Watch out world the Barkers are coming!
Some of you may have read this first part already but please skip to the next part about New Zealand. We are now in New Zealand where we met up with Dave's Dad and Sister in Auckland, then Tommy and Graham and all of us are travelling together in a camper, car and tent. New Zealand has been beautiful so far, very English with rolling green hills and little bays. It is so easy to find a camp site, and been like a holiday from holiday, very relaxing and someone else can make the decisions instead. 'Ring of Fire', or 'Kings', the card drinking game is still going strong though, poor John, Dave's Dad, couldn't get the hang of it at all and ended up rather messy! Well we survived South America in one piece, some how. We were actually really sad to leave, we have some amazing memories to take with us though. From Santiago we flew to Easter Island and arrived in a stunning sunset, the whole island was glowing pink. Lucia, the hostel owner met us with wreaths of flowers, settled us in and sent us down to her son's bar, where we ended up staying until 4am with the local crew. Great people, so friendly and relaxed, as we have learnt are all Polynesians. Easter Island was amazing, very tropical around the town, palm trees, every colour Hibiscus flower, enourmous turtles in the bay, fresh fish in the restaurants, lovely. The rest of the Island is wilder with high volcanos with lakes inside, ragged coast and green hills. The Maori, enourmous stone statue heads for religious purpose, were everywhere, mostly fallen or still in the quarry, but those which had been restored were lined up along the coast facing in to where the villages used to be, they were very impressive, the history is amazing. I won't bore you with it, you will have to visit your self. We hired a Quad bike and ragged it around for three days, the roads were terrible so it was a good job we had that not a car. It was great fun, except the gear box was a mess and we had to stop and shake it around every time we stopped! My Dad had very, very kindly sorted us out some accomodation in Tahiti, on the island half an hour away called Moorea. It was absolutely wonderful, we had the resort pritty much to ourselves, the beach was seconds away from our airconditioned studio and a jetty went out over the reef, where we could snorkle, to the best fish restaurant on the island. We could not have asked for anyhting more, they even brought us breakfast of fresh Guava and pinapple with croisants to our room in the morning! Dad, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! It was a good job too, as the whole place is soooo expensive and the hostel we stayed in the first night had cockroaches in the shower and 5 smelly men in a room with no air!! Not exactly paradise. When we were snorkling the chef had thrown out a piece of bacon which the fish were feeding on, then we looked directly underneath us and 4 Lemon Sharks were right there!!! They are only small and harmless, but non the less I was back over the reef in no time! It has been great meeting up with everyone, it is a shame Aly has to leave in a few days, then John so by the 15th it will be just the 4 of us for a month. I can imagine it will be a giggle although I am not sure my liver will be happy! Graham's birthday is on xmas eve, and they have arranged something for new year which involves renting a house and a bunch of mad strangers. Sounds good hey! Yes I know some of you have recieved this as an e-mail already, but here is the rest of the update. From Auckland we travelled north with Aly, John, Graham and Tommy. We stopped in the bay of Islands which was beautiful, small sandy beaches, 140 islands and clear bue sea. We all took a jet boat out to the 'hole in the rock', not very interesting but we did see yet another shark feeding on the thousands of fish which surround the island. It was supposed to be an extreme actvity but the sea was very flat so we sat back and enjoyed the views. The next day the boys went deep sea fishing for snapper, they managed to catch a good few which were delicious cooked on the barby!! There were even enough for a curry the next night, thanks to John we are all eating far too well. They even caught a few which had to be put back, a couple of Baracudas!! AND Dave even caught a SHARK!!! How pleased was he! I would tell you the story but it will be better from him. Aly and I went to a house where they signed the treaty of Britain ruling the Moari New Zealand, not great. We then travelled north to 90mile beach were we took a trip on a tour bus all the way up the beach and the tour guide sung us Moari songs with good commentary, we also saw the Kauri trees, some of the largest in the world, but no longer standing as they were buried in Pete hundreds of years ago. We dropped Aly back in Auckland and were very sad to see her go. Aly you should see the state of the van!! How am I going to cope!? I am sure she will be having an amazing time playing in the snow in Canada! We headed up to the Corromandal peninsular in order to dig a hole at hot water beach but failed to get the tides right and missed our chance. Our walk along the coast to Cathederal cove was lovely though. But maybe not worth the 4 hour trip! We are now in Rotarua, a thermal town (hmm smelly sulphar), and the sun is shinning, finnally! We took John white water rafting today, it was good fun and the water was beautiful and clear with lovely views. Not quite extreme sport but good non the lest. We are dropping John off the day after tommorrow and picking up our van, then we may go to the surfing towns and chill out for a while. Hope everyone is well, we are thinking of everyone at this seasonal time, cosy on your sofas wrapping xmas prezzies. There are some new photos, they may be the wrong way round but never mind. Lots and lots of love Ellen and Dave