Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hi all, sorry it's taken so long for me to write, but I updated my blog a couple of weeks ago, then the computer crashed, so I lost it! I've only now been able to face a computer again without wanting to punch it and throw it round the room!!

So, we got back to QT and started our own Hallenstein possy:

(poor em didn't quite understand the theme!!)

and matt ended up the dunce!

Just after we got back it was Waitangi Day, a public holiday in NZ to commemorate the signing of the Waitangi treaty, which this year was celebrated with a Reggae day in QT gardens

It was a glorious day, drinking beer, sunbathing, and even managing a swim in the 6 degree Wakatipu lake:

Around the antics, we did manage to fit in a day trip to Milford Sound (a valley formed by a glacier, which is flooded by the sea - this definition is actually a fiord, but they named the area incorrectly!). Leaving behind my geography lesson for the day, we hopped in carollina and drove the 5 hour drive to Milford, down long windy roads behind stupid busses that spurt out thick black diesel fumes so u can't even admire the view, i found it a frustrating drive!! But we stopped along the way to look at some pretty mirrored lakes, and we stopped in Te Anau for a nice coffee. On the way there was a really long tunnel through the mountain which is one lane only! You can wait up to 15 for the traffic lights to change, but it was pretty cool to drive through!

We arrived at Milford and were booked onto a cruise of the sound. The weather started off a bit bad, windy and cold, but once we got out there the sun came out for us and it looked absolutely stunning!!

The driver of the boat was pretty cool and kept making jokes throughout the trip, as well as educating us of course! We got to see some seals lazing on the rocks, and he brought us really close in to the waterfalls so that we got absolutely soaked!!!

We then headed back into the car, for our 5 hour drive back to QT. We got quite far, and then I decided I should pull over and switch with james. So I turned into a lay by, unfortunately, as carollina's tires had actually no tread left (I really do mean none, not even a milimitre!) she skidded and we went sliding into a bush. It wasn't bad, I wasn't going fast, but the problem was we couldn't get her out again. We couldn't go forward coz the bush got thicker, and we couldn't go back coz the wheel jus ground further and further into the soil! We had no reception, and it was getting late, the panic was starting to set in!!! So we stuck hannah (being tall and blonde) out into the road to try and get some help. After a while a german couple in a hired campavan stopped, but they didn't have a tow rope, but luckily seeing our two cars on the side of the road, some americans in a 4x4 (trust the americans!) stopped with a tow rope, and managed to give us some juice to get her out!!! So after 30 mins at the road side, thank god, we were rescued, and heading back on our way to QT!! (sorry Andy, we thought u'd never trust us with carolina again if we told u, but that's how all the leaves got in the air filter!)

Then it was time to head on our exploration of the North Island, as time was ticking away till Andy, Hannah and Becks had to say goodbye! So we packed up Carolina again, this time with 5 people, 3 backpacks, and me & james living out of plastic bags, and left on a very slow chugging journey to Christchurch (again!).

We only stayed in christchurch one night, and headed on very early the next morning to catch our ferry to Wellington. I liked Wellington. It was the biggest city we had been to so far in NZ, and it had a great atmosphere, especially on cuba st. Our tour of the N. Island could only be very short so we couldn't stay anywhre long, but we stayed a couple of days. We drove along the bays and went to a film sight, and saw the ship they used in King Kong. Then that night we went to the highlight of Wellington, "mermaids" the strip joint. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of the girls diving for money in the fish tanks, but me and becks did get to have a go on the pole (only dancing tho, no stripping!) I think the boys were a bit freaked out about how much fun we were having!!! But after a while, they forgot we were there!!

The next day we went to the national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, which was really interesting as it had fun do it yourself aspects showing the geographical formation of NZ, and it also had lots of artefacts of Maouri culture, and history. That afternoon tho, we had to head on our way to Lake Taupo.

We arrived in Lake Taupo very late, so spent most of the next day sleeping, but we did manage to go to a kind of water park, it had an outside pool and 2 water slides, which weren't as bad as we expected! That night Han had seen this really great shisha bar, so we chilled out with some shisha and acoustic live music:

We decided the next day we would attempt the Tongariro Crossing, an 8hr treck up and along a volcanic crater. We had to be up at 5am to get the bus there, and the walk was really gruelling, particularly the "devils staircase"! But it was totally worth it coz the views were stunning:

That night as a reward for our efforts we relaxed in the hot-tub with wine, what more could you want!!

