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Old 04-06-2012, 08:11 PM   #76
Lovin' it Strom OP
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When we got to Mt. Cook, we discovered there were tours of a glacial lake with ice bergs....I can't pass up this opportunity

We boarded a bus that looked worthy of some serious back roads


The lake


Bergs!






16,000 year old ice...how cool is that






We even got to touch it...


Our mountain view as the light started to go away.


Time to head back to Tekapo.




Skittles says, "Howdy."
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:35 PM   #77
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We went back to Tekapo and stopped at the hot springs.



I am sure you don't want to see either of us in a swimsuit so we'll spare you those pics.

After fully relaxing, we enjoyed some lasagna at a local restaurant, the only one open late.


Beddy bye time.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:45 PM   #78
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Birds (No I can't remember what kind)









I believe the Kiwis call those birds "shags." Elsewhere in the world, they're called cormorants.

Keep it coming! So much great stuff to see and ride and eat down there!
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:55 PM   #79
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Day 13 - departure

We got up early and enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel. I discovered the Asian visitors had no sense of personal space at all. It seemed natural to them to press right up against you in line and to shove their way through the line. Some guy snuggled right up to me in line and I asked him to back off. He stepped back and looked at me like I broke his heart. I explained the concept that he wasn't boarding a subway in Tokyo, that there was plenty of space around us. He shook his head that he understood and there were no hard feelings...then snuggled up beside me again. After getting breakfast with this guy attached to me I felt the need for a cigarette.

We packed our bags one last time and almost cried that our dream trip was coming to a close. There is some debate in the theological world on whether Heaven is above or here on Earth. I can say without a doubt that they would have the answer if they visit the south island of New Zealand.

I think Skittles was depressed we were leaving because from the hotel to the airport there was only one picture on the memory card.

On our way into Christchurch, we found where all the cars on the island had been all this time. We waited and weaved through traffic to get back to the bike rental place. We managed to arrive a half hour before the bike was due and found the building locked up. How odd.

I went next door and found three older gentlemen drinking tea and talking about restoring old cars.
"Hi, I am trying to return a bike next door. Have you seen them today? Are they out to lunch?"
"Does it look like I am their baby sitter?"
"Sorry, just trying to figure out where they are."
"They usually don't work weekends."
"Nuts" As I look at my paperwork to make sure I set the right dates
"You have a phone number?"
"Ya"
"Is it local?"
"I think so."
"Did ya want to use our phone?"
"Sure, that'll be helpful?"
"Why didn't you say that in the first place and not waist my fookin time? You fookin American."

He was saying it in jest, I love these people. After trying several times, I think I didn't have the "how to dial in NZ" right, a woman came down from upstairs with a binder and tried calling a couple contact numbers for us. She left messages at both numbers and I went out to wait.

Two hours went by, which meant we were no longer going to get my chance at my recent life long dream of getting to tickle a penguin and we didn't have time to go through the Antarctic center. A nice man on a BMW GS650 was riding by and spotted us sitting in the parking lot so he pulled over. We explained why we were setting up camp in the parking lot and he said he works with another bike rental and touring place (sorry whoever you are, I can't remember names), but he knew the owner of NZBike.com. Our savior called the owner, who was going to get someone to us. The guy explained that the local work crew preferred to not work on their weekends and should have given us directions to someones home to turn in the bike...which wouldn't have helped us get our baggage that was secured in the garage.

The young woman who checked us in got there in about 20 minutes and was apologetic, but again didn't seem too interested in the business end of the deal. She didn't inspect the bike for any new damage at all, but did give us a lift to the airport.

This was the last picture on the disc. A fine example of Kiwi sense of humor.


In case you couldn't figure it out, it is advertising wool.

The flight back was a little bumpy, but we still love Air New Zealand.

We'll be back.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:38 PM   #80
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Summary

NZ is well worth your vacation time. The people are laid back and easy going, but don't take unnecessary crap like Americans expect from their own retail workers.

