A Travellerspoint blog

Goodbye New Zealand :(

Loved it!!!

Good bye New Zealand :(
Can you believe my first month is up already and what an incredible month I have had :) I have loved every minute of NZ, the nearly daily early morning bus trips (well sort of loved), the incredible people I have met, the crazy things I have done and of course seeing my beloved Tash Tash and meeting Gav. I've had so many high points I can barely decide which would be my favourite, what an amazing life changing trip I have had! Lucky lady indeed!
My last few days in Nz, 6 days were spent in Auckland and 3 days spent in the bay of islands. Auckland was chilled and involved alot of sunbathing and sleeping. Auckland is nice, it's a busy city but to be honest there is not alot to do here when you are at the end if your budget :( (which I had already slightly overspent). It had lots of shops and a few skyscrapers, it's unique that it's a busy city one way you look then you look the other way and it's a busy dock with the beautiful sea :) with lots of ferries, boats and yachts. You could get ferries or buses to local beaches but again this cost money so we decided to spend our time sunbathing in the Albert park, which is beautiful and very busy. The weather had been amazing and soooo hot since we have been here so was great for topping up tan. Auckland sky tower is pretty awesome but again you have you have to pay to get walk up it, so I just took a picture, the same with Auckland harbour bridge. You could bungy off both too but I can safely say I've had my stint of bungying! lolz :) On 2nd day it was a public bank holiday Monday in Auckland, so it was so busy and had lots of live music and festivities going on, immense atmosphere. Think it was Auckland day. I had met up with my friends from the bus again and our friend we travelled South Island with met us on our 3rd day for her last night in Nz so we had to go for farewell drinks :) to say hello again catch up and then goodbye. The following few days were much of the same, chilling, walking, drinking, dancing and enjoying the sunshine ready for my weekend in bay of islands :)
When we got to Bay of Islands the cloud had been getting more and more overcast, the bus driver said it had been having a bit of a drought and it hasn't rained in 5 weeks! Well we changed all that, it was raining from start to finish for the whole 3 days, with a few periods of spitting :( Fortunately the hostel was awesome, it had a swimming pool (more of a pond then an actual swimming pool) and a hot tub (which was actually lovely and warm). The room was more like a chalet and we had two bedrooms of 4 beds, a small kitchen and an en suite bathroom (that's luxury). When we arrived, I went for a walk with a girl from my room, the place we were staying was called Paihia, it was a lovely costal town, just a shame we couldn't see it in sunshine. It is rumoured to be called Paihia - because a Reverend visited and only knowing a few words of Maori said 'pai here' 'pai' meaning good, therefore saying good here. The first afternoon was spent in hot tub and then the whole bus (mainly people starting there journey) went to the hostel BBQ and watched the live band, it was really good! The 2nd day I booked a day trip to Cape Reinga, it was another very early morning 7.15am, probably should have gone to bed earlier or had less wine the night before as it was a struggle to get up. The bus driver was maori and told us amazing stories, facts and legends en route to different destinations. The first stop was to hug a tree as apparently it revitalises you (I needed that) at Manginangina Kauri forest walk, some of the Kauri trees were over 1000 years old. I have the token snap of me hugging a tree :) We then drove further north and took a drive on a beach (yes you are allowed to do that and its a public highway in Nz but I wouldnt fancy getting stuck in the sand or caught by a giant wave). It's called 90 mile beach, although we were told it wasn't actually 90 miles long, about 55 miles but apparently when it was first seen at sea they guessed it was 90 miles long. It was still quite a miserable day but the waves looked fantastic, really giant and occasionally would crash on side of the bus. We drove the length of the beach then went to find some massive natural sand dunes to partake in a bit of sandboarding. It was so much fun, you literally slide down the sand dune on a body board :) The walk up the sand dune was tough as the driver picked one of the biggest, and he gave you a quick lesson on how to lay on board and where to hold and pushed you down! Wayyyyyyheyyyyy, although I fell off at the bottom as crashed into a hole.... Haha! My board kept sliding and I tumbled down after it! Made the mistake of screaming and then got a mouth full of sand, which you literally got everywhere else too! You use your toes as breaks or to slow you down and it literally took my toe nail varnish off! Following that we drove to Tapotupota bay, a lovely little beach, to swim in the sea (I paddled) and to wash off the sand (I used the spring shower). The sun had then came out and it was quite bright although with a breeze! Beautiful :) We then headed to Cape Reinga or as the natives refer to it as Te Rerenga Wairua. This is a very spiritual places for the Maori people as they believe that this is the departure point for the spirits to return to there homeland- Hawiki. It's also the most assessable point north of Nz and is where the Tasman sea meets the Pacific Ocean. This is symbolised by the famous Cape Reinga lighthouse, you can literally see the two different colours of the different sea's. It's so beautiful, we could also see the bay we were then sitting on, very surreal. The walk down is lovely and it continually has plaques explaining the beliefs, cultures and different view points of Cape Reinga. There is also a symbolic hill which is named Atua Peruperu, it is believed you can hear the sounds of the spirits passing through on there spiritual pathway, so I climbed the hill thinking and remembering a few people. It's a very mystical place and although it had brightened up, it still had a misty cloud covering Cape Reigna. It's one of the most beautiful places I've seen! The drive home from Cape Reinga was quite long so we stopped twice, once a wood carving store, the things they could carve out of wood was brilliant, then we stopped for Nz famous fish and chips, but got to be honest not a patch on English chip shop chips, the fish was nice but I know where my loyalties lie! That night I showered, removed all the remaining sand, repainted my toe nails and fell asleep about half 8..... Got to be honest, travelling is tiring ;)
My final day at the bay of islands was basically hanging around. The weather was still miserable, had a walk around and took a few pics but they don't look great! Now in Auckland, all packed ready to leave tomorrow! I'm so excited to be in Oz..... Chapter 2 begins!
Lots of love,
Cook xxxxxxxxxx

