My travels in the North Island of New Zealand took a while to get underway. Firstly, I wasnt that impressed with Auckland. It doesnt have the character that the other places in NZ have, and i was missing Ava and Jenna. However getting the stray bus from Auckland to the Corramandel peninsula i met my new group and they turned out to be a pretty good bunch!
Only had 10 days to do the North island as had spent so long in the south which meant that i didnt have time to get off the bus for any additional time at stops. Our driver was Geoff (aka Magpie) and there really are no words. Basically we acquired Geoff towards the end of our south island journey, he is a 54 year old trainee driver who was travelling with one of the other more experienced drivers, they decided to let him go it alone in the north and it was a pure disaster. And as i couldnt get off the bus i was stuck with him. He was a knightmare, totally wrong job for him. And the next 10 days were full of missed activities, turning up over 2hrs late for things, leaving people behind, missing boats and more! But i look back on it now and laugh!
The corramandel peninsula was the first stop on the north and it was gorgeous. We got there late afternoon and went for a walk to cathedral cove which took us all along the coastline and there were some gorgeous views. That night we went to hot water beach to watch the sun go down. This place was crazy. Approaching it you could actually see the steam coming up from the beach. We went along with a spade and a beer and dug ourselves a little pool to sit in (actually me and a couple of others poached someone elses pool and watched everyone else dig!) but you get the idea! Then we sat watching the sunset with a beer! It was boiling, so much so that you burnt your ass several times!
The next day we went to Raglan were we stayed at a lodge in the forest, chilled out there for the day as the hostel was really cool, went on a walk and then me and Karen (a girl from Zimbabwe) ended up getting a bit trollied... mid afternoon drinking, never a good idea...but fun! After Raglan we stopped at Waitamo were everyone was off to do caving. I did caving in Oz so decided to just do a short visit to see the glow worms (which the caves are famous for) as this was substantially cheaper! Went on a little boat ride in the pitch black caves and it was like the ceiling was covered in thousands of stars, but in fact they were glow worms...very cool!
Next stop Maketu... prob one of my favourite stops of New Zealand, we stayed at a Maouri Marei ... got there in the evening (albeit 2hrs late thanks to Geoff!) and ate dinner with the family. After dinner we went into the hall were they put on a show of traditional Maouri song and dance, was fantastic! After the show, the guys went in one room to learn the Haka (Maouri chant ... you would prob know as the All blacks do it before rugby) and girls learnt the poi which was spinning a ball on a rope. We then had to perform these to everyone in the group. God i sucked!! On the video that we took im constantly hitting myself in the face with the poi! Was great fun though! That night we all slept in the hall, was like a big sleepover!
The next day we passed through Rotorua... god this place stinks! Its full of geothermal activity so the smell is of sulphur but its just like rotten eggs! Guess you get used to it after a while, but wouldnt want to live there personally! ´Visited the geothermal mud pools which were fantastic, big pools of mud that erupt and spit everywhere. Me and Vicky (one of the girls off the bus) decided to do Zorbing. Were you propell yourself down a hill in a giant plastic ball. We opted for the hydro zorb which is filled with water. Oh my god, havent laughed so much in ages! Was hysterical, firstly had to launch self into the zorb like superman through a tiny hole. Then they add the water. We were at the top of the hill, then you have to stand up and start running basically until you cant stop, as the ball moves so fast you fall on your ass and just start sliding around. I was clinging on to Vicky for dear life, it was hysterical though, definitely put a smile on my face. Getting out was an experience...was like being born again, had to fit out of tiny hole an then a load of water followed you afterwards, was gross...and there was a photographer there to snap everything (needless to say i did not buy the piccies!!) After leaving Rotorua we headed to Taupo. Big night out here.... played some drinking games in the hostel and then hit the happening town of Taupo... was a good night. Got a bit tipsy just for a change, remember waking up in the middle of the night absolutely boiling only to discover i was in bed still in my full party outfit including tights and fleecy boots! haha!
Next day went with Karen to watch her skydive, was cool seeing them go up ...made me wish i was going again but couldnt afford it. Everyone went out again that night except me and Karen (old ladies!) we watched 50 first dates and ate tim tams!
And that just about concludes my New Zealand adventures kiddies, Auckland was simply a bed for the night again before heading to the airpot for Santiago de Chile... Wooop!!
South America... the next installment!!