Sorry its been a little while since i was in touch - been a very busy girl!!! So last time i was on here i was leaving Cairns - well that very evening i was surprised to hear that my little buddy Louise was popping into town with her friend Lauren, so we arranged to meet! I was actually quite nervous because i'd not seen her for so long but mostly i was hugely excited!!! Naturally we ran up to each other and lovingly embraced in the streets of Cairns before heading off for some grub ($10 for a 3 course meal!). As you can imagine we had so so much to talk about so we spent all evening catching up before having to say a very sad goodbye to one another.
I boarded my plane from Cairns with 35C heat behind me, but was very disappointed to discover that Sydney welcomed me with rain and 19C - a huge shock! Anyhow, i cought afew buses to Bondi beach (The famous surfing capital) where i'd booked in to a hostel. That first evening was too cold, so i tried to catch up with the ever neglected diary (sorry Michie i really am trying hard!) and then went for a bite to eat with one of the girls in my room. The following day was totally designated to sight seeing so i woke upo bright and early and headed to Circular Quay where the Sydney Opera House is. I took a few pickies of that and the Harbour Bridge which happens to be right in front of the singing place and then got on to a ferry to Manly. This is a beautiful little town across the way from the city and boasts some lovely beaches. The sun was shining although it was fairly chilly so as soon as i got a chance to squeeze in some sunbathing, i made the most of it. After some lunch, i headed back to Sydney and walked through the beautiful botanical gardens that are smack bang in the middle of skyscrapers. Strangely enough this is a very serene place and instantly takes you miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city! I then walked through Hyde Park (I know!!!i was actually beginning to get annoyed with the fact that they copy so many things from the UK) and found a quiet little spot to read my book. Oxford street and the look alike Parliament were next on the sight seeing list before i headed back to base to pack my suitcase and prepare for my departure from Oz! Sad times!!! : (
I had a little hassle getting to the airport, as i'd paid for a transfer and a taxi turned up. So after saying i had my voucher etc, he drove me all the way to the airport at 6.30 am only to tell me that my voucher was invalid and i owed him $60!!! craziness! As you can imagine i was a little angry but had no choice but to give him some money (only gave him $38 though)!! To make matters worse, i assumed there would be an in flight meal so i didnt have breaky and then found out that there wasnt any and since i used my cash on the cab, i went hungry!!! that was even more sad!!! haha. I eventually got to Christchurch and the sun was shinning which brought a smile to my face. I got onto a little shuttle that took me to the town centre and checked into a 'sanctuary' (all girls closed off area!) at a nice hostel on Cathedral Square. For the first time i was given a nice clean white towel and some smellies which was lovely! total backpacker luxury!!! haha. After that i set off around ti=own to sight see and visited the history museum and the botanical gardens. I even learnt a thing or two about mauri history!!! haha. That evening, the lovely Irish girls in my room asked me out on a date to the cinema which was great. Just what i needed after a long day traveling. We watched a trashy chick flick and then got the free shuttle home. I'd also managed to book on to the Kiwi Experience bus that day and was due to depart Christchurch the following morning (there really isnt much to do there) which was fab news!
A nice hot shower in the morning set me off on the right foot although the big bowl of serial i had helped too! I met the rest of the bus and our driver JP outside the hostel at 8.00 am and began the first leg of my trip around New Zealand. Due to the busy summer season, our driver was heading to Nelson (a stop not included in my package) and offered anyone who was interested a free lift. Always one to take the opportunity, i went along and was joined by an Irish guy called Aidan. We met another bus half way and dropped off the rest of the crew before continuing north to Nelson. This was JP's first trip and so with just the two of us on the truck we sat up front and chatted to him lots and helped him with the directions! Who said a woman cant read a map - if it wasnt for my skills we'd of never have gotten there! haha, great fun though!
That evening we met the other two buses that were already there and went for a few drinks with a few of them. I was placed into a dorm with 5 boys and me which was bad enough as it was but then when 3 of them strolled in at 4am and were laughing and joking around till 5, i was livid! I tried getting them to settle but there was no point. Eventually i think they passed out and since we had to be up at 8am to catch our bus to Westport, i thought i'd do the honours of waking these puppies up! A swift loud yell in the ear hole and the pulling back of the curtains did the job nicely! Funnily enough that experience has bonded us a little!! haha.
That morning i met 5 girls that were on my bus from the South of England who seemed very nice. They asked me to join them and so i did. Together we have been travelling all the way down the West coast, stopping to see various lakes, walk many trecks and take even more pictures! haha. My memory is fading slightly but after Nelson we visited a very picturesque lake where we had a picnic and some of the boys braved to jump in. Since the lake was created by the melting of a glacier, i opted out of this! After this we stopped off at an adrenalin cetre in the middle of nowhere where to took part in Jetboating up a river at 120km and doing all sorts of spins and turns whilst getting totally soaked! This was great fun too! That evening we booked into a homely little hostel in Westport, where i cooked sausage pasta for the girls and myself. The following day was a long drive but we stopped off lots of times to do some lovely coastal walks and take pictures of lakes and waterfalls. Our destination was a little pub called The Travel Inn which was on the side of the road next to the lake of Mahinapua. It is tradition for the Kiwi experience to have a big bonding party here which is called the Poo Pub Night. The theme on this occasion was Tight and Bright so we all popped to the shop and got some bits for our outfits! The owner of the pub cooked everyone an enormous dinner of steaks, venison stew, potatoes, salad etc which was delicious. Everyone made a big effort to dress up for the occassion which was good.
The following morning was a little more miserable with dark clouds, icy winds and fat hangovers to match! We drove for several hours and once again stopped for the usual sights! In the afternoon,we arrived in the town of Franz Joseph where the infamous 13km glacier lives. We all stayed in the same hostel and were booked in for 2 nights, the first of which we just had dinner at the restaurant and then headed in for an early night. The next morning was another early start as we'd booked to do the all day glacier hike. This was very challenging but really spectacular. The entire group was split into 6 groups ranging from advanced to basic but due to high demand, we dropped down to group 5 to which i had no problem with. Our guide was fantastic and kept us moving! He told us lots about the glacier and its history. Did you know that 60yrs ago it was twice its current height and spread across town, and that geologists have predicted that in 90years it will no longer exist!!! how sad is that? I'll have to ensure that my kids get there too and see the difference a generation makes!! Being in the lower group also meant that we got lots of opportunities to take pictures, which was nice! The whole day was very knackering but totally worth it. The views from the top were wicked and lots of the people who skydived on that day said they were even better from the sky as you could see the glacier, green mountains and Tasman sea!!! Oh that is something i have forgotten to mention! New Zealand is so unbelievably green and the landscape is full of lakes, huge mountains and sharp cliffs! Although Oz was a fabulous trip that boasted some beautiful beaches, New Zealand is much more picturesque and lush!
Anyway, even though i have lots more to update you on, i have done enough for one session so will leave it here for now. Still to come we have the long awaited bungi experience!!! woo hoo.
Hope you are all well at home! Only 2 weeks and 3days left till im home so im off to make the most of it!
Love you all x x x