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December 22nd, 2008 - 6:49am by Rabbit

After five months, I'm finally home in the US. It feels good to be home after that being away for that long, but I'm 100% glad that I did it. I left off at my last post, cruising around Sydney. After Sydney, I went to New Zealand and Fiji for the final week and a half of my trip.

We flew into Christchurch, which is on the southern island of New Zealand, after our time in Sydney. From Christchurch, we took a 7 day bus tour around the southern island. On the first day of the tour, we took a train from the east coast (Christchurch) to the west coast of the island. We got to see the great scenery New Zealand had to offer. After the train ride, we took a bus to a small glacier town to prepare for the next day.

The next day, we took an 8 hour hike up a glacier! We almost didn't get to go because New Zealand was having so much rain many of the streets and trails were flooded. It took about 1 hr of hiking through the forest to get to the glacier. The glacier itself was really cool. We had clamps for our boots to be sure we didn't slip along the way and even had ice picks! The hiking guide went in front and carved a path out for us to follow. He even created steps with his ice pick for us to climb up steep hills.

After the glacier, we took a bus to Queenstown, which is the adventure capital of the world. In Queens, we signed up to do whitewater rafting and skydiving. We only had one day there, so we had to do both on the same day. When we went in to go skydiving, the coordinator said that there were too many clouds and we wouldn't be able to go! I was super sad because sky diving was my #1 thing I wanted to do this trip. White-water rafting was really fun though, we went through class 3-5 rapids. Our boat was extremely good and coordinated. We led the rest of the boats. We breezed right through the rapids without trouble, while some other boats almost flipped!

After Queenstown, we headed to Milford Sound, probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It is technically called a fjord, because it is a area carved out by a glacier and filled in with the ocean (not a lake). Imagine taking a boat through the mountains with waterfalls everywhere and abundant wildlife. We saw penguins, seals, and dolphins all around. It was also very rainy when we went, which led to less sunlight, but it made all the waterfalls come out! Be sure to check out the pictures.

After all that, it was time to head back to Christchurch to leave New Zealand. Along the way we stopped at a few towns. In one of them, we saw the worlds steepest street (very exciting :-/) We also stopped in the Cadberry Chocolate Factory. I know what you're thinking, and yes it was JUST like Willy Wonka's Factory, completely with Oompa Lumpas and a chocolate river.

After New Zealand, we left to Fiji. There, we spent 5 days relaxing in the tropical sun in an all-inclusive resort. It was very nice just to wind down and not have to stick to a schedule. To make up for sky-diving in New Zealand, we went sky diving in Fiji! We jumped from 14,000 feet which is a solid 60 seconds of free-fall and 8 minutes in a parachute. I got to see many of the Fijian Islands and mountains, it was really cool. They even let me steer the parachute!

All in all, I'm 100% glad I was fortunate enough to do this trip. I have learned so much about myself and other cultures that I don't think I could forget it if I tried. Be sure to check out my pictures as they tell the story of what I've done!