I will start by saying WE ARE ALIVE!! We are so sorry we have been rubbish/ non-existent with our blog- it has been a mixture of the 3rd world country internet in both NZ and OZ (seriously it's worse than dial up used to be) and us being on the go pretty much non stop! We have been keeping a little book of notes and stories though so we will split it over a few posts for our devoted readers!
New Zealand - North Island (Part 1)
We arrived in Auckland on a cool overcast day, this was fine with us as we were still recovering from the searing heat of Tahiti. We stayed with a lovely couple called Alex and Chalin and despite our attempts to guess Chaplin's accent we were about as far out as you can be when me and Alex agreed on Polish and she, along with her partner Alex, turned out to be Brazilian!
We stayed in a spare room in their apartment which was located in the centre if aukland, right off of Queen's Street. They were very helpful and even laid out a nice breakfast for us whilst we stayed with them.
One of their tips was to catch a ferry to a small island called Devonport, it was a nice day when we went and devonport was a lovely little town on its own island which was a also a defensive point in world war II. After our 2 days here, we picked up the kiwi experience bus and headed to our next stop.
Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach
After a couple of hours drive we got to know a few other guys on the bus which included 'Annoying California Steve' (as he later became known) and a lovely girl from Newcastle. When we got to Cathedral Cove we had to walk through the forest for about 45 minutes to reach the beach. We probably should have realised then that New Zealand was going to bring A LOT of walking, but at this point we were still blissfully unaware! We got to the cove but as it was still quite overcast I don't think we got to see it at it's best but it was still beautiful though! We then drove on to Hot Water Beach which we had heard a lot about before getting to NZ. There is some scientific reason why this beach produces hot water under the sand so the idea is that everybody can dig their own pools and lie in them like a bath! In theory this sounds great right? Well it didn't dawn on us that a unique place like this would also attract hundreds of other people and the fact that you had to get there at exactly the right time for the tide to get a space to dig your pool. It ended up a bit of a fail as we got there too late and all of us just stood by the shore digging our feet into the sand which would burn you very badly if you went just an inch too far down!
We had our first experience of a hostel that night too, which was just across from the beach. It's fair to say that it is a really weird experience sleeping in a room with 6 people you have never met and we didn't enjoy the bunk beds that much either but now 2 months in and my god are we used to it now!
Waitomo is a little village in the middle of nowhere, it is known for 2 reasons only.
1 - Queen Elizabeth went there once.
2 - The Waitomo caves. This is the only real reason to go and what is done in the caves is black water rafting. We had only briefly heard of black water rafting before our trip but basically it consists of tubing, crawling and swimming your way through these caves filled with water in pitch black! The only light comes from a small torch strapped to your helmet and the glow-worms that light up the caves. It is a quite amazing experience to float down a river in a cave and see the ceiling of the cave glowing green above you. There were also 2 waterfalls in the caves which you had to jump off of holding your rubber ring and hoping you landed upright! Something that I knew about the caves that Alex didn't was that there were also eels, I only knew this after touching one when surfacing from a waterfall! I decided not to tell Alex to try and avoid the mad panic which would have followed! All in all, a unique trip that we both really enjoyed.....…and there was free soup after! :)
As we wrote earlier, Waitomo is located in the middle if nowhere so there is not a choice of hostels, there is only one and it was dreadful! We had our own room which was the only saving grace about it, the kitchen was filthy and was filled with bugs, our room was cold and the heater didn't work and considering we only had a thin bed sheet over us, it was very uncomfortable! After looking at the bathroom, we didn't dare take a shower in there and we decided to look at a few reviews online. There were so many 1 star reviews and horror stories from previous guests that it was beyond belief. We only had 1 night there and the got out if Waitomo as fast as we could!
Next post to come soon!
Love Alex & Ed xxx