Hello everyone again!
Sorry it's been a while….
So it's been 9 days since we arrived in New Zealand and we have done so much already!! We landed in Auckland on 1st November, and caught a airport shuttle to our hostel Queen's Street Backpackers which at $75 a night was a bit of a shock after our $8 hotel rooms in Cambodia, Bangkok etc.
We were both pretty jet lagged so we headed to a supermarket got some much needed beans and toast (all the hostels have kitchens which is awesome) and cooked dinner and off to bed! Next day we explored Auckland, we went round the shops and to the Skytower, we went up the skytower which was quite funny to see how scared Grant was to walk over the see-through floor. It was pretty high though J
Then on the 3rd November we picked up our beautiful Nissan Sunny from Jucy Rentals! It was sooo good to have a car after those crazy long bus journeys in SE Asia, I was most excited as it meant I could stop to go the toilet whenever instead of once every 6 hours haha.
So Grant drove us to Whitianga which is the most beautiful little seaside town. The drive over was amazing, mountains, blue skies, and clear water, I think we were both seriously thinking why do we have to return to England. So we stayed in this awesome hostel called 'On the beach backpackers' it was like bright blue and yellow, and we had a unit to ourselves (kitchen, lounge, bathroom and a balcony with a bbq) Then we saw kayaks in the hostel and asked to take them out, they were free! So we kayaked around mercury bay, it was really choppy and we actually ended up surfing on the waves. Grant loved it and wanted to keep steering back into the waves which ended up with me soaked, much to his amusement. We stayed there for 2 days and explored Cathedral Cove and the Hot Water Beach (unfortunately we went at the wrong time to dig a hole which would have thermal hot water underneath). I also drove the car for the first time since passing my test in February. Loving having an automatic car though!
We decided to leave Whitianga and made the 3 hour drive to Waitomo,we stayed at Juno Hall this lovely little lodge with farmyard animals around it =) We booked into a dorm as there were no doubles left, but luckily we had really cool people staying with us and ended up going for a walk at dusk with them to go see some glow worms in a cave. The next day we had booked to do the 'black labyrinth' with the ledgendary black water rafting company, google it and see what we got up to! We had to get into freezing cold wetsuits, and make our way to the caves where we had to choose a big black rubber ring that would fit our bums and into the caves we went. It was raining quite hard, so this made the water current pretty strong and many of the rocks we were walking on were unstable and slippery, we went deeper into the cave sometimes parts where really narrow and we have to flop on our rings and float under parts. Then we got to the first waterfall, in the dark we had to turn our backs standing on the top of the waterfall holding our rings over our bums and jump backwards! V. scary but also very fun =) and one part we all link together and floated through this bit filled with glow worms, it was pretty beautiful.After about 1 hour we surfaced, we were absolutely freezing but it was definitely worth it. We got some soup and bagel to warm us up and headed back to the lodge. We really liked Juno Hall met some really nice people there. I got to bottle feed the lambs too, which is always a plus!
The next day we drove on to Rotorua, which smells like rotten egg due to all the sulphur and geo-thermal activity there. We arrived at the Kiwi Paka, and within ½ hour we were booked to do White Water Rafting in 20 mins time because it was really cheap that day $50 each. I was absolutely terrified! We got picked up by Rotorua Rafting and headed to a holiday park to get changed into our wetsuits. We later found out we were to be rafting with a world champion kayaker, Sam Sutton how brilliant is that! Makes you feel safer! We went to the Kaituna River and got in the raft, Grant and this German guy called Ben went at the front, I found the steering pretty hard, with my little arms. We made our way down the course and to the 7m waterfall, we said a blessing in Maori before we went down asking for the chiefs to guide us over the river safely, it was lovely to say it and over we went!! Luckily we didn't capsize, but the raft after us did! The whole experience was pretty terrifying but great, and really grateful to the guides that got us over ever bit. Grant loved it, I could see him wanting to do it straight away afterwards J
We drove on the next day and stopped at Wai O Tapo Thermal Wonderland and saw geo-thermal hot pools and geysers(Check out the pictures on facebook)! Then we went on to Taupo, and stopped at Huka Falls and the Honey Hive, where we tried Honey Mead, Brandy, Wine and different honeys including beenut butter mmm. So good! We stayed in Turangi at this amazing cheap, crazy hostel because some guys recommended it and Ian the hostel owner was brilliant. He helped us with the ferry booking for Friday, and told us places to go, even giving us a mate of his number in Wellington to ring if we get stuck and all we had to do was cook him dinner. People are so unbelievably helpful here, and there's no agenda! It's hard to believe. Both of us drove to Wellington today well Grant (3 hours) Me (1 hour) I'm improving.!
Anyway that is all for now.
Lots of love
Hannah and Grant xxxxx