16.02.2011 - 15.03.2011 21 °C
Lying in my hotel bed wondering what's the latest I can get away with, breakfast being btwn 7 and 8.30 (how ridiculous!) and checkout a 10am...sigh. Seriously considering missing the brekky for xtra winks...
In summary - and I know I'm writing in hindsight but had too much fast fun whilst in NZ to capture my blog as is - NZ is a geogrphers delight, so of course I loved it! Here was my journey:
Auckland - first thoughts- dull, hilly n some pockets of hipness, I was staying in one of these pockets in a cool hostel that as soon as you enter feels like home. The lounge is full of ppl watching tv or using free Internet (the only place in NZ with free internet!) all easy to chat too, a good vibe. Met up with Gav (we met in Cairns) my firt night, down by the river front in a cool wine bar that had grandfather armchairs n national geographic piled up high, naturally I loved the place and proceeded to take snaps! Nice wine too...
Second day Lisa (met in Sydney and again in Melbourne) arrived n we hired a car, which we drove that day to Paihia, then the next day to Cape Reigna where we saw the lighthouse at the most northern tip where the oceans meet- beautiful sunny day, icecream excuse! Then we went sandboarding down the massive sanddunes there, so muh fun! But got sand everywhere of course. Back to Paihia followed by a boat trip around the Bay of Islands, dolphins playing alongside us n kayaking lunch opportunities :-) Whimsical skydive from 12,000ft followed that to end the day with stunning views and adrenaline! Beautiful.
Back at Auckland, farewell to Lisa hello to the Kiwi Experience bus and my driver Briggsy who I shared the next 7 days with along with the other 50 passengers! We went to Hot water beach (used someone elses hole to bathe in, lovely- initiative!), Whitianga nice town n beach, matamata for the hobbiton tour - technically can't write about it or show pics but let's just say it was fantastic for all geeks like me who love LOTRs, Rotorua which I think is overrated but I didn't see much of it as I then went to an 'authentic' Maori evening where they stick their tongues out n eyeball you - u can't laugh outloud! Then onto Waitomo to go caving- I did the Black Abyss: abseil into the caves, silliness through the caves, river tube to see gloworms, exit by climbing up 2 waterfalls, total 3 hrs underground- I LOVED it!! Then to Curleys bar which ended up with rehydration sachets all round the following morning (read between the lines parents!)...onto Taupo where we had time to ourselves to relax, we went to the river and hot springs (literally that and it's free so imagine a public bath in a river?!) then picnic by the lake (volcano holding water, v deep) and drinks that eve with the gang.
Onwards to River Valley for horseriding through the rolling countryside and a bit of cattle mustering, I loved in of course! Then a nice massage to wind down, best I've had yet! Sad to lead such a beautiful place but onto Wellington to meet up with mates from uni.
Wellington - windy and rainy, reminded me of England weather - bleurgh! Nice to stay with friends n catch up tho - n get looked after (thanks again Jim n Erica!) got to see dan too which was nice as it's been a while! Wellington to Nelson, south island via the ferry which was an uneventul journey. New bus driver (Kane it) was nice, kayaking in the Abel Tasmen national park, got to see the split apple rock n meet some fun ppl who were on my bus for the duration :-)
Another new bus with Bodz the driver to Westport = Argentinian rugby players who ended up joining in our UNO game (I tell you, it's an international ice breaker, ha ha) for a few games before we went out. Then we had a private fancydress party in Lake Mahinapua, the theme: what do u want to b when u grow up?! I went as a burglar, with my very own swag bad n crown jewels! Very funny evening. Then onward to Franz Josef where I got to do my helihike up to the highest safet point on the glacia for a 2 hr hike!! Amazing, like a geogrphy field trip, I was like a kid in a free sweet shop! "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh!" doesn't even describe it! I left the bus the next day for a new one - back to Kane it, to go to Wanaka n meet Mat from my original bus. We went to the cinema there n ate yummy icecream whilst watching the fighter (it was quite good). I left for queenstown the next day to catch up with the rest of my original bus- fun times out with them, then mat caught up then all my buses arrived so bit of a social week really! I stayed away from the bungy jumps n canyon swings, I wasn't that brave! Then me, Mat n Nat hired a car to go to Te Anu and onward to Milford Sounds, got a boat ride n explored all the way back to Queenstown. Gutted that we've all had to part but that's travelling unfortunatley. We will rendevouz again on our return to the UK.
I can see why people hire campervans to explore NZ but now I've gotten used to the bus, I'm glad I did it and I met some fab ppl from it. Now thoughts turn towards my lack of spanish and coping in south America! Hola!