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November 5th 2015
Published: November 6th 2015
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And In The End...Da Da Da.

So here we are, our adventure is coming to an end and is all but over. We've been on our travels for over a year now and it's been a roller coaster ride full of excitement, enjoyment and plenty of fun. It's been an eye opening and educational year full of constant unpredictable situations where we've met and made numerous friends from all over the world. From riding elephants in Thailand to living and working independently in Melbourne to now enjoying traditional Fijian dance (more on that later!), it's certainly been a year to remember.

Tracking back two weeks to when we were still in Queenstown, New Zealand and living in our campervan, we were meant to go luging (similar to go-karting) but due to terrible rain, we opted to go the day after. So nothing terribly exciting happened on the 21st October. The next day was luckily a beautiful day and Yoni, Rudi and I took the gondola (similar to a ski cart) up a massive mountain to get to the top of the track. At the top, there were amazing views of Queenstown with the lake and mountains surrounding the place all in full sight. It was like looking at a postcard. As for the luging, Yoni and Rudi were definitely the better two out of the three of us but we still all thoroughly enjoyed it and had a good time. That evening, we went on a bar crawl which was pretty fun. We got up in the morning and lazed around until early afternoon just chilling out. That afternoon, we had booked to go on a thrill ride jet boat. We had heard that this was a must do in New Zealand and is extremely exciting. We boarded the mini bus to take us to the boat at 3.30pm and the ride was roughly one hour. The journey (like most in NZ) was through and round gigantic mountains which was pretty cool. When we finally got to the boat, we were excited and looking forward to seeing what the fuss was about. Fast forward fifteen/twenty minutes later and we were not impressed. The jet boat wasn't that thrilling at all and was a real let down. To make matters worst, the ride back took even longer as we stopped a few times when no-one could be bothered. All in all, that was probably the biggest disappointment of New Zealand but I guess not everything can be amazing.

After another night out and another lazy morning the day after, we decided to head to the biggest tourist attraction in New Zealand, a place named Milford Sound. Milford Sound is a fiord (a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion) around four hours North West of Queenstown and is apparently repeatedly called the eight wonder of the world. Nine miles inland from the connecting Tasman Sea, it's a breathtaking site of waterfalls, mountains and beauty. We arrived in the area after (I know I've said this many a time) driving an unbelievable journey. It's in such a secluded untouched area of the world that's it doesn't feel like it's real. We arrived around dinner time and found the only holiday park as no one really lives in the area. We had booked to take a boat cruise for 9.15am the next morning so after unsuccessfully trying to make a joint top twenty best Beatles song list (it was too hard!), we went to bed at a reasonable time with the rain coming down hard the whole night. Luck was on our side when we awoke as it was lovely and sunny the whole of the next day. The boat cruise lasted only two hours but was certainly worth the trip. Due to the heavy rain the previous night, the waterfalls were flowing hard which added to the wow factor of the place. After a quick lunch, we decided to head back to Queenstown as there is nothing else to do in Milford Sound. The ride back took the whole afternoon so we got back to Queenstown in time for some dinner. As it was our last night in QT and we had been there for so long, we wanted to make it a big one and it started off well with loads of people joining in the cards drinking games in the hostel before everyone headed out together. Overall, we really enjoyed Queenstown, it's a place full of young people with plenty of parties but also having a serious side to it with its scenery and beauty.

A late wake up was always going to happen but we were in no real rush and left QT just after lunchtime. Our next stop was a place called Lake Tekapo. The name kind of gives it away, but all that is here is a massive lake which is meant to be very pretty. I say meant to be as we never actually got to see the lake up close due to a bit of laziness and also how many lakes can we see! All we did in Lake Tekapo was watch a film in the evening and then listen to a TalkSport radio podcast. We had to leave the place relatively early the next day as we were to do our final drive which was going to take four hours or so. Sadly, we had to return the van in Christchurch by 2pm that day. The journey to Christchurch was actually very standard and dull in comparison to all the other roads we had previously taken. This was also to be mirrored when we got to Christchurch as to no fault of its own, the city looks ruined, grey and really beaten up. The earthquake which hit the city in 2011 and taking down over one thousand buildings in the city centre has naturally really damaged the look of the area. The scars are everywhere as every turn you make in the city, you see some sort of construction and recovery work going on. Th place is full of cranes, men in high visibility jackets + hard hats and road closures. Unfortunately, the two days we spent there the sky was full of grey clouds and light rain. The first thing we did was return our home for the last month, the campervan. We had such an amazing time travelling around the whole of New Zealand in it that it was sad to say goodbye. We didn't do anything at all in Christchurch as there really is nothing to do. After one night, we met Rudi again after a week apart and had breakfast with him. Very kindly, he offered to drop us off at the airport afterwards as our flight to Auckland was at 2pm. I'm sure we'll see him again though as he's only from Amsterdam and we all got on really well. The flight back up to the North Island was only short and went smoothly. What was to come though, was anything but smooth...

