A Travellerspoint blog

MY first two weeks in New Zealand

u]Hey all,

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.

Auckland

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!

Opononi

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!

Cape Reinga

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.

Whitianga

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!

Waitomo

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!

Rotorua

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!

Posted by Tina Bean 23:39 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Cairns, Cape Tribulation& Port Douglas

sunny

Another one of those places that i had heard of before i got to Oz but still had no idea what to expect. Cairns is a lovely city. So it doesn't have a lovely beach but the lagoon makes up for that. The city centre is a mangable size with some lovely cafes and one off shops. It has an ace english seaside holiday town vibe to it that i like. You would walk along the esplanade after dark and there would be the hum of people dining and the glare from souviner shops...could have been in Great Yarmouth! I visited yet another botanical garden, this one offered many pretty flowers and an Aboriginal plant area. Another thing that made cairns great was that i met some awesome people and reunited with i think 14 on my last count of people i had met along the east coast.

During my time in Cairns i took a trip to Cape Tribulation. The drive there was stunning as we drove along the ocean and saw beach after beach. We were taken to the rainforest and taught about the plants and trees. I even licked an ants butt as it tastes of citrus and also gives you an electric shock. The aborigines used them dried in cooking or would crush and snort them as a decongestant!

Stayed in Cape Trib for a couple of nights. Did some more rainforest and beach walks. Her you can admire the rare sight of two ecosystems coming together, the great barrier reef and the daintree rainforest. I also went on a sailing trip out to the barrier reef for the 2nd time to do some snorkling. It was absolutely wonderful...no wonder it is the 2nd on the list of things to do before you die. I'll do the first in New Zealand...a skydive! I saw a huge cod fish and turtle, both as big as my torso, if not bigger! The turtle let me stroke its shell and i got right up close and poped my head out of the water when it did, such a fantastic experience. There were so many types of colourful fish and coral, it was a huge underwater wonderland. I can't describe it so go on the net, write in great barrier reef and look at the fantastic sights i have seen....magical!

After 2 nights in Cape trib staying in a hut in the middle of a rainforest (yes it did rain!) I was picked up and did the rest of my tour. Went to mossman gorge, a fresh water lake and waterfalls. Did take a bit of a fall on the rocks and my camera suffered a dip but all was well. Had fun crossing the rope bridge and shaking it freaked out a few people.

I then spent a couple of nights on the way back in Port Douglas, a sleepy little holiday town with a great atomosphere to relax in. Not much to do here apart from stroll along the long parade of shops and soak up the rays on the beautiful beach and swim in the calm sea. Claire (a girl i met on the trip) and I got asked to take out Body boards to see if we could entice others to hire them...with no waves it was like trying to sell snow to the eskimos (is that a saying??)! For a town that seemed dead at 9.30pm we managed to have a good night out and stay out till gone 3am!

Returned by bus to Cairns, I remained there for 3 more nights. I stayed on the esplanade so it was great for my last place in Oz to be staying by the sea. I spent several days relaxing by the Lagoon and making the most of the few more days i had left in the sunshine.

Sad to be leaving Oz but onto another exciting country...New Zealand.

Posted by Tina Bean 23:00 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The rest of the East Coast of Australia

Sorry guys have been as lame as ever with my blog! Due to moving onto the next country...New Zealand I am just going to give you a quick rundown of all the places i have been along the East Coast.

So my last blog told you of the beaches and bars of Surfers paradise. What can i say, in a nutshell that has been the east coast.

From Surfers i travelled to Brisbane. Not a bad city, one that has graffitti type art on electricity boxes in the hope to make them more asthetically pleasing. They have a terrific southbank...similar to London's apart from you can be guarenteed sunshine and massive pleasure boats. They run a city cat along the river to transport workers but it is also a good way to see different districts that make up the city. The city centre is quite small, spread across a couple of streets. Lots of seven 11's and souviner shops mixed in with the usual Oz high st shops. Visited a lot of art galleries and the museum of Queensland. Stayed in Fortitude valley aka 'the valley' by the locals and the place to be seen out. Luckily was still travelling with Sara, Hannah, Celine and Oj so we made home in a 6 bed dorm of our own in a country style hostel with a tv and fridge.

Noosa

I fell in love with this place as soon as i got here. The lake sunset is so stunning and with a little help from Hannah's great aunt I got to see all the local areas. Midge took us over two days to all the little towns, the glasshouse mountains and several national park walks. I even found an Ely park here! One day i went Kayaking on the lake...luckily i found a fellow backpacker who is a water sports instructor, stroke of luck so i was in good hands. I did some lovely walks including the national park that covers ground along the coast line and into forest. I will definitely revisit someday.

Whilst in Noosa I visited the home of steve Irwin...well a shrine anyway... Australia Zoo! During shows throughout the day and everywhere you go he is remembered and treated like a god! Great zoo and I also spotted Terri and Bindi filming a new show for Animal Planet!

Rainbow beach

Abeach but no rainbow. Only stayed here one night and soaked up some ray on the lovely (if not windy) beach. Met a few faces from Noosa and a girl from Belgium named Kat who was a great laugh.

