New Zealand

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Hot Air Ballooning

“Before leaving this world, if there’s one wish you have to make and one thing you must do, please let it be travelling in a hot air balloon. It’s the most otherworldly experience I have ever had. If you ever visit Christchurch, you’ve got to go to Balloon Adventures Up Up and Away Ltd. It’s at Unit 6, 31 Stevens Street, Phillipstown, Christchurch.
The climate at Christchurch is ideal for hot air ballooning and the view from up there is nothing less than spectacular. The joy is not sitting in a hot air balloon as such; I mean we could sit in hot air balloons anywhere in the world. But the joy is the scenery. Christchurch has one of the best sceneries in the world and that’s what makes the hot air balloon experience so special. Rishi and I helped in the flight preparation and took more than thirty pictures of the mosaic-like farmlands and rivers. I wish I could travel to Australia in one of those hot air balloons. I think it would be great. Don’t spoil it by asking how I would relieve myself. Cheers!”

Excess of adventure

“Hey dude! Christchurch is quite nice. We’ve been here two days now and there’s loads to do. Rishi and I are going on a trip in a hot air balloon. Rishi has been insisting on a sky diving adventure, but I’m not too keen. I think he’ll go anyway, there’s no stopping him. I guess I’ll spend that day checking out the Canterbury museum. We just took a beautiful tram ride around the city centre. This is for sure a poet’s paradise. It’s possibly one of the most poetic places on the planet. I think I’m turning into a poet myself. A local suggested we go punting on the Avon River. I never ever thought I’d be telling someone that, ‘hey on Monday I’m going on a trip in a hot air balloon and on Tuesday I’m going punting and on Wednesday maybe I’ll go sky diving!’ Hilarious, but true…I’m doing it all man!”

Christchurch – Canterbury

Anil and Rishi seem to be having the time of their lives in NZ. They’ve been having too much fun and I feel like joining them right this minute! In fact, I’m giving it some serious thought. They didn’t check out Fox Glacier because Rishi caught a chill and was down and out for two days. But even staying cloistered indoors wasn’t too boring for the boys. They went through their last bottle of Sauvignon and even got an aroma therapy done.

Anil and Rishi have now moved due south to Christchurch. I got a long sms from Anil romanticizing about the place. I’m sure he copied it from one of the travel brochures, but I must write it down here, it’s quite amusing.

‘From the silvery beaches of the coast to the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps, the Canterbury landscape is impossible to ignore. The scenery stretches for miles to include panoramas of ocean or mountains, great sweeps of pastureland and massive amounts of sky.’ Massive amounts of sky!?? Clearly!

Anil & Rishi are staying at the Matariki Bed and Breakfast for NZ $ 110 a night. The breakfast’ supposed to be quite nice. But that’s it from the kiwis for now.

Franz Josef Glacier

“Hey guess what? Rishi and I just checked out the Franz Josef Glacier here in West Coast. The Franz Josef or Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere is a 12 km long glacier located in Westland National Park on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The Glacier is a huge tourist attraction here. We booked a helicopter from a local airline which dropped us off just before the first ice fall [frozen waterfall]. The glacier’s are beyond beautiful. We walked through ice tunnels and skated across these ice floors with water flowing beneath!”

“We travelled with Franz Josef Glacier Guides, an internationally recognized guiding operation. They lead novice and experienced clients through glacier terrain. Rishi and myself went on the full day glacier expedition, which included a heli-hike and we also got to do a little ice-climbing as well.”

“The all day expedition took us deep in the heart of the glacier with the help of experienced guides. We spent around 6 hours on the ice – squeezing through tight crevasses and sliding through ice caves! It’s simply wonderful! We began with a scenic flight, where we landed high up on the glacier and spent a couple of hours just marvelling at the blue ice formations. This is a really a fantastic side of NZ that we just discovered and hope to see Fox Glacier as well!”

West Coast

“The Grape ride turned out to be a whole lot of fun. We didn’t end up volunteering but we got a close look at the action at Blenheim. I was dying to get on to one of those bikes. If there ever were a cycle haven, then that haven is right here in NZ!”

“We’ve moved south to a place called West Coast now. The place seems to be filled with backpackers, which is a good thing because it can only mean that West Coast is an activity filled place. In fact, we decided to check in to one of the backpacker lodges here in West Coast. There are around 23 of them in this place. We’re staying at the Royal BBH Backpackers Hostel for NZ $20 a night! Cool, huh? The lodge is about 25 minutes from Franz Josef, a small town here in West Coast. Rishi’s going out to check out what’s hot in Franz Josef, while I sit up here and write. I hope you’re saving my mails dude because it’s my only journal and I know I’m not a very engaging writer, but try and be a little sympathetic, OK?”

“I’m off to sleep now. I want to get as much rest as I can before we step out to greet the living here in West Coast. First impressions – we’re going to definitely like this place just as much as we did the last.”

P.S. Rishi’s brought with him a couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, so it’s going to be quite a party for the next three days. Cheerio!

The Grape Ride, Marlborough

“We’ve been planning on checking out the Grape ride. Have you heard of it? It’s an event scheduled for the 12th of April here in Marlborough. The Forrest Estate Grape ride is the South Island’s biggest cycling event. The guys have international riders as well. The Grape ride takes place every year in April and is the biggest cycling event of the South Island.”

“The Marlborough Grape Ride traverses a 101km circuit through NZ’s stunning scenery. From the Forrest Estate Winery stone wall which is located in the capital of the New Zealand wine industry, Renwick, it’s a flat route to Blenheim. Riders then head north and gently climb into Picton with an exhilarating descent into the centre of the town. Climbing out of Picton, the route follows the picturesque Queen Charlotte Drive around the head of Queen Charlotte and Pelorus Sounds, literally a ride through nature’s photo album. The stunning scenery of Ngakuta and Momorangi Bays passes as the ride winds and twists to The Grove. The ride finally culminates at Renwick. Off the bike and you’re in the grapes with our celebrity guests, treading grapes for processing into an exclusive Forrest Estate vintage for next year’s event! Sounds cool, huh? Rishi plans on volunteering. I think it sounds like a good idea. We won’t get to cycle, but we’ll get to be in the thick of the action in some way, I think. Marlborough’s a lot of fun!”