First of all sorry there has been a lack of blogs recently. Two reasons for this. 1) Internet is quite expensive in all the hostels we have been staying in and 2) we have been having such an amazing time in NZ (and drinking) that we haven't found the time. However, i have found a few minutes before we go out in Wellington to upload some photos and update you all. Once again, its going to be a long one.
First day of the Kiwi Experience started quite early, not as early as we had planned due to me setting the alarm 12 hours out but we still managed to get up in time and make it over to the bus stop to catch the big green truck of love (as it has been named, ruder names, but this is a family blog.......) First stop was the Kiwi Experience office to get our guidebooks and some breakfast. For some reason Price and I thought it would be a great idea to get chips at 9 in the morning, i can assure you, this was not a good idea. After the Kiwi office and making some friends we drove up to Mount Eden which gave 360 degree views of Auckland (where a 3rd of the population of NZ live) Up here we met Jens who had been traveling with Charles Annett and Jack Morgan for 2 and a half weeks in OZ, we are finding that it is a very small world. After Eden it was a drive over to Thames where we had a quick stop to grad some food and supplies. By now the bus had started talking to each other and we had made some good friends. From Thames it was over to Cathedral Cove which took a bit of a walk down to it but was so worth it. Didn't jump in the water but looking out over the scenery was just incredible. After Cathedral Cove it was over to Mercury Bay, our stop for the night. Checking into Turtle Cove (our hostel) we played a few games of free pool!? ate spag bol and watched The Full Monty and 40 Year Virgin with the bus (we were basically the only ones staying in the hostel) Most of the group went to bed after the second film but some stayed to watched the brilliance that was Anchorman before heading to bed. First day of Kiwi showed that we would be having an awesome time and we hadn't really done anything yet!
Second day it was an incredibly early start due to the need to get over to Rotorua (the centre of the Maori culture) Enroute, we stopped at the Karangahake Scenic Reserve for a walk that took us over two rope bridges, through an awesome gorge and a 1km series of abandoned gold tunnels. Before we hit the road again Price decided to throw himself off the side of the road 8ms into some freezing cold water, obviously i couldn't do it because i was filming him.......cough cough. After the gorge it was Hobbiton which had no hobbits. When we reached Rotorua we were shown round the local heritage site (which i won traditional bone carved necklace in) before checking into our hostel. The hostel, hot rocks was buiolt on hot springs so all the pools were naturally heated but stunk of Sulphur. Before the Maori evening that was planned for us, some of the group went Zorbing which was actually hilarious. Take a big hamster wheel, put hot water into it and 3 stupid people and then push them down a hill. That is Zorbing and was absolutely brilliant. Price, Ellie (someone we met on the bus) and i got put into a Zorb and were absolutely soaked by the time we came out, absolutely worth it though!? After Zorbing it was a traditional Maori evening. Upon being greeted in the traditional way by some of the warriors of the village (Price was one of the chiefs of our bus) After the greeting we were shown around a traditional fortified village before a display of Maori weapons, dances and the traditional Haka. The banquet was absolutely brilliant, alot of it was cooked traditionally in the ground with hot rocks that had been heated so we had traditional Kumala (NZ sweet potato) and the nicest chicken. After the farewell songs (they seem to sing a lot in NZ) we went off to the hostel bar before finally getting to bed sometime after midnight.
Day 25 started with a visit to Te Puia, NZ's most well known thermal area with geysers, a fortified village and some real live KIWIS!? (the bird not the fruit......) Te Puia geyers actually blew whilst we were there so watching water blow 20ms into the air naturally is awesome. Travelling from Te Puia we arrived at Waitomo (Water caves) which were made by the limestone being carved out by water running through it over 30 million years. After checking into the hostel we went Black Water Rafting. Black water rafting is a slight bit different to White Water as you don't have a boat to fall out off, instead you abseil, zip wire and generally float on big rubber tubes. After getting into the coldest wet suits we caught a minbus over to a hole in the ground and learnt the basics of abseiling. This helped as we lowered our selves down into the big hole about 40-50ms before Zip wiring our way through some glow worm caves. After some tea/coffee (very civilised) we threw ourselves off a rock into 9 degree water before paddling upstream then catching the current back in the darkness looking at the glowworms. Glowworms aren't actually worms, they are fact maggots that glow because the s**t is luminous!? After a bit more swimming, traversing rocks and avoiding cave eels we made our way up through waterfalls into the night sky before getting some soup and a hot shower and then an incredibly comfortable bed.
Day 26 gave way to the weirdest thing we have ever seen, the shaving of an Angoran Rabbit. These rabbits are the size of small children and they are basically tied to a rack and sheared with sheep shearers. Apparantly they enjoy it but man was it weird!? After the rabbits it was off to Taupo, the adventure capital of the north island. Arriving around 2.30ish we were all geared up to do the skydive but unfortunately as it is winter, the sun sets a lot earlier so couldn't do it that day. Instead we went and checked into the hostel and partied the night away in the Holy Cow night club. As Price was doing the Tongariro crossing the next day (an intensive 8 hour walk that takes you pass Mt Doom from LOTR) he went back around 12ish but i held the English side up and partied till 3!
Dinner has just been called and then we are partying our way through Wellington again so will update the blog later when we get back. Uploaded all the photos though so feel jealous people! Now we are staying in Wellington for a while, will be able to update the blog a lot more frequently.
Will speak to you all soon. Much love