Hervey Bay & Fraser Island

We were let lose with a 4x4 jeep and taken on a ferry to one of the biggest sand islands in the world to start our safari adventure. Over 3 days we explored the island visiting freshwater lakes, a shipwreck ,coloured sands and fantastic view points. There was 3 groups of us and each night we came together and camped. Group 2 had a bit of an accident 20 mins from the ferry on the last day...whoops! Harvey Bay is a small town that has a beach that could rival southend! Stayed here either side of my Fraser Island trip in a waltons style home.

Agnes water/1770

Loved it here too...really small but i rode a chopper motorbike! We rode around, checking out the local wildlife & scenery. The day was rounded off by watching the sunset on the marina munching on wedges.

Captain cook discovered this place in 1770 hence the name and the town only has a permenant population of 80 people! Agnes water only 2000. The only watering hole in the area, the Tavern, shuts by 9 on a sunday so we striked some poses down on the beach drinking yet more goon!

Rockhampton

The proper australia, true blue Aussies reside here! This is the beef capital of Australia. For this reason they feel it appropriate to place large plastic cow models in random places..like on top of the Queensland government office! Went to the Botanical gardens and cooked a yummy steak dinner!

Mackay

Was planning on finding work here but after a few days decided against it. Small town with not too much to offer apart from a town beach (with lots of crabs) and Art space Mackay. I did have a room to myself which was a bonus. Like Rockhampton it was Occa Australia at its finest, superbly illustrated to me by the swollen and black eyed face of a guy who dared to snore in his sleep...a local fellow room mate decided it was keeping him awake and put an end to it by a kick him in the face! Nice!

Airlie Beach & my sailing trip on the whitsundays

You can't get better than this...well apart from the other 2 beaches that were voted nicer than Whitehaven beach. Thats right, voted 3rd best beach in the world! It was beautiful, the whole islands were. Went snorkling 3 times and walked through forest to a lookout point and the beach. Had to don a sexy stinger suit...i looked so hot! Swam with amazing fish, coral and even a turtle! Stunning underwater bliss that i can't even begin to describe...google great barrierreef and you'll get the idea! Airlie beach had one party street to offer and a man made lagoon. Muchos drinking happens here mostly to celebrate the great time you have had on your sailing trip...apart from bars it doesn't have much to offer.

Townsville

Not much to say about this little place, more of a port to get to Magnetic island. It has a nice strand area and a town that consists of one main street that one end consists of loads of food outlets, restaurants,cafes and bars!

Magnetic island

A small island in north east oz, off Townsville. I stayed at Base backpackers which was right on the beach and its great bar and decking area reminded me of Coaral bungalows in Thailand! Beautiful views but I managed to be here three days of the 25 days that the sun doesn't shine in a year! Great nature walks with pretty butterflies, birds and plants.

Mission beach

As it says on the tin....a beach, but don't get me wrong, miles of perfect palm tree lined beach. Not much else here other a bunch of mad travellers who drew on moustaches and other mexican themed doodles on their face in aid of someones 22nd birthday & i forgot to mention after copious amounts of tequilla! One of the only places in Oz that you can do a skydive and land on the beach. I was lazing on the beach one day, looked up listening to my ipod and though...mmm pretty kites then as i realised they were getting bigger and bigger they landed a few meters away from me!

My next blog tells you of my time in Cairns and the visits i made to both Cape Tribulation (only place in the world where rainforest and the great barrier reef meet) and port douglas (quaint little town).

Posted by Tina Bean 00:51 Comments (0)

Surfers Paradise

Only spent a couple of days here. This is one of the places that i had heard of the most before i started my travelling. I hate to say it but found it slightly disappointing. The beaches are nice but they are everywhere along the east coast. This place is full of skyrises and to be honest is no more than an 18-30's haven! This is the place to party. We decided we wanted some of the action so we paid $25 to go on the organised pub crawl with our hostel- surfers paradise backpacker resort. It really was like being back on your first holiday without your parents...hilarious fun watching all the kids get trashed on alcho pops!

Not much else to say about sufers paradise, just spent my time being a beach bum and soaking up the rays and took some pics of surf rescue huts and vehicles...what, it needed to be done! Have only seen one life guard in action with his red speedos...and that was to rescue two guys i was travelling with who had been taken away by a dangerous rip around the headland whilse surfing!!!

Posted by Tina Bean 19:22 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Whats that all about????

Ok so there has been a few things i have noticed while in Oz and i thought i would share them with you...i will add as i find more.

1) Lots of couples especially in cities go for a run and take their children in a stroller with them...dad is always up front pushing the child and mum is lagging behind trying to get rid of the baby weight...is this becoming a phenomenon in the UK too????

2) I keep meeting people who have decided to travel along the east coast of australia where it is beaches, beaches and more beaches and they either:
a: dislike the sea
or
b:hate sand!

AMAZING!!!

3) OUtside all Oz bars and pubs they have a statement that says if you are intoxicated and appear drunk they have the right to refuse entry. Ummm correct me if i'm wrong but aren't a good percentage of people who go to a pub planning on getting drunk and will be intoxicated!

4) OK so New Zealand is the coldest place i have been to so far and i know it is hot for half the year but for a place that gets really cold why don't homes have any central heating or double glazing...madness!

I know there are more but i can't think of them right now...will add when remember. Just wanted to share those with you for the time being.

Posted by Tina Bean 22:05 Comments (0)

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