Wednesday, January 31, 2007

More stuff

Still having fun. Might be a while before my next proper post but I have added a few more photos.

Currently in Wanaka near Queenstown on the south island. Spent the last week in a variety of places down the west coast. Done some more kayaking with the dutchies and did a full day (in the freezing cold rain) on Franz Josef Glacier which was very spectacular.

Weather has been good most of the time. Been trying to learn a bit of Dutch on the coach, after the glacier I know how to say 'I am cold' and 'bloody rain' in dutch, not sure how to write them though.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bit of a mental week

writing all this really quick so hopefully it make sense.

Joined a 'hop on hop off' bus tour and went to Coramandal just east of Auckland. Decided to go Kayaking before seeing the sea, turned out to be quite rough but great fun getting the kayak over the waves! Stopped at Cathederal Cove for a Cappuccino and cookies which was a nice surprise. Stayed right on the beach at what was I think a typical NZ holiday camp site, seemed a bit like old holidays to wales in the 80's.

Learned to surf at Raglan, great fun but quite windy and a strong current so probably was not the best day to learn. best thing about Raglan though is that the sea is really shallow so when it got too tiring I just walked out of the sea. Managed to stand up but it is really tricky. Will go surfing again when I get a chance. Also bumped into some people I met at Paiha so that was nice.

Went to the Waitamo caves, went underground to about 80 metres and abseiled down waterfalls and in the afternoon I did my first zorb! The paricular zorb I chose to do involved rolling down a zig zig hill in a large plastic ball with a bucket of water (wash cycle).

post zorb 'wash cycle'

Arrived in Rotorua in the evening to a smell of sulphur, I was told you get used to it after 15 minutes (but I did not).


Went to a funny Mouri Thermal village theme park thing at Rotorua, seemed kind of odd to me but saw mud pools, geysers and had a thermally heated Hot Dog and sweetcorn?!

Jumped out a plane (sorry mum) at Taopo. It was kind of a impulse decision to go sky diving but it was the clearest day ever with not a cloud in the sky and it seemed like a good thing to do at the time. To me jumping out of a plane used to sound monumentally stupid, but it is really quite amazing. Got photos and dvd (looking a twerp) of the dive.

The Dutch, the Danish and the Bloody English.
Went on a 3 day tramp (nz for bloomin long walk) with 7 others in the Tongariro national park on the 'Great Walk Northern Circuit'. Climbed Tongariro Mountain and had views over Mount Ngauruhoe (mt doon from lord of the rings). Was planning to climb Mount Ngauruhoe on the final day but decided against it as it was really windy (will go back I think). Due to diversions and photo stops walked for 10 hours the first day, 8 the second and just 3 on the final day. Interesting place as due to the volcanic landscape you see lots of different scenery, craters, lakes, steam etc. Apparently most of the water in the area is quite dangerous as is either boiling hot, contains acid or toxic heavy metals, bit nasty really but makes for an interesting place to do a hike. Stayed two nights in little huts that were well equipped with clean water, mattresses and toilets.

Had great fun and met lots of great people during the first couple of weeks in New Zealand.

View from Mount Tongariro of Ngauruhoe

Marloes, Jen, Wouter, Peter and me on top of Tongariro Mountain

Peters birthday at the hut

crater lake on the 3 day northern circuit tramp

Wellington, not done much yet!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Following might sound a bit dull but is wasn't, bit rubbish at this blog thingy.
Kiwi with a Kiwi

Blue Penguin

Travelled to Paiha (Bay of Islands) from Auckland. Visited Native Bird Sanctuary and saw Kiwi and Blue Penguins. Quite surprised how big the Kiwi was, I imagined it to be small but its really big with huge claws.
Beach at Russell

Took a ferry from Paiha to Russell on the other side of the Bay of Islands. The sea is really calm in the bay so had a swim. Also visited the location of the 'The Treaty of Waitangi', This is the place where I was told the English managed to con the Maori into signing away the rights to the land, eek.
90 mile beach
Sand dunes and sand boarding
4x4 Dune Rider bus

Took a great trip to 90 mile beach (which is 64 miles long!) in a weird 4x4 mini bus thingy and drove all the way up it and also went even further off road driving over the dunes. Stopped by the bigest dunes to go sand boarding, only managed 3 goes at it as the dunes are so huge and it takes so long to walk up them, really really good fun though!! Then carried onto Cape Reinga where you can see where the pacific ocean meets the Tasman sea with the two currents creating waves. Stopped on the way back to have the 'best fish and chips in new zealand'. On my free tour near Auckland I also had the 'best fish and chips in new zealand' (according to the driver)

Oh and before 90 mile beach we stopped off at a rain forest (it rained).

Travelled back to Auckland (in heeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaavy rain)

14th (today)
Weather good again today. Not done much, just mooched around Auckland. Going to a place called Hahei tomorrow just east of here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Auckland, New Zealand


Arrived in New Zealand!

Took public bus from the airport and was quite surpised to find the bus driver asking me where I wanted to go, so he droped me off right outside the hostel front door! Hostel is huge, has bar and a cafe (with an all you can eat continental breakfast for $5!). Just wandered around the harbour the first afternoon looking at all the huge fancy yachts.

Took a free tour yesterday of North Head and walked over the harbour bridge (looks like mini version of the sydney one), had to wear a harness which seemed a bit dramatic for what it was, good views of the city though. Also went nice little beachy place called Devonport.

Today is the first proper rainy day since leaving home, still warm though. Just wandered around Auckland and went up the sky tower.

Tomorrow i'm going to travel to a region called Northland and the Bay of Island for a few days. Sound like a nice place but I think the weather is going to be dodgy.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

last day in oz (for now)

Went to Coogie beach this morning and attempted to body surf on the huge waves, good fun but spent the first 30 minutes getting bashed around by the waves and doing forward rolls on the sea floor, good fun though! Then had my first fry up of the holiday, inch thick toast with all the usual stuff, very nice, sorry no photo this time :-)

Yesterday I walked up the 'east pilon' of the harbour bridge, oddly the pilon is on the south shore which confused me a little. Then wandered around a historic (or so all the guide say?!) area called the Rocks and visited the Sydney Observatory. Continued to take hundreds of photos in an attempt to take the perfect Opera House and Harbour bridge picture, think they need a bit of editing!

Just been busy packing my stuff as i'm off to New Zealand early tomorrow. Will have to come back to Australia. Bit annoyed I didn't take a trip to the Blue Mountains which is not far from here (it kind of looks like a mini grand canyon with trees in the photos i've seen).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Beach again


Took a ferry to a place called Manly with some others from the Hostel. Manly is kind of like an Australian version of a seaside town, not quite the same as Blackpool but I did have some nice fish and chips.

No problem getting onto the internet here, might be more difficult when i'm moving around in New Zealand though.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007



Spent ages uploading photos (see link on the right) so running out of time to write this blog. Done lots though:

Opera House
Australia native animal zoo
Harbour Bridge
Bondi beach
Darling Harbour
IMAX (bigest in the world)
Tamamara beach
Botanical Gardens
Woolloomooloo Harbour (yes, thats a real place)
New Year eve at Opera house (I travel half way round the world then spend new years eve with people from Stoke?! good fun though)

Sussed the trains (underground thingy) out and found it really easy to get round. Most people seem to be traveling alone too, so easy to get to know people.

Got a bit burnt at the beach yesterday so trying to stay in and rest today. Watched the cricket and stuff on the tv (huge plasma screen).

got to go, will try write mroe stuff next time.

Monday, January 01, 2007