Posted by Renae84 23:07 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

My lovely week in smelly Rotorua :)

Step sisters reunite :)

Hi folks,
It's true Rotorua has a certain smell to it, to be honest I thought it would hit me as soon as I got off the bus but I could smell it slightly but it wasn't pungent. Following meeting Tasha, we met my friends and went for a wander round the lake, in search for these hot pools. As you got nearer the lake the smell got more offensive, it had an eggy undertone but it's an unusual smell put it that way :-/ once we got to the hot pools you could literally hear them bubbling and see the steam rise from them. It was thick muddy water, you couldn't put your feet in them as it was too hot, but don't think anyone would desire too. The offensive smell is due to the sulphar dioxide gas created by the geothermal activity. We took the token tourist pictures of the pools, until we could handle the smell no more, haha :) The lake itself I found quite creepy, due to the heat of the pools (I guess) it was surrounding by what look like dead trees and had little muddy island in the lake that were covered in birds and there were lots of geese that kept honking.... for those who know me well that alone freaked me out! We then explored more of the city, the museum is a beautiful building, much reminded me of a building you would find in somewhere like Prague, it's set in beautiful gardens, very picturesque :) The following day we went just outside of Rotorua in search for hot pools you could sit it, Gav (Tash's fella) fortunately can drive so drove us girls to the lesser known hidden hot pools, they were in the middle of a forest, down a beaten track. The weather again was boiling and the water temperature was hot, bath hot again! It had a tiny mini waterfall and was lovely to bathe in, we went around 11am and only stayed till 1pm as it was sweltering heat, you would lay in sun to dry off and you were sweating in minutes, but you couldn't cool off in lake as it was just as hot, fortunately we were surrounded by trees and could seek out shade. That afternoon me and my two English friends, went white water rafting on river Kaituna. It was so much fun! They go through safety procedures to start with, which made you really nervous (esp as I'm not the best swimmer and they told us the river had eels the size of your legs, so I was worried about falling out) but once in the rapids it was brilliant! I laughed a lot. We had to go down waterfalls, the tallest being 7ft tall and is highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world! It was so scary and I nearly fell out but fortunately hung on, the photos are hilarious as you can see me almost popping out of raft on way down :) The guide also made us do little games and we all ended up heads under waterfalls etc, but no one fell out, how I'm not sure. We were the last boat of the afternoon so it was just our raft on river which gave us an advantage as the river was ours :) That evening Tash and Gav made us all a BBQ and we chilled, chatted and drank! Lovely day :) My third day here, Tash and I became proper tourists, in the morning we went to Rotorua museum (mentioned the building previously) it's in the gorgeous Bath House, which is set in the beautiful government gardens. Previously this building was a famous spa, the left side of the building had honoured this and you could visit the different therapy rooms and which had the different baths etc in them (what was left of them). The right side of the museum was dedicated to maori culture and had old wooden carvings etc, so interesting and made you appreciate kiwi culture. The museum also allowed you go to basement and view old original pipes and secret rooms of spa, had very low ceilings, poor Tash had to duck, I was fine (short arse) and allowed you to go to the rooftop which gave you fantastic views of Rotorua. That afternoon we all went to Paradise Valley Spings, which is a wildlife park and trout spring. When we arrived they were feeding the lions so I got some great pictures of the lions, 3 females and 1 male, later in the day they were sleeping so this was brilliant time to arrive and see them active. We then went to pat the lion cubs, unfortunately because they were older we had to do it through a metal fence, when they are smaller you get to go in the enclosure with them, but least I can say I patted a lion cub, although Tash's dogs pippy and mutley are cuter :) We then explored the park, you got to feed the animals and I even at a distance chucked food at the ducks but not the goose or turkey that would be me pushing my limits too far. Strangely there was only one sheep in the park as its one of NZ famous animal this surprised me and I thought he was a goat as he had been shaven ... Whoops :) My fourth day in Rotorua was spent on the beach of Mount Maunganui, I lapped up the glorious sunshine, it had a breeze though which cooled you down so lets say I had pinky patches in places that weren't used to the sun by time I got home :) It had massive waves and lots of people were trying to surf, I went in sea once but the waves were so powerful I gave up, Tash and Gav where much braver and swam in it, I observed from my spot on beach. That night the sea breeze had done us and we all chilled. My fifth day was spent having more fun. We took the puppies for a walk round the hamurana spring reserve, which is a river walk in a forest which leads you to a gorgeous spring. The water of the river was so crystal blue and you could drop coins into the spring and make a wish (which of course I did). The dogs loved it, although were very much tired after the 20/25 minute walk (so was Tash ...haha). Then in the afternoon we did a skyline luge down Mount Ngongotaha. You go up the mountain in a gondola, which when at the top had amazing views of the whole of Rotorua, then if you wished you could luge down 3 different purpose built gravity tracks. The luge cart is a 3 wheeled cart and you pull the handles to control it, you go round bends and up and down hills, quite scary on first go when you are not used to the cart but after that you get used to it and gain confidence :) soooo much fun and a great adrenalin rush. You return for your next go by chair lift, we had four go as like the workers tshirts say you can't just do it once :) My sixth and final day was spent chilling in the morning, packing and ensuring I was set and ready to get bus in morning as we went to Okere Falls festival that night to watch live bands, it was run by a German family so we had lots of German beer too :) haven't a clue who bands were but was a good way to end the week. Although ended up going clubbing in Rotorua after the gig so let's just say I defo had felt better this morn. Now in Auckland with my friends again :)
Hope all is well,
Cook xxxxxx

