Published: May 22nd 2007May 22nd 2007
Nearly a year on, and our lovely adventure has finally come to an end. Where did we leave you last..?? Oh yes, in New Zealand. From the South Island we took the ferry back to the North Island and started to make our way back up to Auckland where we were to sell the van. Along the way we stopped for a few days in Taupo by the largest lake in Australasia. We canoed around to some incredible Mauri carvings which we discovered were over 30 years old! Another piece of New Zealand's ancient history. The highlight of our visit to the area was the Tongariro Crossing, often described as the greatest one day hike in the country. We waited for a clear day and then headed of early in the morning and set a path for the cracks of Mount Doom. These mountains are where a lot of scenes from Lord Of The Rings were filmed, and Mount Tongariro is in fact Mount Doom! The walk was lovely cutting through steaming volcanic peaks and emerald green lakes. From the highest point you could see from one side of the country to the other which was quite some view.
From there we headed to Waitomo Gloworm Caves. Inside the caves there live thousands of weird worms that glow like stars all over the cave roof. The lazy wrigglers hang in hammock-like webs and hang threads down to catch insects coming in to the cave. When they get one they reel it up and munch away. Once they hatch the glory days are over as they only live 24 hours due to the rather bad design flaw that they become flies with no mouth! There is a bit of mating then...err...death it seems.
Back above ground we drove north for the last time to the gigantic Kauri forests. These native trees are up to 2000 years old and grow to incredible sizes. Standing by their giant trunks was a humbling experience thinking they have been here through so much history. We camped at the local museum where the masts of the Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior ship reside, bombed by the French in 1978 after they protested about Nuclear tests in the Pacific.
And so it was back to Auckland and after 5 days of spending joyous hours at car markets we sold the van for a little under what
we bought it for, which we were very happy with due to the lack of buyers at that time of year. It seem weird to be back in a room not bumping our heads every five minutes or driving around looking for a place to park up for the night. With the van sold we were ready to say goodbye to New Zealand and start the journey back to England.
Now we could have just come straight back but a couple of weeks was on offer in Thailand and it would have been rude not to, wouldn't it?! So we jumped on the plane for 12 hours and arrived in bustling Bangkok. We stayed for a few days working our way through the bumper to bumper traffic to the city's awe inspiring temples. After a couple of days we were ready to get away from the noise and the smog, and bussed out to the Island of Koh Chang for a week on the beach. Despite the cloud and rain, the 35 degree heat meant it was still good to sit on the beach. Unfortunately a growing pain in Tim's teeth became centre stage and before we knew it
we were sitting in the amazingly smart island's dentist. All of Tim's smugness at never having had a filling were swept away and the friendly dentist started the root canal treatment to the sound of classical mood music. We still managed to enjoy the rest of the time including the rather pleasurable experience of riding on an elephant's back as it goes swimming.
With the teeth on the mend and our bags packed it was back to Bangkok and after a extensive shopping trip we boarded the plane for home.
It's been a brilliant year that has taken us through 10 different countries, we have learned so much and had so much fun, thanks for sharing it with us. Unfortunately it has been about the most unenvironmentally friendly year of our lives, so we are off to plant some trees!
See you soon.
There are more photos below