Christmas with the Adams family in New Zealand was completely different to what I am used to. Being woken up at 6:45am by the kids was a bit of a shock to the system for a start! I did get some lovely gifts including new knickers, chocolate and a gorgeous greenstone necklace. Unlike England (unless your mad or very hardy) Christmas day was spent on the beach, we went to Kaiteriteri and spent the afternoon messing around in the water. Saffs friend had a boat so we got towed around the bay on a 'hot dog'. Saff fell off but hung on bravely until she realised that if she didnt let go she would lose her bikini. By the time we visited another friend and nibbled on all sorts of goodies none of us really wanted the Christmas dinner Saff had planned.
As I had the luxury of a room to myself I decided to do some sit-ups. I actually really enjoyed doing them, I think that was more to do with rewarding myself with a little bit of Christmas chocolate every time I sat up!
Saff and Liam took me to Golden Bay and we visited PuPu Springs. Contrary to what the name suggests the springs bubbles up 40 bathtubs a second of some of the clearest water in the world, lovely.
After a week it was time to move on back to Barrytown where I was going to spend New Year. Most people thought I was mental as they headed down to Queenstown but I was happy to go back to the quiet but beautiful West Coast. The bus pulled up at Dinner Time and Deano jumped on the bus in a dress...nothing had changed except maybe the size of his fake breasts? I was given a dorm to myself...no worries about upsetting my roomies if I throw up this time! New Years Eve was quiet, just me and the staff with the pub to ourselves, Druw entertained us with a fire hoop and I was last man standing at 4am! I went to be coincidentally as the room started to spin but luckily I managed to hold it together. The next morning Deano woke us all up very gently by banging a wooden spoon against a frying pan. After a hearty breakfast watching 'My Name Is Earl" we headed to the beach at Punakaiki for a spot of New Years Day sunbathing.
Sadly after 3 days it was time to say farewell to Barrytown and my friends as I went to catch the TranzAlpine Express over to Christchurch (ChCh)...reportedly one of the most beautiful train rides in the world and I should think so at that price! It was very pretty although a bit more snow on the mountains would have been magic (still better than Thameslink though). In ChCH I did all the touristy things like riding on athe tram, walking round the botanical gardens and going up the gondola even though it was cloudy so I have no idea what you could see from up there!
I met Thumper in ChCh and travelled to Kaikoura on his bus, it was a beautiful day and Thumper asked me if I would like to go and play golf. Not mini golf but proper grown up golf...the sport! Why not, I am good at pool, surely all the equipment is nearly the same, I should be OK? I was not! You stop counting the number of hits you have taken for a hole if you go above ten, I know this because I did it on nearly every one of the eighteen holes! Stupid game!
kaikoura is famous for its whale watching and marine wildlife, I decided I would like to go swimming with seals (or if you think of them another way, sharks food). It was fantastic, they came really close and would just sort of hang upside down in front of me trying to work out what I was ....COLD is what I was! From Kaikoura I spent a couple of weeks heading North and saying goodbye to a few people I had met along the way. During this time I got to wash and park a bus...I know I am sad but it made my day (more the parking than the washing to be honest).
So finally I made it up to Aukland where I left for sunny Australia...except its not sunny its cold and windy....not what I signed up for!!