Mount montanui, tauranga, Matamata/ Hobbiton, Roturua, geyser, kerosone creek, White Island/waheilkirne, waitimo caves, Raglan, coranmandel, hot water beach, cathedral cove, tirau, Auckland
After my impulsive weekend of (non) boats and hoes, Taupo baby! Another impulsive decision led me on the road to nowhere with the 26 club and gandalf.
As a massive control freak but non planner, further stepping away from my Sheffield self I did nothing.Literally nothing for this trip apart from turn up... 2 hours late.
Jumping into the car. Tilda. Nissan. Silver.automatic (not fun) We headed out onto the open roads of New Zealand.
Lessons learnt for driving NZ:
1: birds have a death wish- all manner of winged creature including the kiwi (self endangered??) throw themselves mercilessly in front of speeding cars, saunter into the path of speeding cars and just generally loiter in the middle of the road attempting to take the speeding car on. Road kill for tea!
2: 95% of drivers are tourists... Potentially Chinese... And Bad behind a wheel (yes stereotype yes deserved) OVERTAKE
3: the lies associated with Kiwi time are further Pinocchioed with distances; 90km about 1hr... 3 hours on a straight road and still no nearer.
4: directions map reading is remarkably easy when there's only two roads to choose; left or right....
5: there are no traffic lights anywhere..: Apart from Auckland...then they pack enough in there for the entire country
6: radio tunage is highly questionable... College days remix hello 2006, that despised Ed Sheeran song! However Grandma got run over by a reindeer is the new Xmas Classic!
Determined to ensure my readership stays loyal (& to stop fodder, Dalgy moaning) this is whistle stop blog of the north island as completed in 6 days.
The first night, short drive to the well to do town of Tauranga; catering for the elite the hostel (most expensive to date) $30 p/n + extra $2 for a QUILT, literally laughed in their faces but shamefacedely had to book a room when every other bed in the vicinity was booked... C-BOMB!
The next day mountain climbing!! It's overdue, been a few days, calves were beginning to soften. Mount Monganui...invisible through the windscreen until you drive onto it (oooops) A Beautiful bay side stroll around the base lulls you into a false sense of easy walk comfort until the vertical summit climb looms above you. A spectacular sunny day, love a trek... And Sheeps lots of Sheeps.
After a quick Nacho lunch (diets off) it was time jump back in Tilda to get down with the little people and party with the hobbits. Loved this: must do for any LOTR geek go Bop around Hobbiton like a school kid on meth. It's reasonably priced, interesting (ok geeky) but if it's good enough for Frodo it's good enough for me...
Especially when you can re-enact scenes, walk in the footsteps of the great Mckellen, sit on Sam Gamgees doorstep and drink stout in the Green dragon! Oh yeah and I dressed as a hobbit... And put a ring on...as if you wouldn't do the same.
After this fateful day it was full breast ahead to the east Coast for Roturua.This side of the island is volcanic, leading to many a Geyser (natural ground spurt of water not a certain bloke) and Hot pools....if you can accept the smell of sulpher (rotten egg???) In the air... In the water...on your skin it's the place to go.
Tuesday waking early we headed to see the white stuff spurt from this Geyser...which it does at10:15 exactly everyday....
Lies....It was 10:27 and man induced but it did spurt for a good hour... Not something you see down Arundel gate.
G toured the craters and natural florescent pools of Volcanic city Attempting to budget I did not. She said it was awesome though...so go.
Heading back to Roturua we swang by the secret waterfall (like you do) and had a dip in the scalding hot water of Kerasone creek (Hushy advised) crazy ass times. Middle of a forest semi naked in a foul smelling pool of scalding water/ sulpher...it was relaxing, Apparently it's good for you, it striped the dye from my hair... Hello blonde blonde tips!
That night South African Roomie after spending your average $200 to fish cooked and shared his trouty wares with the Hostel... 6 different Trout... Enough to feed the 5000.. Maybe Jesus was South African... Controversial.
Wednesday and an early morning petrol less (for 2hrs) drive to Whakatane.... G caught a ferry to the isle of white volcanos, again budgeting and limited desire to see this I took off for another mountain climb (obviously hearts desire)
2 things happened making a more eventful walk...stumbling through the deserted forest Trek I crossed some Deutschen youths 'going at it' over a rock (youth of today tut)....and then I nearly died!!!!
t*** of an info guide in recommending this walk failed to mention the final trek to the coveted golden bay (voted top 10 NZ) was impassable for 3 hours around high tide.
Walking down 200 steep steps (with holes arrggghh) I merrily thought good job I'm not walking up here... Until they ended... In the sea!
Spotting a strip of beach 3 metres away I whipped out the thongs (flip flops to us) piled my s*** on my head and bravely stepped from the stairs into the ocean...
Wadingto the beach I self congratulated myself for bravery then dallied for a good hour on how to proceed... This was only stage 1 of 5 mini stetches of beach parted by bouncing waves and craggy rock faces. Bravery quickly turns to stupidity.
Leaving my bags behind attempting a shimmy around the rock face to the next beach.It was cold, the waves were thrashing, I have no balance (mountain goat). I gave it up and walked back up the mountain despondent and exhausted.
Wednesday night and after 5 weeks in the Country of Legolas eventually Lord of the Rings was available. Yeah Ive seen it millions of times, yeah it was the second one, yeah I missed everything from 'toss me' (bestie boy you owe a trilogy download) but from the opening track the entire hostel gathered together and began a healthy competition of 'been there'.
Thursday, keeping with Stray timetable we headed to Waitimo caves a full on westerly drive.Xmas songs blasting. some hard earned cash was spent going deep underground. Exciting.
