April 3rd 2007
We’re now in New Zealand, which is good so far, but first I’ll fill you in on our last night in Cairns.
We decided to go out for a couple of drinks even though the taxi was picking us up at 4.00am to go to the airport, as it was our last night together in Australia. We met our friend Leanne in her hostel bar Gilligans where they had a deal on 5 drinks for $12 – which is where our sensible night out started to unravel! At the bar they had the smallest bungee jump in the world (only about 10ft high) so all three of us, after some encouragement from the DJ decided to do it. Laura went first and jumped straight off but somehow managed to bang her head on the rope on the way down giving her a very attractive egg-shaped bump in the middle of her forehead for the rest of the night. Next up was Leanne who breezed through her jump like a true pro. I was up last but as I was wearing a dress managed to persuade one of the bungee guys to give me his shorts to wear under it. I looked like a proper skater girl with the shorts on. I climbed up the stairs feeling pretty confident, it was only 10 feet after all. However, when I got to the top it all fell apart. I stood at the edge of the platform while the DJ counted down from 5 and I didn’t jump, I just froze. The DJ counted again and surprise, surprise I froze again. By this point I was having flash backs to my embarrassing panic attack when I had to abseil during rock climbing in Sheffield. The people in the bar thought it was hilarious that I was too scared to jump, but luckily on the fourth countdown I went for it – and landed safely. (Yes, this is the same girl who’s planning to jump out of a plane at 14,000ft next week!!)
After Gilligans we headed to the Woolshed, which is the backpacker nightclub in Cairns, and it was an absolute dive – it was a bigger, dirtier version of Lesters our little club at home. The music was good and cheesy though so we danced on the tables until 2.30am when we decided we really needed to go home. After only 1 hour sleep we woke up at 4.00am to get our taxi to the airport. I got dressed and realised that I’d totally forgotten to get my passport and plane tickets out of the hotel safe the night before. I had to get the night watchman to wake up the manager (who as you can imagine was not a happy bunny) to let me in to the safe – let’s just say I probably won’t be missed at that hostel!!
We arrived in Auckland on Wednesday afternoon nursing very sore heads to be confronted by a massive thunder storm (places just North of Auckland had 1 ½ years rain in 3 days!!) and to top it off my eye had swollen up for no apparent reason and I looked like I’d been punched – so not a great start. The next morning I woke up to find that my eye had swollen up even more so I had to go to the doctors. I feel like I’m testing out the health professionals in every country I go to! The doc said I had conjunctivitis and put me on drops and antibiotics – it’s all cleared up now though which is good.
Thursday, our first full day in Auckland was spent shopping for warm clothes – I treated myself to a pair of shoes as well – it’s been a while. That evening we went to the cinema to see a film called ‘The Descent’ which was a horror film about caving, with hindsight it probably wasn’t the best choice as we want to do a bit of caving over here. The next day we were supposed to be getting the bus up to Pahia and the Bay of Islands which are at the north of New Zealand but because of the extreme weather all the roads were closed so we had to stay in Auckland. So we decided to go up the Sky Tower which is a really tall building in the middle of Auckland – we went up to the viewing decks and watched people jumping off the building on the Sky Jump which is 192m high very scary.
On Saturday morning we got the bus up to the Bay of Islands, which took a few hours, which with a few touristy stops along the way took about 9 hours. We arrived at the hostel on Saturday and it was by far the best hostel we’ve stayed in so far it was brand new with an en-suite in every room, and the kitchen facilities were really good. The area and hostel were very quiet as it’s not high season up there – and as I was on antibiotics we just chilled out and got a much needed early night. On Sunday we spent the afternoon on a catamaran doing a cruise that we had been told was a dolphin watching trip – we were really disappointed the weather was awful and we only saw a couple of dolphins from miles away. Also the captain on the boat decided to cut the trip short by an hour because some people on the boat needed to catch a coach to Auckland – it was definitely a waste of money and I wouldn’t recommend it. Yesterday we drove up to a place called Cape Reinga, which is right at the north of New Zealand and is where the Tasman sea at the West meets the Pacific Ocean in the East. In Maori the name means Cape of the Spirits as the Maori people believe that when they die their spirits go to Cape Reinga and from there travel back to Hawaii where they originate from. It was absolutely beautiful the way the green ocean of the Tasman met the blue of the Pacific – really stunning. After seeing Cape Reinga our driver Ty took us to some huge sand dunes where we could go sandboarding. You climb to the top of the dune and then lie on a board similar to a body board and fly down the dune – it was so much fun but really tiring climbing up the dune. Out of our group I did the most, I climbed the dune 4 times and was absolutely exhausted. It’s a good workout though you’d have legs of steel if you did that regularly. On the way home we stopped for some well-deserved fish and chips.
This afternoon after spending the morning chilling out in a very warm Pahia we got the bus back to Auckland. We’re staying in Auckland tonight and then tomorrow we’re travelling to Rotoroua which is further South for a couple of days, and after that going to do Taupo which is where we are planning to do our skydives – very scary. Hayley is coming out to meet us in Taupo for six weeks, which will be brilliant because we haven’t seen her for ages so looking forward to it. Love you all lots + lots, hope you’re all well
P.S I got my dates confused in my last journal so Happy Easter for this weekend!!