Posted by Renae84 00:57 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

And the loving continues

Yeah boi!!!

Hello,
Well Queenstown was are party town and gave us a much needed opportunity to have a lay in! Because we have been moving each day, we have had early starts most mornings. I don't mind too much but it is nice not to wake with an alarm. Queenstown had a nice selection of shops, restaurants and bars. The next few days were spent exploring and sunbathing. It had lovely parks you could lay in a bask in sunshine, near the lakes and of course with mountain backdrop. You could get a cablecar up to top of the mountain (which cost money and I had spent alot on canyon swing) or hike up it which took 6 hrs there and back. I had a few friends which did both when we were at our canyon swing, they said you had lovely views of Queenstown. The 2nd night we went on a pub crawl would have been rude not to plus a little well done for doing canyon swing. 5 shots in 5 bars for 15 dollars (bargain) the final bar had a live band, they were awesome. The last day in Queenstown (after an epic lay in) we went to the bead shop and made our own bracelets, it's my little bit of New Zealand to take home :) I made mine with paua shell, as it's nz famous shell. We also had to sample a fergburger, a famous burger shop in Queenstown....the shop is always packed. Was well worth the wait, although we had to go to park to eat it. The burgers were massive, my friend had the biggest one and was literally the size of my head. That night we just lazed in TV and packed.... Ready for our 8 o'clock start to drive to Christchurch! Yawn. We didn't arrive in Christchurch till 4ish, so was just a walk to supermarket then an uneventful evening as had a 7 o'clock start. We stopped at a few beauty spots along the way, Lake Tekapo a beautiful turquoise coloured lake and Lake Pukaki which had the a different view of Mount Cook and Lake Dunstan. The next day we arrived in Kaikoura about midday but it was chucking it down so again the activities, dolphin swimming and whale watching were cancelled. So we again just watched movies, because I had been to both these places before I did not mind, I was just eager to get to the north island, which would be the following day :) The journey to north island involved travelling on a ferry for 3 hrs, note to self for future do not fall asleep on ferry as it makes you feel sick. It was so choppy. It took till teatime to get to Wellington so it was a long day, Wellington looked nice but it was whistlestop tour, as we were leaving in the morning at 8. So had a 5 dollar dominoes (12 inch- so that's like 2 pound 50) and just went out to dance the night away! In retrospect I do wish I stayed an extra night to explore the capital. We then drove to Taupo arriving at 2ish. We saw the famous mount doom (from lord of the rings), mount tongario which is an active volcano although its safe to visit as there is a hike you can do up it. When we arrived in Taupo we decided to walk straight away to the hot spa stream, it was really hot day so perfect weather to explore and finally get my bikini on. The stream was in a park and the temperature of the water was literally as hot a bath, it was delightful although you had to keep moving as it was soooooooo hot. Its heat is due to volcanic thermal activity, it is quite weird as you could move a few steps away from the heated water and it was freezing cold water. We lazed in sunshine after to dry, it's a lovely heat and not at all humid, I'm enjoying the north island sunshine :) well I did it I gave in and did a Bungy, I was so more scared then I was with canyon swing but again it's the actually falling off the platform. But it was amazing, scary but an amazing feeling! I opted for the being dunked in the lake (if your gonna do it do it properly). The views from the Bungy were phenomenal. The lake looked absolutely stunning, breathtaking! Although did not pay much attention when I was on platform as I don't think I would have done it :) you had to literally lean forward, such a liberating feeling, when you fall into water you had to put your chin on chest and put your hands into a dive position. I was concentrating on that so much I kind of forgot I was falling haha :) you spring up quite high but it doesn't feel like you do but I saw it on the video (which again I purchased) :) not sure if I would do it again but so glad I chose to do it in this beautiful place. Taupo is my 2nd favourite place now in New Zealand behind Queenstown of course :) I'm writing the end of this blog laying in the sunshine by the lake, which is the largest lake in NZ. Heaven!!! Off to see Tash tomorrow in stinky Roturua ..... Can't wait :)
Update soon,
Cook xxxxxxx
P.s Happy birthday Ethan .... Love u buddy xxxxx

Posted by Renae84 21:05 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Even more so loving it :)

