Tongariro Crossing via Wellington until Nelson
Nelson, New Zealand
The Tongariro crossing, was hard! It started out really easy, everything just a little uphill. It was rather warm in the morning but then we had a very steep part to climb, lots of steps and very steep hillside, plus loose sand that made you slide down just a little every time you went up a bit. When we started the steep climb, clouds came rolling in. At one point we couldn't see further than 3 meters, which is sad, because the view from the top is supposed to be amazing! Finally we made it to the top, by this time it was raining, super cold and there were very strong winds. We had to go down the other side of the mountain in loose sand again, meaning you slide down more than you'd actually walk. We arrived at the beautiful blue lakes, which we couldn't really see that well because of the fog, got out of the wind a bit and had some lunch. From then on most of the walk was downhill, it was a nice change up at first, but after 5k of going downhill everyone started to feel it in their knees, ankles and upper legs. At about 4 o'clock we arrived at the parking lot where we had to wait another hour in the rain for the bus to pick us up. 19.4 km! We did it J
The next day we got on the bus again to go to Wellington this time. It would be a long bus ride, but everyone was hurting and tired from the day before so a day in the bus was rather welcome. In Wellington we stayed at a nice Nomads hostel and later that night there would be a beer pong tournament in the bar. Our bus driver 'Postie' enrolled 4 teams from our bus. I formed a team with Jake, an American who just got out of Uni, thus an expert at beer pong. I only played it once before. What is beer pong you ask? Well, you need a table and 12 red solo cups with some beer in them and 2 ping pong balls. You stack the cups as you do with the pins in bowling, a triangular shape. The goal of the game is to throw the ping pong balls in the cups and have no cups left in the end, because every time you put a ball in the cup, the other team has to drink that cup and take it away. Now for the rules: your elbows have to stay behind the table, otherwise the shot does not count. You try to get the ball in the cup with a bounce, if you do that you can get rid of 2 cups, but the other team can intersect the ball and hit away from the cups. Also when both players get the ball in the same cup, you automatically win the game. So in round one Jake was really good of course and I just tagged along trying to find my groove. The first round we won because of the 10minute time limit, we had one cup more than our opponents. The second round we got a bit better and more confident, but also won because of the time limit. This meant we were through to the semi finals! We had to play against another Stray team, Lauren and Paul. Jake and I really got into it then and won that game. So the finals it was. We had to play against 2 French guys who had very easily won all their games! The price for becoming first was 100 dollars, the price for coming second was absolutely nothing… The entire Stray bus was rooting for us and Jake and I decided that if we won we would buy everyone shots! The Frenchies got start of the game, if I recall correctly, neither of them got one in. I was pretty nervous at this time since all the pressure was on us to win this for Stray! Jake's first shot got in the cup. Yes!!! I think in the 2 last games he always nailed the first shot, if only I could do the same. A deep breath and… Yes I got it in the cup! After that everything is a bit of a haze! Everyone started yelling and smiling and then hugs came along. I hadn't immediately realized I had got it in the same cup as Jake did. Wow, shortest final ever! We had won! The rest of the evening and night was pretty epic, the bartender did us a favor and upgraded or shots to jager bombs for everyone. And let's just say we didn't go to sleep till pretty late!
Anyways, the next day we did some exploring in the city and I realized that Wellington is really nice! It is definitely a place I could live in. The harbor area is very well developed with really nice shops and bars. I think that this is definitely a contender for when I start looking for work!
On Saturday morning we got up really early again, 5.45! We took the ferry from Wellington to Picton to start our adventure on the South island. The last part of the ferry trip was beautiful, on either side of us were beautiful green headlands with a house every now and then. The water is a beautiful shade of blue and aqua, and the sun was shining! In Picton we got on the Stray bus again, we stopped in a couple of places, one of them being a wine cellar where we did some wine tasting. Nathalie, a Dutch girl I have been hanging out with and I decided to get off the bus in Nelson. I had heard from Kit (Dunlops grandmother) that Nelson was beautiful and Nathalie had heard some good things about it too. So now we are 2 days later and boy was Kit right. Nelson is a gorgeous place! Nathalie and I walked to 'the centre of New Zealand' yesterday, the geographical centre of the country, which is a landmark. We spent the entire afternoon lying in the sun in the park and walked around the streets with its numerous shops and cafes. I could easily spent some more time in this town, but maybe later! For now we are going to take the bus which will take us to the Abel Tasman park. More about that, when I've been there J