hobbit. (Yikes!)

Once we pulled into our camp for the night we took a walk to the marina and waited for the ferry to come in so the boys could all see the boat.

Well in grand Chapman vacation style it began to rain, obviously, but it wasn’t awful just enough to create the most beautiful full rainbow with a half double above it.

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Beautiful

I mean who doesn’t love a good rainbow! Anyway after that little trip we grabbed some delicious Fish & Chips and by fish I mean Elephant Fish. Which is basically a shark, it’s in the same family as sharks we’re calling it a shark. Don’t argue, just go with it. The kids finished off the night with a large game of Chess in the dark.

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This morning we woke with excitement, some sadness, and a bit of anxiety of the unknown. We packed up and got ready then headed out, we weren’t done yet with the South Island.

On recommendation from a friend we went to the Edwin Fox Museum and the small aquarium next door. The aquarium is a bit lackluster and small compared to the gorgeous Churaumi Aquarium we are used to so we won’t discuss that, BUT that museum!

Ok here’s the stats on this bad boy!

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The Captain, if you’re a HIMYM fan you will understand why we snickered when this fine gentleman introduced himself that way, said they actually believe it’s the 8th oldest ship in the world and are working on confirmation. But it’s also the last example of the East India ships. Yes, we had a few Pirates of the Caribbean references through the tour. After checking out the museum we were able to actually go on board and check it out then walk around the dry dock underneath. It was incredibly cool to see!

Those are just some of the pictures. That dress, fascinator, cape, bag, and baby outfit are all from a woman and child who traveled on the Edwin Fox in 1880. It’s authentic, it is beautiful, and I studied it for quite some time.

Once we were done we headed to the check in for the ferry and waited to board. Again my videos won’t load so I will update later. However, I will leave you with a shot from aboard as we travelled across the Cook Straight.

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Just Keep Driving, Just Keep Driving

I sound like Dory don’t I. Well for good reason, driving is really the only thing the weather hasn’t completely spoilt for us. I’m not complaining, we’ve seen beautiful countryside the last few days and more farm animals than I can believe. See I wrote a song for it (To the tune of Little Mermaid)

There’s been mountains and valleys a plenty. There’s been sheep and llama galore. You want lamb I’ve seen about 2000. But who cares no big deal I want to see more. I want to see where the red deer roam. I want to see want to see them eating. Trotting along down the, what’s the word, Oh! Motorway. Planning your trip only gets you so far. Weather it seems has its own mind. You want to see want to see the glaciers, Oh! Nevermind.

Okay, I know that’s not the tune of our blue friend but another finned friend, Ariel. I kid, I kid, well kind of.

We left Queenstown on Thursday (yesterday) and headed through Crown Range which is so beautiful when you get to the top, see gorgeous.

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Pano from the lookout at the top of Crown Range.

Butt getting up there is a bit hairy, see doesn’t this just look like a huge big old bit of fun.

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Screen capture of our Google Maps.

After we were over the range we got into more rain. But we also saw huge waterfalls!  Brandon wanted to see some while we were here in NZ and today did not disappoint. First was Fantail Falls.

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Fantail Falls

Then was Thunder Creek Falls.

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Thunder Creek Falls

We also saw many along the mountain sides as we drove.

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We trotted along stopping in Wanaka to stop at a book store to grab Aidan a book. He finished The Hobbit so we bought him the first Lord of the Rings book. We then kept going until we arrived in Fox Glacier Township and scheduled our helicopter flight for today to both Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers. Then headed to dinner.

After dinner we settled into the camper for a few rounds of Rummy and bed.

This morning we woke up to thunder, lightning and rain.  We’re talking middle of a typhoon kind of wind and rain.  Needless to say our flight got cancelled so we headed out to our backup plan.

We headed on down or up in this case the West Coast along the Tasman Sea. It looks angry, so terribly angry, but beautiful at the same time as it churned and the waves crashed along the rock formations that one can only assume were once attached to the cliffs above.

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After lunch the rain was just to heavy and the wind too hard to do anything so we trekked to our place of rest for the night. A pieceful little freecamping place right along the Inangahua River. Yep we are staying in a van down by the river. Dreams y’all, dreams. So off I am to play more Rummy with the fam. Night!

 

 

 

Mountains & Lakes & Icebergs, Oh my!

I’m happy to say our first night was a success!  Well other than the trucks passing by and the occasional horn honking. We were greeted with a beautiful sunny morning and a glorious view. I mean who can be mad at this view:

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After packing up we made a short stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd then headed off to Mount John Observatory to get some seriously stunning views of Lake Tekapo and the surrounding valley. Let’s just discuss for one moment how an RV handles an alpine road, scary, it’s scary ya’ll. I mean we made it up and eventually back down but it was a bit of a butt puckering experience and I’m sure it’s not the last time we have this experience. But the view, and the coffee was amazing!