Having a blast!!

Kia ora!
Franz Josef is beautiful but the weather is as temperamental as blooming England. The first day and night here, it absolutely chucked it down, cold rain too.... Not hot rain. (I even had to put a jumper on in middle of the night as i was sooooo cold!) And the glacier had a layer of cloud coving it pretty much 99% of the time. One of the locals said the weather is always like this because it rains so much the moisture on ground rises and makes the cloud. Well the heli hike was postponed first thing as cloud was to low, it got rearranged to midday but unfortunately got cancelled again because of the cloud. We got all in the kit first time round so was really gutted. They could rebook us for tomorrow but our bus left at 7.30am so we couldn't do it, as there wasn't another bus until a week sat! :( contemplated the hike up to bottom of glacier but that was a four hour walk so opted for a helicopter ride around the glacier, it was only about 10 minutes long but the views were amazing, lots of waterfalls and obviously the glacier was well indescribable, I wouldn't be able to do it justice. I even saw some sort of goat near the bottom of glacier.... Brave animal :) the view of the town (which is literally one street) was really lovely too on our return. Least I got to ride in a helicopter, a first for me :) so I was happy. We decided to hit the hot tub on our return, it can fit up to 20 people, but wasn't that great if honest, not like my friends Denise's at home :P It was a tequila party that night in bar, but with such a early start and the FACT I hate tequila I didn't partake, well I might have had few cheeky beerskis, be rude not too :) well had an early start but fire alarm went off at 6ish so we were all up, false alarm though. Had a nice bus journey to Wanaka, we stopped at a few beauty spots on the way- Lake Matheson, you could walk round it and see Aoraki/mount cook (tallest mountain in nz.... And obvs my family mountain :) haha) and other peaks! I walked half way round then came back for breakfast but few guys did whole thing, said the lake was amazing! Like a mirror. We also stopped at Lake Hawea, which was soooo blue and again with a mountain backdrop.... This place is beautiful :) Wanaka was a really pretty little place, was quite sunny on our arrival so went to the seafront, was very windy but decided to climb the trees which were in the sea, I was very confident and first one up then tried to move higher and froze as thought I was gonna fall off into sea, so girls had to step over me, I eventually got up the tree but with some weird bum shuffling moves :) had a quiet night, just watched movies. Thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with sleep but had a massive thunder and lightening storm at 5am!! it lasted ages! gutted. Went to puzzle world in morning, it was optical illusion rooms then a wooden maze! It was amazing so trippy, one of the rooms proper messed my head up, it was on the wonk but water and pool balls were heading the opposite direction! Haha :) good morning indeed! Then onwards to Queenstown ;) Queenstown is amazing, it's really pretty city, so full of life and buzzing with people. When we first got here we stopped for a group photo, we all piled on top of each other, felt so sorry for the boys on the bottom as there was about 48 people haha. Then we checked in and went for a little walk around. Then we got ready to party, actually had a full face of make up on and straightened my hair! Won't bore you with the details of the night but safely say I drank, danced, laughed and sang the night away :) well today I have done the best thing I've ever done in my life!!! I did the canyon swing, not once but twice! It's the worlds highest cliff jump and it's amazing! I have photos and videos as just had to get them! The first jump, I did forward and I just ran and jumped! Had to proper psych myself up the guys proper wind you up to and tease you! And sorry mum I swore alot, the guys even commented on it, but there fault for teasing me! Then second jump was called the elvis cutdown, where the hang you and you lay flat and put you head backwards, absolutely amazing! You don't have control of when they cut you down either and I was chatting away about being a nurse and the bastards cut my rope whilst I mid conversation. My friend did it in the chair, your sat facing backwards in a garden chair and the tip you over the edge and they teased her three times leaning her over then pulling her back! Hilarious! The actual place it is done is a beautiful creek! When you are falling you the views are amazing! :) I survived two jumps but silly girl that I am bloody tripped up the wooden steps as I was walking back up, fell flat on my face, cut my knee, shin and toe..... Only me!
Write soon,
Cook xxxxxxxx

