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Showing posts from October, 2017

My Kiwi Experience part 6: the final days

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Before I'd left the UK I had high hopes for Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. I was doing none of the adrenaline fuelling activities though; partly for financial reasons, partly because I didn't fancy jumping off a 134 metre platform and getting thrown about whilst dangling upside down. Especially not after I'd seen a girl who'd done it and her bruised eyes - how's that even possible? Everybody had told me how great the place was though, including a random bloke as I entered LAX airport and told him that I was off to New Zealand. These expectations were definitely met when we arrived. 
Surrounded by mountains and the bluest of lakes, Queenstown is a small but buzzing place with the addition of a jazz festival in the centre adding to the atmosphere (we timed that well). The scenery cannot be fully captured on a camera, nor can it be sufficiently described in words so I'm afraid to say that if you wish to witness it, you'll have to make a visi…

My Kiwi Experience Part 5: our first hitchhike, first helicopter ride and first time walking on a glacier.

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Everything about our hostel at Franz Josef was great at a first glance. Another hostel dog greeted us (as did the friendly owner bearing alcoholic beverages), the wifi was free, the hot tub was the biggest in the country and the showers were something else complete with hair straighteners in front of each mirror! We were all sleep deprived and mildly hanging from our night before so were looking forward to chilling and having a fairly early night ready for our Helihike the following morning. 
My friend and I thought we'd test the hot tub before we tried out the luscious looking showers. However, this hot tub was far from hot and the jets weren't working. This, added to the fact that an inappropriate couple decided to start getting it on beside us, led to a swift exit out of the tub and into the showers. These also didn't live up to our high expectations. They were luke warm at the highest temperature and quite frankly a bit of a let down. Despite this, we did manage to have…

My Kiwi Experience Part 4: the beautiful south

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Our ferry ride to the south island summed up our time in the north weather-wise - so much rain. Thankfully, when we arrived in the south the clouds lifted and we were welcomed by clear blue skies along our journey to Kaiteriteri. This meant that we instantly HAD to get changed into shorts and vest tops to make the most of this rarity and head to the beautiful beach just outside of our hostel. Despite shivering the entire time, it was nice to look at a sunny view but after half an hour we began moaning to the boys so they'd end their ball game and we could all go in for tea.

I already liked this part of New Zealand and I'm not ashamed to say that this initial love was solely because of the amount of vineyards I saw on the journey. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is one of my favourites so being surrounded by it made me very happy. Vineyard after vineyard. Lush.
While we're on the topic of alcohol I'll discuss a problem we've been having during the trip.…

My Kiwi Experience part 3: the last of the north island

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We set off from Rotorua for a short drive to Te Puia, a geothermal valley home to the southern hemisphere's largest geyser. Apart from the eggy smell which got right into your nostrils and nobody knowing how to pronounce the word 'geyser', it was so cool to see all the mud pools, hot springs and water explosions erupting up to 30 ft above ground. Here, we should also have seen Kiwi birds which I'm desperate to see but they were too busy sleeping so I'm still waiting for that.
We then drove about an hour to Taupo and due to the rubbish weather, everything we intended on doing here (including the crossing) was cancelled so we spent the afternoon playing mini golf. Though you can play this at any tacky coastal resort in England, I had lots of fun and got a hole in one too which was a bonus. 
Next stop was Pac'n'save to load up on beverages for the evening, then back to the hostel for dinner and a few pre drinks before heading out. Another fun, boozy night was ha…

My Kiwi Experience: part 2

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Hungover. Yes, leg two of the kiwi experience began with the world's biggest hangover. I never usually include my poorly states in posts as they're pretty frequent and dull to write about, but this one was something else so I couldn't leave it out. We intended on going for the classic 'couple of drinks' during our night in Auckland knowing full well that we had another early start the next day heading south to hot water beach. However, as always, this escalated rapidly and eleven jugs later, we were smashed and having a very fun time.
When my alarm went off at half 7 the following morning, I hoped and prayed that I was dreaming as I was in no state to be starting my day. Still feeling a little drunk, I had a shower and attempted to get myself together before waking my friend who may or may not have got concussion from her drunken fall. Luckily she woke and, though bruised and cut, was ok and thankfully feeling as awful as me so we could suffer together. In fact, al…

My Kiwi Experience: part 1

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Frozen. I shivered my way from the airport to the city to find my hostel. I was, as predicted, entirely delirious due to skipping a day and on-off sleeping roughly 2 hours on the flight. I always plan it to work perfectly. To sleep when it's night time in my destination country, hoping to arrive slotting nicely into the next time zone. However, this never works which is mostly the airplanes fault. I was sound asleep and then the tannoy blasted out and the lights switched on announcing breakfast. It was 2am New Zealand time. I wasn't best impressed.
My incoherence was instantly noticeable when I thought I'd successfully completed customs; a self serve machine where I answered two questions, scanned my passport and was granted a visa. I grabbed my bag then noticed the long lines and realised that even in New Zealand, they don't let you in that easily. If any of you remember my Australian experience of customs three years ago, you'll know that I declared everything. T…