Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heli-Hike Is On!!!

When we looked out the window this morning it was not exactly what we wanted to see but it wasn’t that bad either. We walked to the glacier guide place and they said maybe it would be cancelled but not yet sure! They took us down to the chopper site and got us dressed up and then we heard the choppers coming! It was still a little cloudy over town but the whole glacier was beautiful clear skies and the chopper ride was amazing and got great video of some of the flight! The hike was very cool and while we were up there we saw some massive chucks of the glacier come falling down and you could hear it moving, it was intense! It truly was a truly amazingly great day! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Heli-Hike Cancelled AGAIN!!! so off for a walk!

Our heli-hike was scheduled for noon but was post-pone’d an hour due to low clouds over the glacier! They gave us the option to wait an hour or go tomorrow, we chose to go tomorrow! A choice we hopped wouldn’t bite us in the bum the next day! They were calling for fair weather the next day so we just crossed our fingers! James, Sophie, and I decided to go for a walk to the bottom of the glacier to see what we were to fly up tomorrow! The glacier was pretty spectacular with a river coming out from right under it and waterfalls coming down from all sides of the cliff faces! Jamie and I crossed the sacred yellow rope and went up the hill a little further for an even better view of the glacier! We were all pretty sore after we made it back and we figured we did about 12km’s or so! We went for a soak in the hot tube and had an amazing salad for dinner!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Heli-Hike Cancelled!!! so off to the Glacier Hot Pools!

We woke up this morning to pouring rain and knew right away no helicopters would be flying in this weather so we decided to stay two extra nights in Franz Josef as the weather was to be better the next day. I met two American’s, Grace and Chrissy from New York and went to the hot pools with them and the others would come later. There were 3 different temperature pools, 36c, 38c, and 40c. The environment was very nice with plants and trees surrounding the pools and I spent almost 4 hours in the pools and was very, very wrinkly when I got out! It rained almost the whole day and cleared up in the evening with no clouds in the sky during the night. We played some more monopoly deal which was great!, I need to buy that game!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hokitika Greenstone and Franz Josef

One of the stops we made today was in Hokitika where you can find your own greenstone’s on the beach and guess who was the only one to find one! At least it was the greenest one found! So I say it is a greenstone! It was also a great size too, about nickel size. We made it into Franz at a decent time and everyone decided what they wanted to do the next day. James, Sophie, Alice and myself all decided to do the HELI-HIKE!!! While most of the rest went for the full-day and half-day hikes. The weather outlook was not in our favor but we just hoped for the best. 

Down the West Coast to Greymouth

We stopped a few times on our way down the coast today, one was to see a seal colony on the rocks, another was to see the “Pancake Rocks”, which were rock formations that looked like stacks of pancakes! They were pretty neat and also made everyone crave pancakes for the rest of the day! It was a very nice drive and we arrived into Greymouth to find the Brewery Tour was not running so a restaurant put on a special beer tasting/meal deal for our bus which was great. Later on we played some goofy games and our team won some prizes and a couple jugs of beer! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Abel Tasman Layover

I ended up making a last minute decision and staying behind another two days with 5 english mates I had met, James, David, Alice, Sophie and Megan. We had great weather to sun bake and had a chance to slow down and just relax in paradise for a few days! Had a few delicious “Fat Tui” burgers and went for some walks and a run. I was also introduced to “Monopoly Deal”, this great card game of monopoly with just cards and I won the second game I played!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hang glide cancelled, and off to the beach!

Four of us signed up for the hang gliding, Joel, Avril, Andy and myself. We got picked up early and the lady said the weather was moving in quick. Joel went first and Avril was on her way up when the guy cut her ride short because the wind picked right up! So Andy and I never got to go but it was alright with me because they pulled you into the air by ultralight and didn’t use any wind currents, which is the way I wanted to do it, I’ll just have to wait I guess! So after we got back we played some cards while it rained and then went down to the beach and got sandblasted in our bathers! Haha, good times! Later on that night we had a fire and some drinks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ferry across that Tasman straight

This morning we took the ferry from Wellington to Picton and it was a beautiful day for it. The boat went through some amazing channels to get there and it was great. We drove from Picton to Abel Tasman where we were to spend two nights, Nick, Andy, Marcel and I opted for the “Luxury Camping”, which was just a big tent with some beds! It was nice though, and cheaper!

Monday, November 21, 2011


Spent the morning and early afternoon on the bus making our way to Wellington. Went to Te Papa museum again and it was awesome again! We all went out that night and had a bit of a party and said some more goodbye’s.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

VThe Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Mt. Ngauruhoe(Mt Doom!!!) Side Trip

The Tongariri Alpine Crossing is the most iconic walk in NZ, it is about 20km’s long, starts at 1100m and the highest point is 1886m. It goes through an amazing volcanic area with two active volcanos, Mt Tongariro and Mt. Ngauruhoe (a.k.a. Mt Doom, from lord of the rings) at just under 2300m. The lady on the bus said you don’t have enough time to climb it and it’s very dangerous, so obliviously I’m going to climb it with a mate on the bus, Nick, from Holland! The only two brave enough to attempt it, we were out in front of everyone within minutes and gaining a nice lead. We had 7 house total and just the normal walk said it took 6-8 hours and the Mt Doom summit was 3 hours return and an additional 3km’s or so! It was the hardest climb and one of the most dangerous things I’ve ever done! But so worth it! It was the best view I’ve ever seen in my life and so exhilarating once we reached the summit. The wind was so strong and cold it would knock you to your feet and you had to be very careful. We spent only about 10 minutes up there taking photos and we were on our way down the steep slope. There was a great area with some snow where we were able to slide down on our bums! We totally conquered MT. DOOM in just 2hours, and lived to tell the tale! So after we made it down we had a bite to eat and then it was right back up Mt Tongariro to continue the trek and it was tough that second climb but we powered through and made it to the top without stopping once! And all this before we had even reached the halfway mark, no worries though, we figured we had plenty of time and we did. We caught up with the group and even passed a few, even with a few breaks in there! Thank goodness the place we stayed for the night had a much needed hot tub and good food. What an EPIC DAY!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blue Duck Lodge

The majority of the bus was a little hungover but some troopers still went skydiving over Lake Taupo and we watched some of there DVD’s which were pretty great. We headed to the Blue Duck Lodge, in the middle of peaceful hills and bush where we stayed the night. The next day was the big Tongariro Alpine crossing so it was an early night in some very comfy beds!

