In my usual fashion i am being a bit lame with my blog so i though a few words about each place would be better than nothing so here goes with all of my adventures so far.
My first port of call in New Zealand. First impressions...its b@*$!y freezing! A vast city with the sky tower being its main attraction. Had the opportunity to do a jump from the top but I took the granny way and went to the viewing skydeck coming down in the elevator! Met up with Bryn who I met in Vietnam who took me on a guided tour of surrounding Auckland. Great to know the locals!
So it begins. I've jumped on a bus that is hop on, hop off wherever i like. I am the only one to chose to stay the night in Opononi...result as I had the hostel (more like a house) to myself! A beautiful spot (when the sun comes out!) Got to see one of the biggest Kauri trees in NZ in the Waipoua Forest and enjoyed some lovely coastal walks.
Paihia - Bay of Islands
A beautiful part of the world where I visited another one of the islands - Russell and went to the Waitangi treaty grounds where the treaty was signed in 1840. Paihia itself was one long street where i was staying meters from the beach. It had a little town which i explored by bike...nearly killing myself as it took me ages to work out to pedal backwards to work the brakes!
A day trip where i went snow boarding. This is the very top of New Zealands north island. We drove along 90 mile beach (actually 57 miles long approx) and i tried a toutou raw ( a type of shellfish we dug out of the sand!). e also visited the Ancient Kauri kingdom where we learnt more about the various ways the Kauri trees are used. We saw a few costal towns along the way which were quaint.
After we had travelled to the not so interesting Thames we went onto the Coromandel Peninsula. Ok so I didn't look so hot standing on the beach in my rainmac and trousers soaked through by the rain rolled up to my armpits! I was on hot water beach where you should be able to dig your own hot pool...we couldn't find any hot water thats for sure. If we hadn't been a gluten for punishment already, myself and only fellow magic bus traveller were stupid enough to do the hour round walk to Cathedral cove..a spot of scenic beauty. It would have looked so much better in the sun!! Stayed in a great hostel when we reached Whitianga, warm & cosy but we did venture out to a bar for a great burger, chips and beer meal for $6!
This place consisted of literally one street..so I accomplished everything I could..I went Black Water Rafting in the Caves, went to the Shearing shed where they house 350 Angora rabbits and shear 2 each day for tourists to gawp at! Looks cruel but were were assured that they are totally relaxed and not at all in pain- they are used to it as they undergo this process every 3 months! I also visitd the museum of caves and had all my geography lessons from school come flooding back to me...landscapes and volcano formations and life cycles! V.Interseting...i even tried the cave challenge!
So the caving...Wow what an experience;one at times made me think why the hell did I pay to come down 300 metres below the surface, crawl through literally freezing water in cave tunnels surrounded by cave spiders and wetas. It was amazing and seing all the glow worms was ace. We both walked and tubed through the caves, 90% of the time in total darkness. We had to free fall one waterfall and down a slide on the other...both into the icy waters below! On several ocassions our guide let off an explosion without warning which scared the hell out of us...I was not the only one screaming i can tell you!
The city that smells of sulpher, aka, rotten eggs! Oh yes it is truly wonderful! Whatever people tell you, you don't get used to it. While i was here i was both cultural and lazy. I started my day here by taking in the Rotorua museum which used to house the old baths. It includes much about the baths and the basement with all the pipes to supply the baths with the thermal hot mud etc is for all to see. Maori history aplenty and an exhibition of war wives. My afternoon was filled by relaxing at the spa baths..6 different ones varying in temperature and healing properties and cures. My evening was spent going to the Tamaki maori village experience where i watched the welcoming ceremony, haka dancing and ate a hangi meal - a meal cooked under the ground. A fantastic night and great food, however i'm unsure if the pavalova had ben created in the underground stove!
Wai-O-Tapu thermal Reserve & Huka Falls
On our way to Taupo was the thermal reserve..oh goody more lovely sulpher wafts! A great place to go as i experienced the eruption of Lady Knox gyser and got to see all the different bubling boiling mud pits and coloured hot water pools. Huka falls were awsome...enough water falls from them every 3 seconds to fill an olympic size swimming pool! Just before we reached Taupo I watched one of my fellow travellers do a bungy jump. Not much to do in Taupo...consists of three main streets, people come here to do the crazy extreme sports. Oh it does have the biggest lake in NZ...it is the size of Singapore!