Posted by Renae84 19:28 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

Still loving it :)

Awesomeness :)

Hello, when we reached are next destination of kaiteriteri the sun was shining and it's was about 5.30 pm. it is a beautiful beachtown, the hostel was a stone throw away from the beach, so we checked in and went straight to sunbathe, you could do kayaking or a walking trip but neither interested me so was a good excuse to change the pink bits to brown and actually change the colour of my white bits. This is probably the most amount of people I have seen in one place but this is known to be a kiwi holiday makers haven. Following tea, we went for a few drinks, in the hostel bar, there was a live singer and girls he looked like Jacob black .... Yum! Was too scared to get a picture though, and he sang Ed Sheeran.... Boom. Bar closed at 11 was a little disappointed but I'm up bright and early and sunbathing again before we depart for Westport at lunchtime :) The scenery again on the way to Westport is beautiful, lots of hills but they are massive so you would assume they are mountains but I have been told they are not mountains unless they are snowcapped. I have also seen lots of sheep... No shocker there! Westport itself was very quiet, I think kaiteriteri was the most people I've seen in one place. Hostel was amazing :) in the evening we drove to the beach for a BBQ and bonfire, hash browns on the barbie are a winner :) pretty much whole bus came so was a good opportunities to talk and have a few beers with different people... Good times! En route to next destination we stopped a couple times to go on walks, very windy today though, the sea walk was lovely as the waves were crashing but my hair was going everywhere in pictures.... hilarious :) we also stopped to see the pancake rocks and blow holes, but none of the blow holes blew.... gutted but apparently its really noisy so maybe that was a good thing. The pancake ricks are called pancakes as they look like stacks of pancakes apparently .... strange grey massive pancakes. Next stop was at a lake but it was also a the stop for the fancy dress party..... a 'P' themed party, bus driver gave us an opportunity to stop off to get an outfit.... I went for pretty punk :) whoop! Before the party the owner of the pub made us all a steak dinner.... Omg amazing steak it was massive.... Had a def food baby after that :) the party was immense and drank a wee bit lets say ;) now at franz josef, it's raining folks but not exactly feeling 100% today so good excuse to laze around. Hostel is a rainforest retreat, it's lovely :) booked to do a heli hike up a glacier tomorrow, can't wait to go in helicopter .... Just hope weather gets better if not it'll get cancelled.... Keep your fingers crossed for me guys. And horse riding in the afternoon oh and I forgot to mention this place is a spa as well .... Bonus :)
Lots of loving,
Cook xxxxx
Ps happy birthday to Paris today... Love you as well :) xxx

Posted by Renae84 18:21 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

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