Hey hey! Or should I say Kia Ora! I've had a fantastic couple of days between doing very adventurous things and chilling out on the East As trip! Brilliant! But I'll start at the beginning shall I??
The Hangi at Tamaki Cultural Village was amazing!! I went for the vegetarian option, of course, and I was amazed at how much there was! I had 3 each of spring rolls, wontons, and samosas! So good lol. Plus a huge plate full of veg from the buffet AND dessert! Well, given the opportunity to eat like a horse a backpacker has gotta take it!! The whole night was very good too with lots of Maori performances and we saw what it was like to live like a Maori in the good aul' days!
The next day (Sunday) we headed off to Waitomo, and along the way we stopped at a geothermal park, and I saw my first real life geyser... it was spectacular, and warm lol. Then we practiced good aul hand eye coordination Maori style, by throwing sticks at eachother... you either caught them or got hit in the face... a brutal way of learning but I didn't miss one! We reached Waitomo just after lunch and got geared up for our cave exploration... I chickened outta doing Black Water Rafting but I did do a cave walk... it was like a cross between James Bond and Startrek! We saw the Black Water Rafters go past in the water beneath us and it did look like a lotta fun... oh well! We also saw gloworms which just looked like stars! Once we finished that we headed back to the hostel and relaxed until Mangee our driver got us all onto the bus in the dark... We drove a bit then he lit up candles and put them into plastic cups... not the smartest idea lol. Then we got out and walked around a cave area in the pitch black with just candles to guide us... tho I did cheat and brought my torch, thank God!!
Monday we headed to Taupo and stopped off at Huka Falls which is a tiny waterfall but the amount of water flowing over it at any one time is immense, almost equivalent to Niagara Falls, so you can guess how much water was there! Then it was off to Taupo Bungy where 3 off our bus, including Janet did a bungy jump! Crazy!! There's no way I wud do a bungy jump!! After that we checked into our hostel and had a bit of lunch. Then we were picked up to go to Freefall Taupo... for a SKYDIVE! We got suited and booted and I was so nervous it wasn't even funny! We got on the plane, the tiniest plane I've ever been on and off we went, there was no turning back once we were on the plane! I was at the back so I jumped last, but I didn't watch Janet and Sarah go, I wud've freaked out!! All I can really remember once we slide towards the door was uttering a hell of a lotta swear words! Then I was dangling out of a plane.... ME dangling out of a plane!! I didn't have time to think before Phil threw us both out! I screamed my head off the entire way but I really enjoyed it!! You get the initial flip in your tummy as you fall but then it doesn't feel like you're freefalling at all! It was sooo cool! Then the parachute came out (YAAAAY!!) and I alsmost kicked myself in the head... yeah I'm pretty flexible! Then we floated back down to solid ground! I had a pretty good landing too which was good! It only lasted about 25 mins in total, 15 of that was getting up into the sky lol. But it was well worth every cent! Wen we came down we got pictures and a dvd so I have many forms of evidence, and the DVD is hilarious! I'll be showing mum and dad wen we find a pc in vancouver!!
Tuesday we had a celebratory breakfast and I chowed down some pancakes!! Amazing! We had a free day today so we just pottered about and spent money on layering clothes! Its bloody freezing lol. I wrote a few postcards today too so a pretty quiet day in all today! Oh, an exciting fact (for me) was that I found out I can watch Home and Away on YouTube! Happy days!! We went to a pharmacy to look about getting painkillers for my back but the prices were extortionate! We had a nosey and it was 12 quid for Zovirax!!Thank god I brought my own! After that we went to the cinema to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... I enjoyed it, Janet was sceptical!
Wednesday we started our East As part of the Kiwi Experience tour! There were only 7 of us on the tour, 8 including the driver, Eddie. Our first stop was a special travellers tree which I hugged in order to get good weather! We all gave it a squeeze! We made it to Te Kaha and met the family we were staying with. We put our stuff into a huge 18 bed dorm, but luckily we were the only ones in it! The man of the house, Chay (maori for friend), came in after dinner and greeted us the traditional way of holding hands and bumping our noses together. Its called hungi or something similar! Then he sang to us then dropped the bombshell that we had to write a song and sing it to him and his family... tradition! So we took the challenge on the chin and came up with s great wee song to the tune of Brimful of Asha by Cornershop!
Thursday morning we performed our little song infront of Chay and the family! It went really well and they all looked impressed! Well it was pretty good for a 30min effort! Then Chay and his 2 year old grandson Hennessy sang us a farewell song and it actually tugged at my heartstrings to be leaving! But we did, and ended up at the East Cape lighthouse, 755 steps up, which I did but it almost killed me lol. But the views were amazing! We stayed up there long enuff for us all to get feeling back in our legs then headed on to Rangitukia where I tried my hand at horse trekking! It was fantastic, if not a little scary... We galloped along the beach, it was spectacular, then climbed a mountain to see the views from the top (I really felt for Troy, my horse at this point as he had to lug me up a steep hill!)! It was pretty good but scary coming back down as it was all just mud so Troy just slid down really!! Horse-back skiing... ta-da!!
Friday I really felt the horse trek... I had jarred my back during the gallop and could barely move it wthout being in some pain... But I'm a trooper and I just motored on lol. We made our way to Tatapouri, stopping off along the way in the village that staged the 2002 hit movie The Whale Rider! We were traditionally greeted into the village and the meeting houses where we were told the story of Paikea the Whale Rider. We were left to look around the place too and it was sprung on us that we had to sing again! Another Maori tradition, and this time it was a Maori song! But it went well I think! Well, we weren't thrown out anyway! Once we finished up there we passed a Sperm Whale Grave which was very sad! Then we reached Tatapouri where we settled into our accommodation then had an amazing BBQ dinner by a fire and played drinking games!!
Saturday morning I was rudely awoken by mice rooting thru my food bags, which lead me to not sleep for the rest of the night, so there was no concern about me missing the sunrise! Only 3 of us got up to watch the sunset, we were the first to see the sunrise in the world, pretty cool! Then I found out that the bloody mice went straight for my chocolate pretzels! I was not amused considering there was cheese in there too!! Then we did some wild stingray feeding, tho the stingrays didn't appear so it was really just fish feeding, tho we did see an eel and an octopus! We didn't hafta pay for that in the end! We finally reached our Home away from Home, Taupo, where we've gotta stay 2 nights coz the bus isn't leaving 2moro like it says it is on the timetable! Oh well, just a couple extra days to relax and rest the aul back!!
Love and miss you all xxx