Moari tour guide; passionate story teller and proud tribes woman entertained with fascinatingly (maybe lies) about her 'Granddads' discovery of the cave. Trekking underground (only so many mountains) Stalitights/ mites protruded around us in the eerie lit cave exploration. One cave resembled a cathedral. Ms Maori asked our group to sing... They didn't... I did...
Leading the way with a rousing rendition of rudolf the red nosed (glows: fitting for the occasion)
I soon gave up when no b***** joined in.
Then heading on an underground boat (eeekkk) pulled along by this Moari beast in the pitch black we encountered Thousands upon thousands of magical blue tiny lights...GLOW WORMS
Deep underground, silver threads visible under torchlight.
It was magical and mystical amazingness... Everyone should do it.:: the extended 3hr trip.. Can't get enough.
However with G waiting for the ever onward trip there was limited time to wile away In the cave of wonder so back in the car to Raglan... Recommended by many (reasons im unsure of) Arriving at 5pm....it was raining... It was a beach....everything bar supermarket closed... We left!!
Unsure of next plan of action for sleepy time. Lastminute.com directed us to retro 60's caravan in a national forest an hour away.Fabulous...
Maybe not. A free upgrade to a log cabin later (caravan was inhabited by a man self tattooing) the Thai receptionist cried with laughter
When it was explained she didn't have lesbians for the night so a double bed was not imperative! The cabin stank of fags, smoke and sweaty sex... Bonus in Bogen city!
Friday: final day on the road. Driving around the Coromandel, it's winding peninsular making snake pass look straight- sheer cliff drop on one side, racing wagons on the other. No lie for the 1st time I was scared of my driving! Innate desire to see if the cars will fly (damn chitty and grease) meant the razor sharp turns received both hands on the wheel and only a little over the limit (speed not drink).
The coromandel is a series of bays semi-circling the eastern peninsular. It would have been stunning... It was stunning... Kind of ... If it wasn't for the rain. rained all week (wettest spring EVER 'apparently') rather unfortunate for tourists on a road trip. luckily I have a brilliant imagination to envision these places sunny.
After a dedicated 6 hours driving, pausing only for a green lipped mussel lunch (divine) next stop was Cathedral Cove, a short 45 trek to pretty beaches, rocks and coves... Fabulously romantic... If I'd been with a man... It wasn't raining... And we had a picnic.. Maybe champagne!
Spicing things up we trundled the short 10k to hot water beach. Famed for spade digging the sand until a pool of hot water from the volcanic heat is created. fun for all of ten minutes... Until the waves crashed in... And made it cool again...60 people sat in ankle deep hot water, shivering... Not cool.
Final leg of the road trip. Facilitated by beers and pizza (home stretch) Real life beckoned: Auckland! a mere 3 hour drive.
The rebreakage of the 26 club: could have been emotional however hard Yorkshire lasses don't cry and are used to goodbyes!
My final four days in New Zealand were spent in the relative luxury of home living; abusing the good nature (& amazing shower) of...brax (an actual dog) queen of travels (& FB likes) and Mr Telford.
Queen of Travels went above and beyond the call of hostess duties ensuring a fabulous time regardless of the rain (yep still raining).
First stop, bypassing Auckland Marina, the island of Waiheke...wine tour part deux! (girl knows me well) focusing on reds; NZ wines Are now fully exploited. The views were pretty, Russians propositioned us and the smile and look poor technique resulted in a free lift home...standard tipsy Saturday Afternoon!
Following a sobering bath (yay) Saturday evening was thoroughly entertaining; relaxing with Queens friends... Who are Scarily similar if not identical to my own core group. Loves.
Sunday: a lie in then trip to mission bay.... If the rain wasn't disheartening enough The wind chipped in too. However not on to be defeated by the weather we grinned and beared it before an afternoon of 2 (yes that's right 2) in house (different houses) BBQ's #newfriendsfamilyfood
Monday the rest of the world returned to work I headed off to explore Auckland city centre and get the infamous (not so impulsive) tattoo. It's not a kiwi and it's not on my ass. That is all. Auckland city centre is a city centre standard of all those on this bottom of the world it's USP... Accessibility, traffic lights, bays?
New Zealand: kiwi time is now ended. Genuinely sad to leave. Relaxed, happy, crazy, impulsive, fun, variety, slow burning beauty and rain sum it up. lessons learnt and hopefully retained:
1: People can be nice,kind, generous have no hidden agenda.... Cynicism well and truely waned
2: if it's cold in England it doesn't mean it's hot at the other side of the world... Brighter yes... Warm occasionally... Magnificent version of England definitely
3: Mountains lakes and stunning scenery can get tedious, whilst the beauty of the countryside makes me weep with happiness the buzz of the social/ city/ cosmopolitan also needs to be accessible
4: Favourite places: Mount cook, Wanhaka, Abel Tasman, Taupo this may in part be due to the awesome people and fabulous timesI had there -and definitely a reflection on the suns presence
5: the best things/ times/ events have been free: mostly with strangers - mostly impulsive. Never being one to say no to opportunity I feel this may be dangerous lesson in future life
6: there are equal counterparts of everyone, everywhere in the world. Do I know you? No! Your just the French/ Israeli/ kiwi/ Chinese version of ...hubby, lido, Jked, Helen babe, Dalgy, fodder. Strangers become besties overnight and nakedness quickly bonds people.
8: deep one... Why is England so very hectic,busy and rushed? it's hard to adapt to slow life but when you do why go back? The kiwis are surviving just fine and should never change
I'll be back undoubtedly however Next stop Fiji...so excited I can't sleep