We left L.A on the 4th of November but didn't get to Auckland until the 6th as we lost a whole day due to travelling and time differences. We landed in auckland at around 9am but couldnt chech in to our Base hostel until 1 in the city centre which wasnt good as we both only managed about half an hours sleep on the 13 hour flight. We checked in and straight away booked our kiwi experience bus as this was going to be our transport for the time in NZ. After that we went straight to sleep and didnt wake up until the next morning 18 hours in total!!! We were up bright and early the following day to depart Auckland on the kiwi bus at 8.15 am, on the way out of Auckland we stopped off at Mt Eden, a dormant volcano, to get some 360 panoramic views of the city. We then headed for cathedral cove on the east coast of the north island, this is the beautiful beach pictures you can see and also the cave from the film Narnia. We went for a a swim here as the weather was great, the day before a pod of orcas (killer whales) were spotted in the bay, but we werent so lucky to see any. We then carried onto Whitianga where our hostel turtle cove was, it was a nice small fishing village. In the morning we watched the first half of the wales v all blacks game before getting on the bus and heading to Rotorua. On the way we stopped off at a few places, Karangahake gorge where we went for a walk in some pitch black mining caves and saw some glow worms. Hobbiton where hobbit land was set in lords of the rings, and finally onto rotorua also known as sulphur city because of its geothermal activity it always stinks of eggs from the sulphur released from its geysers and hot springs.
In the afternoon we decided to try our hand at lugeing which was basically flying down a hill in a plastic little cart with wheels, it was great fun and I only managed to crash twice....on the same run! That evening we went to a maori cultural concert which was quite expensive for what it was but we felt it hat to be done. It was interesting and very intimidating as they perform a show and swing bats quite close to you befor eyour group can be accepted into their village. They showed us some traditional maori songs, games and we had a nice buffet dinner to top the day off with.... and way to many portions of pavalova. The next day we dint really do much except watch a few people do different activities like zorbing and a skydive simulator but it did end up with a lock in at Curlys bar in Waitomo. Also we saw something very strange....rabbit shearing, was random to say the least! looked like it was going to be hung, drawn and quartered.
the next day we headed to taupo and caz had literally decided that morning that she was gonna do a skydive so the second we got there she was whisked off to do that. *caz can explain for herself*....Andrew wasnt allowed to do the skydive as there is a maximum weight limit so i had to go and do it on my own with the others off our bus. we got to the place and staright away we were kitted up in our gear and heading to the plane. i was so nervous but liz who was in my plane was more nervous so that made me feel better. we seemed to be in the plane for ages as it slowly climbed to 15000 feet. then before i knew it, the door opened and liz flew out and i was next. it was amazing. the freefall was so fast at 200kph and lasted about 60 seconds then parachute came out which was the most scary bit coz i didnt think it came out and it felt like i was still falling. then we just cruised around in the sky for abit enjoying the views of lake taupo. that night i went out as i was still on abit of a high and had a few drinks at the quiz night at mulligans where i bumped into damo...nats driver from last year.
(back to andrew)... the next day i was up bright and early and excited for my little buzz, the tongariro crossing. a 8 hour trek across two mountains (mount doom from lord of the rings and another) but at 6.30am while we were waiting to go it was cancelled due to bad weather even though the day before for cazs skydive was beautiful :( . But instead of jumping back in bed me and a few others decided to climb a smaller mountain at 4000ft off our own back which we were all pretty proud of when we reached the top. It took us 6hrs in total. That evening we had a few beers and jimmy white (caz) played some pool.
We left Taupo the next day quite early on our way to River Valley. We stopped off in the Tongariro national park and did a hour walk, we stopped off mid way for lunch at Taranaki waterfall which was beautiful. After the walk we drove a short distance to another waterfall where we were told that if we wanted we could jump off it. Its a famous waterfall as its the one where Golem got the fish out of the stream in LOTR film, at first when our driver showed us this jump i thought he was joking because at 9 meteres its a pretty big drop but neither of us was going to chicken out so we jumped and it was a good buzz and very refreshing as the water was freezing because its snow fed from the mountains. If you look at the picture of me jumping it doesnt look that high but it was because we didnt actually jump off the waterfall ledge, it was alot higher on the right hand side where the tree is sticking up! As we were all leaving the waterfall my good mate who ive met on this trip Adam decided he was going to do the jump as he previously didnt want to. He jumped........wrongly! He fell forward slightly off the jump and we think knocked himself out as he didnt come back up to the surface and when he did, he was face down and lifeless. The girls started screaming and 2 of the lads jumped in and had to save him from drowning once he came back around. It was pretty scary and all of us were pretty shaken up but hes ok now and slept like a baby that night. * sorry for that one mums and dads, dont mean to panic you, HA!* Finally we headed to River Valley lodge which was a nice quiet retreat in the middle off a valley next to a river with a waterfall. Everyone had an early night and we treated ourselves to a hot tub to relax next to the river.
The following morning i set out to do some White water rafting which i think was the best buzz you can get without leaving the floor. It was pretty scary at points as the force and amount of water was unreal. We went over alot of big drops and a number of Grade 5 rapids which are the most dangerous you can get in commercial rafting. It didnt help when our guide told us that quite a few people have died on that river including a frriend of his who was also a guide, he fell out and got trapped underwater between two rocks and drowned, he was 23! reality check! *sorry again mum* dont worry though i made it and didnt even fall out. Amorning of adventure was followed by a great night out in Wellington which was very messy to say the least due to the fact that some of our gang was leaving us and heading elsewhere so we had to say our goodbyes to a few.
We were supposed to get picked up at 7am in the morning to get the ferry across the Cook strait to the South island but we narrowly made it because sleepy head drunky monkey hungover caz woke up at 6.55am creating utter manic and rushing to make the bus in time. We did sparingly! and I enjoyed a good sleep for most of the 3 hour crossing as i was feeling rough.
South island will be up in a week or so, miss you all. xxx