The next day (we fitted a lot in Taupo) we went on a skydive! It was James, Becky and Andy's first time, and everyone was siked (except maybe james who was regretting his choice of OJ for breakfast). But it was awesome, 12,000 FT, 45 second free fall, and this time I actually remember every second, and was able to take in the beautiful scenery and the ground coming towards me!! When the parachute opened (I breathed a sigh of relief) and convinced the guy to do some spins with me, so he did all the way down! By the time I landed I felt like I'd been on a rollercoaster, and my head was spinning!

After the mornings excitement we pretty much headed straight on to Rotarua. When we got there we decided to do Zorbing. Which is getting in a big wet hamster ball and rolling down a hill! We had heard lots about it and were very excited, but when we saw the hill, we thought it would be shit, it was barely even a hill! But we were there, so we might as well, and I'm so glad we did, it was awesome!!! Me, Becks and Han went in together and managed to last standing up for about 2 seconds, when we fell on our arses and rolled down the hill, laughing and bumping into each other all the way. The boys were a little more adventuruous, with Andy managing to elbow james in the bum!

After zorbing we went to a spa, to try the sulphur pools (oh I forgot to mention, Rotarua stinks!!! It constantly smells of rotten eggs, altho at least none of us could smell james' farts anymore!!). We relaxed in the acidic and alkaline pools, but didn't last too long coz they were about 40 degrees, so after 10 mins in the pool you started finding it hard to breathe.

After this we decided to drive to Waitomo that evening so that we could go caving in the morning (a five hour trip) so we drove out, got very lost in the dark, and didn't get there till gone midnight. Luckily the hostel still let us in, and we went straight to bed ready for some abseiling, rafting and climbing adventure. I really enjoyed the caving. We did a 30m abseil, followed by walking through beautiful caves with 1000's of glow-worms, climbing through small cracks, and then we climbed back up the wall we abseiled down, awesome!!!

We then drove back to Rotarua, coz we wanted to go to a hangi (maouri meal and cultural event). About 150 people sat in a marquee, eating normal western food (except the potatoes had been cooked in the ground in the traditional maouri way), then everyone was shewed out to a small river where the maouri men sailed past in the traditional boat and singing songs, dressed in their traditional outfits (I know what your thinking, how many times can she say traditional in one sentance, but there's more coming), I did like this part, except how many people were there, I couldn't get a good view! Then we all piled into an auditorium with a stage set up with housing as it would have been, and the girls sung traditional songs and dances, and the men did the haka. (the haka was good). They did explain a lot about the tools, and songs which was very interesting, and they made the show amusing, but overall I was disappointed, way too touristy for me!!! Is there no real maouri left? I'm yet to se a real live maouri!!

The next day we went for a wonder round the lake, and managed to stumble across a batting cage, it was awesome!!! $20 for 105 balls, so me, Andy and James all had a go! It's got me addicted tho, I really want to do it more, but I don't think there's another one in NZ, definately not in QT! So Han and becks dragged us away from the batting cage and we drove up to Aukland, the final stop in our N. Island tour (yes this is coming to an end!)

We didn't like Aukland very much, as there wasn't really a lot to do. We got there on the 19th, and slept the first few days coz we were knackered from our busy journey. Then we decided to explore Aukland, and found, nothing! Me Becks and Han found a nice market, with some nice clothes, and we managed to fit in a cinema trip. Then it was nearly my birthday, wahoo!! We went out the night before to the backpacker bar (globe bar) and met up with James uni mate sarah and her kiwi bus buddies, several tequilla's and after-shocks later, I don't remember much else, but I know dancing was involved!

So I woke up on my birthday feeling like death warmed up, and promptly went back to sleep. I did manage to stir in the afternoon, and made it as far as the park for some more rest in the sunshine! We did manage to quell the hangover tho and head out to some nice bars in the evening for cocktails and what nots, but didn't last much past midnight!!

The next day was Andy and Hannah's last, as they were heading to Fiji the next day, so we went for a night out on the town (the posher end of town, by the harbour), with a crazy, but funny french guy who thought he was ali G! I wish I had a photo of him in his headscaff and medalion!!

And after a teary goodbye we were down to 3.

The next day we went with some girls in our hostel room to "rock the park" a free concert with Evermore, Eskimo Joe and The Feelers (some really good Aussie & NZ bands!) We got a few bevvies, and sat in the sunshine listening to good music. I may not be in glasto this year, but still had my fix of live music!

The next day was not as nice a day, but we decided to go to Mission bay, the closest nice beach area to Aukland, and it was very nice. Aukland was improving on us by this point.

This was mine & James last day in Aukland as the next day we flew back down to QT for me to start my job at the Crowne Plaza. So we went for a few drinks, had dinner at mission bay, and headed back to aukland for our final goodbye down to two. We left becks in the capable hands of a kiwi-bus boy, and headed back to QT, our home for a while...