We were pleased with everything we did and spent money on. Recommended are:
Punikaiki Tavern and Accomodations
Palms Motel in Nelson
Maruia Hot Springs Resort
Whale Watch Kaikoura
Glacier Heliventures in Franz Josef
Peppers Hotel in Lake Tekapo
NZ Earth & Sky Observatory
Mount Cook Glacier Tour
Distinction Hotel Te Anau (get the Villa)
ELM Wildlife Tours Dunedin
Scenic Hotel Dunedin City

Until they update, I was displeased with
The Godley Resort in Tekapo - Nice with lots of potential, but beds are bad and in need of a face lift
I can't remember the name, it's the first hotel on the west side of the street as you enter Franz Josef from the north with cobblestone on the front. Needs better beds and a facelift.


I can't in good faith recommend NZBike.com. It's been almost three weeks and they haven't refunded my excess deposit, which was supposed to be NZ$1000, but they took out NZ$1500. I sent an email to them four days ago and have not received a response. If anyone knows the owner, please light a fire under him. I was also charged for a phone (which never was even handed to me) and a GPS, which the bike wouldn't charge. If I don't hear from them this next week I'll start a complaint thread and email them a link.


I already miss the island and if I could figure out a way to survive there I think it would be the place to live.

Anyone know if the south island needs an experienced park ranger with white water rescue skills or maybe a retail crimes and medical fraud investigator? Skittles is an experienced Pharmacy Technician.
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:08 AM   #81
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great RR

always interesting to see what visitors think of our backyard.

While it doesnt get as much press the North Island also has stunning scenery and great biking roads - something to bear in mind if you come again.

cheers


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Old 04-07-2012, 10:48 AM   #82
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THANK YOU for posting your trip! i have come to love nz ride reports. many of your pics reminded me of my trip there back in november. i only had time to rent a bike for the day and cover 600 kms, but it was awesome! nz is truly an amazingly beautiful place with such a wide array of landscapes.

i rented my bike from south pacific motorcycles just north of christchurch. i HIGHLY recommend them. they take their time and give good introductions to the bike, themselves, and the roads. they were extremely professional and accommodating.

i second new zealand air also. probably the cleanest and most up-to-date interiors with very professional hand helpful staff.

i will go back someday...
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:27 AM   #83
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Good reading. Fuggitt, now I want to go there. You are bad for savings!
(erm... that's a perfectly normal toilet?)
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Old 04-07-2012, 02:19 PM   #84
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Good reading. Fuggitt, now I want to go there. You are bad for savings!
(erm... that's a perfectly normal toilet?)

The picture doesn't do it justice. The bowl shapes in NZ put the bottom of the bowl about 5 inches lower than the bottom of the bowl in the US. It really helps keep from having the early morning "cold shock."
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:21 PM   #85
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The picture doesn't do it justice. The bowl shapes in NZ put the bottom of the bowl about 5 inches lower than the bottom of the bowl in the US. It really helps keep from having the early morning "cold shock."
Don't forget the two button options for "half flush" or "full flush" - saves water and makes sense!
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Old 04-08-2012, 05:48 PM   #86
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Don't forget the two button options for "half flush" or "full flush" - saves water and makes sense!

LOL....

Tourism NZ really has to get its "shit" togeather when the most memorable
part of your trips are the toilets...
I have to admit when I was in the US.......I thought there was a spar pool in the barth room
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:50 AM   #87
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The captain of our boat to the glow worm caves pronounced it T'now, that's where I picked that up...though on land there was some debate about the pronunciation of several places from the "new" version to the Maori version.
Tea Are Now...
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:46 PM   #88
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Update for NZBike.com

They just credited the excess to my account. It took a little longer than expected, but it's there.

Thanks all.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:33 PM   #89
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great report and pics

I had spent a couple of weeks in AUS last year and was going to rent a motorcycle.... but found that one days rental was going to be 325 AUD for a day.... that would burn the savings in a couple of days without all the fun

So if you were able to rent at a reasonable rate from NZbikes it sounds like it would be good deal, even with the hazzle of the deposit thing.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:51 PM   #90
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I am sure you don't want to see either of us in a swimsuit so we'll spare you those pics.
Well, you're half right.
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