Friday, November 18, 2011

VRotorua, Whakarewarewa Thermal Village and Lake Taupo

Our overheat sensor on our bus malfunctioned this morning which held us up for a little bit but I wouldn’t have considered it Stray fiasco #3, we got on our way and listened to the warning buzzer though. I asked Uncle Boy what to do in Rotorua and he said you haven’t properly been to Rotorua unless you go to the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village.  Visiting a thermal village was definitely something that interested me and I went there for a few hours with a couple others. We got there just in time for the village tour and would have liked to go to the thermal spa but just didn’t have enough time. Our next stop for the night was Lake Taupo which was a very scenic place. A funny guitarist came into the hostel and we all partied and had a great time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Waitomo Caves and Uncle Boy’s

Today we were headed to the Waitomo caves and I ended up making a last minute decision to go on the “Honkin Haggas Holes” tour as was so glad I did. We had a great group and ended up meeting some friends I would really like to visit again in Europe one day, Andy from Denmark, Nick from Holland, Martin from Ireland and Avril also from Ireland.  We ab-sailed down 3 different underground waterfalls and climbed, crawled and squeezed through some very tight spaces. I was very intense and I would rate it up there with skydiving and bungy jumping! We stayed at Uncle Boy’s for a true Maori cultural experience. All the guys had to do the Haka, the traditional Maori war dance witch was pretty cool. It was a great night to sleep under the stars and only two of us did!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cathedral Cove, Stray Fiasco #2 and Raglan Surfing

The other major thing to see in Hahai was the “Cathedral Cove” and we were to depart at 7:30 this morning so I got up at 5:00 to jog to the cove and was so glad I did, it was very beautiful and got some great pics because I was the only one there! I made it back with plenty of time to spare and was very glad I sacrificed my sleep this morning. Another guy came to drop off a different bus the night before, a proper orange Stray bus. The only problem was a smaller bus with less seats so there was the “List”, if you were not on the list you were not on the bus! There was a little tension this morning but they ended up getting a van and brought out a little later. So when our bus made it to the hostel the lady says there isn’t enough room at the hostel for everybody and 5 people have to go down the road and stay at another place. So nobody volunteers and the last few people in line including myself and four others ask for something free and they give us surf board hire for the afternoon and the weather was awesome! I did get up surfing again and did hurt my shoulder again! I was glad we changed hostels though because the hostel was nicer and had a better view! I had a big day and slept great!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stray fiasco!

The Stray bus was to pick us up at 7:45, so our driver, Wels comes running up the hill at  8:15, says our names, myself and Susan, a Dutch woman also on the bus. So we walk down and there is this huge white bus that says richies or something? Were like “whatever”, so we get on and the bus is packed full, only a couple seats left, with 2 at the very back where Susan and I sat down.. One of the reasons I booked my ticket was because the brochure said groups of 30 or so, the busses were small orange eco busses and their customer satisfaction is 97%. Ok, so off we go, pick up a few more here and there and we don’t have enough seats on the bus for all the people! We head to the stray office where we get briefed on the booking system and two people have to get off the bus. I hear lots of bickering and complaining from other passengers about various things. We finally get off and out of the city and stop at the supermarket to shop for the big BBQ tonight. Susan and I volunteer to help Wels shop for the BBQ. So we do that and just as we are pulling out a sign he parked to close to hits our window and SMASH!!! Our whole pane of tempered glass cracks, he checks it out, pulls a u-turn and starts back to Auckland! Then as he’s driving the glass starts to move in and out and then some off it falls into the bus, so we yell stop and we pull over and knock it all out so  no more will come in. Then he pulls another u-turn and heads back into town to go to a glass shop, of course everybody is out of town working. So a few of us put up a big piece of plastic for a quick fix. We drove another 2 hours or so with Susan and I standing up the whole time! We did finally get to our accommodation and got to go to “Hot Water Beach” for 30 minutes! A place that would need at least 2 hours to properly experience it. I made the best of it though and was 1 of only 2 that got right into it digging holes in the sand where the water coming through was super hot and made little hot tubes. I would have really liked to stay there much longer but that’s the price you pay when on tourer busses! We all had a big BBQ together that night and a few beverages. It was a very interesting day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Northland RT Day#5 - Muriwai Beach and the Gannet Bird Colony

We had to return the car today and only had about 130km’s back to auckland and headed south where we stopped at Muriwai Beach, which also had blackish sand. There was a little coastal walk we followed and came upon this amazing colony of Mullet birds. There were hundreds of these big birds all making nests on the rocks and flying into the wind zipping right by our heads! It was awesome! It was a great way to end a great road trip. We headed back into Auckland and when we arrived at Scotties there was nobody there to look at the car or give the key to. I couldn’t believe it, we wrote a note and put the key under the mat and took off. Places to go, people to see, you know! We checked into our hostels and went for a couple beers to celebrate a successful road trip and parted ways.