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From there we headed down through Twizel and then out past Mount Cook to the Tasman Glacier. Along the way we were greeted by a familiar weather anomaly we haven’t seen in quite a few years, snow and rain mixed. The closer we got to our destination the more it happened. As we began the steep stepped climb the rain turned to snow then the snow to ice. Fun. We were cold and wet but completely worth the trek when we stood looking down at the icebergs floating in the icy blue water.

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As we traveled back out to the main road and we were greeted with icy blue rivers and breathtaking mountainscapes. IMG_3232IMG_3231

It isn’t hard to see why so many people fall in love with this country. Each day is filled with as much beauty as the previous one. Tomorrow we head to Te Anau to see Fiordland National Park and have a day of rest.

An Antarctic Adventure

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Our day started with our Edoras Tour being cancelled due to weather on Mt Sunday. So, we hopped into action with our Plan B the International Antarctic Centre.

They have a free shuttle that runs from the Canterbury Museum.  Off we went for a walk across town to catch our Penguin topped chariot (not kidding there were penguins on it ya’ll, check out the picture.) We arrived a bit early so we spent some time walking through the Botanical Gardens (more on that later) and just enjoying the nice sunny, yet cool day.

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The penguin shuttle awaits to take us on a chilly adventure to the bottom of the world.

Upon arrival we were met with warm smiles to carry us through our adventure, which we would need to survive the storm we were about to endure. With our map and tickets in hand our day planned out we went to the Antarctic Storm room. That’s exactly what that sounds like, a room that simulates a storm and temperatures in Antarctica  let’s discuss what -18°C feels like, DANG COLD! That’s what!  Like freezing your tail end off, and my husband was in there with shorts (SHORTS for goodness sake!) on, and someone took his picture. I didn’t but some random stranger has a picture of him so I’m sure it will end up on FB with a caption like, “look at this crazy dude we saw in the Antarctic Snow room. He’s crazytown!”

 

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I digress, back to the adventure, next was my favorite part of the day, the Hägglund Ride. What’s a Hägglund you ask, I’m glad you did, it’s pretty much the coolest vehicle ever. Here check out the stats on this bad boy:

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Our carriage awaits.
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This is an insanely awesome vehicle.

See it’s pretty much the coolest, most badass off road vehicle on the face of the planet. They have a whole course set up with hills, logs, tires, a meter wide “crevasse”, steep inclines, and water. We did it all,  it handles perfectly, and I want one.

The rest of our day was filled with 4D movies, Blue Penguins, trying on the gear, and learning all about the frozen continent.

We were sad that our original plan got cancelled but I’m glad we got to experience what Antarctica is like to work and live there.  Here’s just a few pictures from our day.  Enjoy!

 

 

The adventure continues tomorrow…

The Journey Begins

Welp the time has come. The bags are packed. The car is safely in the hands of our favorite parking service here in Okinawa, thanks Honest Parking for always being amazing! We’re all checked in (easiest check in EVER!) and now here we sit waiting, or sleeping if your the oldest, to board our first flight.

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My oldest taking a nap while we wait.

Super exciting stuff going on, I know. I do have…

Well we boarded and took off before I could share so I’m sharing after the first leg.

10 Days and a Playlist

I can’t believe it!  We have 10 days until we leave for New Zealand.  There are so many things that still need to be done (mostly because I procrastinate) but one of the biggest is our road trip playlist.

Ok, lets jump back to 2015 when we went home to the good ole USofA to visit family.  While home we went on a MAJOR road trip.  I’m talking 4 states and Canada kind of trip. One thing that was a little lacking was our road trip music.  I mean who doesn’t want to sing along with 80’s/90’s pop or R&B, Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, an occasional Celine or Whitney song, or rock out to some hair band metal circa 1985 and classic rock.  Well, I had most of that on my playlist but it was still lacking in true road trip music. You know the good music that the whole family can sing to and appreciate.

So here we sit 10 days out and my dear son has requested an update to the road trip playlist.  He’s not wrong.  We plan on being in our vehicle driving for 3 weeks, we need some serious tunes going on.  Now to sift through the proverbial sea of songs and put together one seriously fantastic playlist.

When you are traveling what’s on your playlist?

 

A Day Late but the Kid Was Vomiting

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Planning a trip like this takes all the resources you can get your hands on.

I was supposed to write this yesterday.  Why you ask, well that was our official six week mark until we embark on our New Zealand adventure. But life happened and my youngest woke up vomiting, always a great way to wake up, right? Wrong, no parent likes waking up to a vomiting child.

So here I am a day late but hey the youngest is much better today.  We are on countdown day 41! Yikes!  This is really happening.  We have already hit some major milestones in our planning.  Plane tickets were bought months ago.  We recently made the final payment for our camper van from