from fiji we landed in Auckland in the north island of new zealand, we stayed here for around 3 days, the purpose being to organise ourselves and prepare ourselves for the coming month - warm winter clothes etc. after several days we booked on the bus for the following morning, however the night before we decided to quite sensibly go out drinking!!!with no alarm clock to awake us at 8am in the morning, because we had both lost our phones in recent weeks, it was quite possibly the most sensible move we have made during our travels, especially since if you book on a bus, which we had, and don't turn up you get fined quite a hefty amount.needless to say we did of course miss the bus surfacing around 9am, although after a brief phone call to office we were told if we got a taxi asap it may be possible to meet the bus on route, still fairly inebriated we managed to pack in about 4 seconds flat and somehow managed to flag down a taxi and catch up with the bus - a great start to new zealand!!!!! from here we headed rotorua a small town deep in maori culture, the most notorious characteristic of the rotorua being the smell, the place absolutely stinks due to the sulphur in the area. what worried us was the fact you would become immune to smell within a few hours, with this in mind we began questioning our own hygiene in the event we may have also become immune to our smell. we spent just one night here and went to a maori night, a cultural evening guiding us through the beginnings of maori culture, as good as it was the highlight was an amazing roast dinner which culminated the evening - a small competition did of course arise between us gents to see who could consume the most - it was a close call but i think i may have just sneaked it brian would probably disagree - mother the roast would have put yours to shame!!!!and yes i know eating copious amounts of food is neither funny nor clever!!!!! from rotorua we headed to waitoma caves where we did black water rafting before traveling onto taupo the place in the north island i had been dreading the most, for those of you that have been there it is of course the cheapest place in new zealand to do the skydive!!!!for those who know me well you will of course be aware that i am scared of heights and yes it is fair to say i bricked one - however i did do it and from 15,000ft a minute of which was freefall (wooo-hoooo) - jim u would have been proud (jim being the one who had to keep me calm whilst on the ferris wheel at our university summer ball as i winced like a girl - ha ha)!!!!!also in taupo we did one of the best one day walks in the world the tongariro crossing - a 9 hour hike up a mountain knee deep in snow at some points it was amazing!!!!from taupo we headed to wellington, probably the quietest capital in the world where we joined the south island via the roughest 3 hour ferry journey ever - me and chris were so relieved when we finally reached terra firma after becoming increasingly close to barfing at several points!!!!