Well hello there.
I write this from Christchurch youth hostel after a 2:00 am ferry and a 5 hour drive and just three hours sleep after to recarge my batteries. The first bed with facilities such as electric, showers, toilets a laundry room and a kitchen. Something we have managed to either have to find on the way in our campervan when and where we could or simply do with out. It was a sad moment today saying bye to Ronnie the road runner. But we have wemcomed with open arms our new friend Nigel the nissan. Yes thats right we now have a car for 15 days to do the south island. At first when i sat in this it felt so strange being so close to the ground but think its going to be nice knowing that where we stay will always have toilets and showers bliss!
On the other hand i have had an absoltutely amazing time driving round the north island in the camper its been great. I have been tired a lot at times as obvioulsy Rob cant drive so i am having to do all that myself. But still its been great and i wouldnt have changed any of it.
So after Rotorua (the smelly egg place) we headed the next morning to Waitomo caves. On the way there we were rather unfortunate and got caught in a giant hailstone storm, i have recorded the noise from inside the camper as we pulled up as the road conditions were too bad to drive in. Whilst at the side of the road we noticed our precious Ronnie had leaked from the back and all our bedding, matresses and most of Robs clothes were wet through (mine were saved by the duvet) After realising that this was due to the back curtains being trapped in the back door we rang our man randall rather annoyed, tired, cold and wet. He said he would reimburse us the cost of staying somewhere after telling him we could not sleep on a soggy bed and we managed to find a lovely YHA hostel in Waitomo were we treated ourselves to Fish and Chips after our traumatic experiance.
The next day we headed to the beauty that is Waitomo caves. We first headed in the Glowworm cave where you take a silent boat journey down a dark river in the cave where if you look above it looks like the night sky with the glowworms above. Unfortunetely i have no pictures as they were not allowed as if you shine light on them they stop glowing. Apparently the reason they grow is to attract insects and they have a drip of there own salvia hanging from the ceiling which the insects get caught up in and then they suck them up. The second cave we walked around we got to see stalagtite and mite formations but my journey down the cave was not an enjoyable one due to the fact that some french family thought it would be a wise idea to take one year old twins down a cold, dark, wet cave. Understandably they didnt enjoy it and cried aloud all the way around. This frustration on top of slight anxiety i always feel in cramped conditions made it hard for me and as soon as we emerged i was happy to have a cig and head on out. That said Waitomo is amazing and well worth a visit.
After this we headed to New Plymouth a nice little towm on the west coast. We got told at the supermarket by some crazy looking women that there was a festival of light on at the park so thought we would take up the opportunity while here to check it out. I am not sure if festival would be the way to describe it and it definately wasnt my idea of a rave as we stood amogst the grey haired elderly and enjoyed some irish singing and highland dancing, when i was told to move by a lady that looked like a man we then took the opportunity to walk the park and check out the lights. This admittedly was pretty impressive, i have lots of pictures but it really was a pretty place with different coloured lights amongst the trees, flowers, and by the lake. We checked out the Crap art Gallery in the morning and another Musuem about Mauri culture (bit bored of that now) and headed to The tangario crossing.
The national park area surrounding the walls around the tongariro area is stunning and as we made our way to a spot to sleep for the night we drove through rainbows sframing the mountain. It was beautifull.
In the morning we awoke to a hot day and decided to get our walking gear on and scale the crossing. Unfortuntely when we got to the info centre we had misssed the shuttle bus to the crossing and as its a one way walk that is 8 hours and you dont finish where you start we were advised to scale the top of the crossing where the Emerald lakes were and walk back again (basically the hard bit anyway) It was by far one of the best things we have done in New zealand, on the way up while your choking for breath and sweating you start to get pissed off with ppl coming down saying its not long now or its worth it when you get to the top. They were always wrong about the not long now but the second part is admittedly true. Its stunning. I did struggle this walk in my trainers as those of you who know me well know i have a dodgy ankle but managed to get a support at the $2 dollar shop and managed it ok. I would have liked to Scale the peak of the volcano but at the top it was merely too dangerous to walk if you didnt have boots. This i found out whilst falling when telling Rob about the amount of times i have fallen down mountains he thought it was quite amuzing. Anyways after scaling the crossing and being a bit sore after a quick pint (for reward purposes only) We set off to Wanganui. A place on the way back we thought looked nice enough to stop for the night by the river and in the morning set back off to Wellington.
Wellington looked so different at the weekend on a hot day. There were so many people on the small beach. I love it here though and decided it would be a coool place to live. I also saw my dream house overlooking the sea which made me think if it could be possible for me to retire to somewhere so laidback and pretty and so close to the great outdoors. And very simular to the uk.
We are now back in Christchurch after getting the cheapest ferry back (the 2:00am one) and have the south Island to tackle and if its as good as the north which i am told it is we will have an amazing time. I do love it here. Its been my favorite place so far. Even with the extremes of weather and the long winding roads that call thereselves main roads through the mountains i just know that its perfect and in parts untouched. I hope it stays this way. The Kiwis respect there land and i think we could learn a lesson or two from them on how to make the most out it whilst still having a thrieving toursit drive.
Anyway. I need some food a shower, to wash my clothes and charge what ever needs charging so ill be off for now but ill be intouch again with updates from the south.
Take care of yourselves and each other.
x x x x