Amy and Ryan

Amy and Ryan

Amy and Ryan

We're embarking on a trip round the world!




In San Francisco we decided to stay 5 nights, and were glad we did as we both really liked it. It was the most interesting place we had been in the US so far and so diverse as a city. Parts of it were really urban, like the typical city, but there were also gardens, beaches and laid-back places where the hippies hang out! While there we saw landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz (though we didn't bother going onto it) and Mrs Doubtfire's house! We also climbed the Twin Peaks to get views of the whole city. The shopping was really good - there were some high street stores, but also really quirky places, a bit like Brighton. The food was also nice - there being a Chinatown and a Little Italy - ... read more
Street chess!
Trams
Harbour


After returning to LA for a night, we caught the Coast Starlight train up the Californian coast to our first stop, Santa Barbara. We only stayed one night here, but had enough time to get a taste of it, walking up and down its pretty streets with lots of small shops and restaurants. The architecture was quite Mediterranean in nature and there were great mountain views which would have been even better if the haze hadn't been so bad. We walked down to the beach and climbed a tower which had impressive views of the town. Leaving Santa Barbara we got back on the Coast Starlight train for a 9 hour journey up to San Francisco, we snaked along the coast and through mountains. It even had a special viewing carriage made mostly of glass for ... read more
Water pump
Courthouse
View from the top

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas April 27th 2010

We got a bus to Las Vegas and found our hostel which was conveniently on the main 'strip'. It was a crazy place with nothing but casinos for miles, each one based on a different theme. There is nothing around it either. You drive for about 2 hours and see just desert and then suddenly you come upon this metropolis! Some even had things like lions, theme parks and circuses in them. It was very interesting to see everyone putting stack loads of money into machines that they would never win! Amy managed to find one machine that she could vaguely understand. She won five dollars to start with but was 25 cents down by the end! Ryan had slightly better luck, using $40 to enter a poker game and coming out with $120!! While there ... read more
Vegas hotels/casinos
Inside!
The biggest casinos

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles April 27th 2010

After spending almost an entire day at Nadi Airport, we got our overnight flight to LA, being frisked, fingerprinted, photographed, all the usual American security. We found our hostel on the Hollywood Boulevard, fortunately being given a four-bed dorm to ourselves (upgraded from 6-bed, lucky us!) for the time we were there to be able to sleep. We enjoyed being the usual tourists and looking at the Kodak Theatre, the Chinese Theatre and the Walk of Fame. The next day we took the Metro to Universal Studios! Amy was pretty much beside herself with excitement. We headed straight for the Mummy Ride and, as we'd got there early, managed to spend an hour going on that and the Jurassic Park Ride repeatedly. We saw some shows and spent the day topping up our tans, as it ... read more
Universal again!
Bags in lockers!
Mummy Ride

Oceania » Fiji » Viti Levu » Coral Coast April 27th 2010

We flew into Fiji from Christchurch and were hit with a wave of heat - nice, as we were getting pretty cold in New Zealand! It was a lot like you would imagine it to be, palm trees and people in flowery tops singing with guitars etc. We thought there were also some similarities to Asia, however, in that some of it was quite undeveloped (eg the supermarkets had their own cockroach population!) Everyone was really friendly and shouted BULA all the time (even out of cars and across the road at you) which is a greeting. We spent a night in Nadi near the airport in a hostel which was almost like someone's house, where they made us dinner and we played with their kittens! The next day we took a bus to the Coral ... read more
Cats
Heavier than it looks...
Typical Fiji house

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch April 27th 2010

Sorry for the delay in blog entries! From Queenstown we caught the bus to Tekapo, via Mount Cook (making the journey much longer!), which is the tallest mountain in New Zealand. It looked quite small from where the bus had dropped us off, but we were apparently still 12km away from it! While we were waiting for the bus we saw the tiniest little rabbits in the world. Tekapo is a very small village - not even having an atm! It was really nice and quiet though and the best place in New Zealand to see the stars. We heard something about them making the sky above it a world heritage site but we weren't sure how true that was. We went to look at them at night and fortunately stumbled across a star-gazing expert who ... read more
Distant Mt Cook
Miniature rabbits
Mt Cook!

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Wanaka April 3rd 2010

We arrived in Wanaka after a week or so of continuous travel around the south island, and decided to stop off here for a while and relax, staying four nights. We stayed in a fantastic hostel which overlooked Wanaka's picturesque lakes and mountains so it was a nice place to recharge our batteries. We did several walks, one up to the top of Mount Iron, which produced more impressive views of the region. We also spent lots of time wandering around the town and sitting by the lake reading our books. Wanaka itself is one of the most scenic and beautiful towns in NZ, as you can hopefully see from the pictures, although they don't really do it justice! We then moved on to Queenstown and again spent 4 nights, walking and relaxing in amongst the ... read more
Wanaka
Mount Iron
Walking  Mount Iron

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Punakaiki April 3rd 2010

From Nelson, we headed west to the coast and then south to the very small town (about 7/8 buildings!) of Punakaiki. On the way we travelled through some pretty spectacular mountains, with lots of low lying cloud - another place where Lord of the Rings was apparently filmed. In Punakaiki we stayed in a bizarre lodge type place which was just set back from the coast in thick rainforest. What was even more strange was the 'stargazer tent' we opted for, which was like a small hut with a bed in and a glass roof which meant you could look up and see the stars at night! We went on a couple of walks, with some amazing rocks and coastline views, including the famous 'pancake rocks' which is a tourist hotspot. After just one night we ... read more
Crazy geology
Rocks
Beach


From Renwick, we got the bus a couple of hours west to Nelson. There we shopped around and booked kayaking at Abel Tasman National Park for the next day. We were picked up at 7am and taken to Marahau, a village (or rather collection of a few buildings) on the border of the park. We met Jack (or 'Jeck') at the kayak office who showed us where we would be paddling and how to survive in a kayak (what to do if it upturned, stopped working, exploded etc). We then got on the water where he stayed with us for a few minutes and then left us to brave the open ocean! We kayaked to the first of two small islands (unfortunately encountering waves on the way so getting a bit damp) and stopped on a ... read more
Kayak!
self-photo
In the sea

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Marlborough April 3rd 2010

We spent one night in Picton, the port which connects the South Island to Wellington. It was a very pretty little place and we did a couple of walks, both with incredible views of the Marlborough Sounds, a collection of inlets which form the northern coast. One particularly was very impressive, and although the walk up was quite an ascent, the view of the town and coast as you got to the top was breathtaking. The next day we moved on to the famous Marlborough wine region and stayed in a small town called Renwick. Surrounding it are about 15 vineyards with miles and miles of grape vines - and all within walking distance from our hostel. We picked 3 which were close and which specifically had free wine tastings! And so we just turned up ... read more
Picton
Coastline walk
Marlborough Sounds




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