Published: February 14th 2008February 10th 2008
We started travelling north to Napier and made a quick stop at a wildlife center. I haven't seen a real Kiwi and I couldn't leave NZ without seeing one. The bird is much bigger than I thought, really funny when it moves about and it doesn't fly!
Napier was much bigger than I thought. It is the art deco city of NZ but after taking many tours and activites I didn't want to do much. Napier had some nice scenery. We were only there for a day and I'll remember Napier for the night out than the scenery.
As soon as I arrived here, I started preparing for the thing which I had been waiting for a long time. The sky dive!!! Off to the airport I go. On the take off there were some really beautiful views of lake Taupo with different shades of blue visible. Suprisingly I was calm about the whole experience and actually looking forward to jumping off the plan than getting nervous. I was enjoying the plane ride. Did the 15,000 ft dive. As the door opened the cold wind came thundering, we somersaulted forwards into the sky. Exhilarating and the
air came rushing in a massive cold blast, I can't describle the feeling but the first few seconds of the dive were absolutely fantastic. I know it sounds silly but I just kept falling and accelerating without end until I got to the point I started to enjoy the view. We did few spins and after few seconds the parachute opened and we slowed from fanatic free fall to a gentle pace. Then it was very silent and still after the frantic noise of the free fall. The parachute was actually really fun too. The instructor did a few spins on the way down which was almost as fun as falling down. The free fall is suppose to be 65 seconds but to me it seems like 8-10 seconds. Awesome!
Tongariro Alpine crossing. aka, The road to Mordor, aka Mt Doom. It's not long before Lord of the Rings gets a mention in NZ. We did this day hike and we did not know what we were getting ourselves into. When we got near the tongariro national park, we were give a info leaflet and I thought the info was hilarious. Our first part of the trek was to
cross a section called "Devils Staircase". The info sheet read "you'll find out why we call it this when you get there". And very appropriately named as we were in not happy on how much we had to climb during the trek. Once done climbed the devils staircase we were at the base of Mt Doom, the live volcano lacked menace without the special affects from the movie. There was an option to climb it "if you found devils staircase easy". Needless to I was quite happy to skip this side track and the rest of the fellowship agreed.
The next big climb was to the Red Crater Ridge. The info sheet at this point, section can be scary as strong winds may push you around and you may need to be on your hands and knees. Don't walk too close to the edge of Crater because if you fall in you will not come out. I think it was more a case of if you call into the Crater you'll die. Anyway, we struggled to the top of the Crater and were rewarded by awe inspiring views. Perhaps this trek was worth it after all. We were not
warned about the extreme weather conditions before choosing to do this trek but we were very lucky as it had been sunny and clear. The trek was really tough but fun and enjoyable. Some amazing views and I have never been to a volcanic landscape. It was a big steamy up there and you could smell sulphur. Next was the past the crystal clear lakes and through the rain forest.
Talking of Sulphur, the smell didn't get any better as we travelled towards Rotorua . On the way we stopped by a mud pool. It's just like a mud pool with boiling sound and bubbles, funny.
Kio Ora! In the evening we went to Tamaki Maori Village. There was a traditional welcome ceremony and performance, songs and history of the Maori people. It was really fun and at the end there was suppose to be a traditionally-cooked feast from our earthen ovens. I doubt it this was true but the meal was really nice considering we all have been eating bread and pasta.
Rotorua smells of Sulphur sometimes. We got up in the morning thinking the room smells but later found out it's
the town. Next was a visit to Wai-O-Tapu, thermal wonderland, geothermal activity. We saw champagne pool, geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground and volcanic craters!
Next overnight stay at Mt Mangauni. It's actually a town popular for surfing and the beach. We went for a walk on the beach and the rocks. This place is like a holiday resort and commercial.
I went to Waitomo before my last stop. Waitomo is famous for the Glowworm Caves... Spooky experience... It's very dark in the caves and we went into the raft but most of the time it was pitch dark. All we can hear was few splashes but see glow in the dark. The worms looked like little stars in the blackness of the caves. We took a boat through the caves and the ceiling was sparkling like the night sky above. The light from the little worms seem to bend a little as we were passing the cave on the raft. Really nice. We weren't allowed to take pictures so no pic of the glow worms.
Driving in the Auckland for our final leg of the trip was depressing. This brings my trip with Magic bus,
a.k.a tragic bus to an end. Later on I met up with few people I had been travelling with and went to party to say goodbyes. I am staying in downtown and it feels strange to be in a big city again. Most of the time in NZ I had been in small towns or cities and this place doesn't feel like the N.Z I know.
Today I did the Auckland Harbour Bridge climb. Being on the bridge, I thought I'll take this opportunity to jump off it! The bungy was here, wasn't really prepared for it but I guess it's better that way as you don't spend much time worrying about it. I was all ready to go. I walked to the end of the platform edge and it was terrifying. Funny how things start to look even higher when you're about to jump off the platform. 3,2,1.... err.... what am I still doing on the platform. Then what the hell, off I went... air whistled past my ear and big adraline rush as I acclerated towards the water and then stopped followed by few energetic bounces. No one else seemed to be inspried by the jump and
I ended being the only crazy person jumping off the bridge in the group.
It has been a fantastic trip. What a journey and adventure. N.Z is really beautiful and has stunning scenery. There are also endless activities you can do and if you're an adrenaline junkie then this place must be heaven. I am sad to leave N.Z and was sad when we arrived in Auckland. Having done the bungy, I am ready to leave Auckland.
There are more photos below