Whenever I go to the airport and see people sleeping on the floor or on the benches, I always think thank god that's not me. It always looks so uncomfortable and boring. Well now it was our turn to be one of those people and to make matters worse, we were staying the night at the airport by choice! We got to Auckland at roughly 6pm and being at the end of our trip, money is now coming to an end. Our flight to Fiji was at 9.30am, the next day. This meant leaving the airport, staying a night at a hostel and then coming back to the airport early in the morning would cost roughly 50pounds (no pound sign on these keyboards!). So instead, we stayed the night at the airport. It was dull and slow but it could have been worst. It was however, freezing when we slept on the floor without any blanket and neither of us slept much at all. Anyhow, by morning, we were up and ready (and very early) to board our flight to the final destination of the trip, Fiji.

The flight was three hours and went along quickly. We were greeted after getting off the plane by humidity we forgot existed and similar to South East Asia and also a band of Fijians playing guitar and singing stereotypical South Pacific Island music. We had landed in Nadi which was the second biggest city on the mainland after the capital, Suva. It did take quite a while getting our bags and then making it through passport control, but once we did, we were picked up by a driver from our hostel and were given a free ride to our accommodation. The drive took only twenty minutes, but during that time, we knew we were a world away again from Australia, New Zealand and of course, home. The heat was soaring and although not as third world as places we visited in South East Asia, it did have a feel of being in an alien place. A real foreign country. The majority of the population live on the two mainland islands but there are hundreds of smaller resort islands which own the painted picture of Fiji being a paradise place. We were staying in Nadi for two nights before heading out to a resort island for four nights. After checking in at the hostel, we decided, with a Russian girl we had just met, to check out the city centre. As soon as we made it to the centre, we instantly learned that Fijian people are the most friendly, laid back and positive people you will ever meet. There really are no worries here, everyone is happy. We had a real Fijian experience in our first afternoon as after Yoni being denied entry into a big pub due to being topless, a local man offered him his t-shirt for free so Yoni could get in. He did look very sweaty but Yoni was happy to take it. Once we were inside, everyone was offering us a glass of their beer and all being so friendly. It wasn't dodgy or shady at all like it had been in SE Asia. We made friends with two local guys who were educating us about Fiji. It was quite a funny picture, the three of us inside this very local pub with all the locals. Anyway, that afternoon, our new Fijian friends were showing us the cheapest places to get food and drinks which was handy. We then took the bus back, a bus with no windows which was perfect as it is so hot here and relaxed for a bit at the hostel. Everywhere you go in Fiji, you are greeted with a big 'Bula' which means something like hello or freedom. Everyone says it to you whether you are walking down the street or browsing in a shop. The people here really are the most happy people I think we've met.

We went out that night to a local bar which was a good laugh before heading to bed. Just before going out though, we did meet one of the most crazy people we've met so far (and we've met our fair share), an American man guy from New York called Ken who was sixty two years old. He was staying in our room and clearly had a screw loose. He just would not stop talking and went on and on about rubbish for ages. Very odd guy. We just chilled out on the beach the whole of the next day but that evening, we had been invited by the Fijians to a local music concert. It was an array of different musicians from all over Fiji celebrating local music. Well, we went with Lilia, the Russian girl and the three of us were the only white people in the whole stadium. We clearly stood out! The music was hit and miss, some terrible, some okay and a few good songs. It was worth going to though and we felt in our two days in Nadi, we had had a real Fijian experience embracing the locals rather than staying at the hostel. We were up at 6.30am the following day as it was time to get the boat to an Island. The boat journey took three hours and we both fell asleep during the ride. When we got to the resort, it was midday and the sun was shining. We checked in and went to the restaurant for some lunch. That afternoon, the weather became overcast and the sun was hidden. In the pictures of the island, the sand had looked amazingly white and paradise like. However, the beach we were on was very pebbly and nothing like we had imagined. Yoni, more so than myself was upset about this but there was nothing we could do. We got involved in a big volleyball match later on and after a good dinner, we were told the staff were going to be putting on a show of traditional Fijian dancing. So the show went ahead and it was pretty good, lots of singing and warrior like dancing in their local clothes. Anyway, at the end, they try and get everyone involved and come into the audience to get you to dance with them. At this moment, some people jumped up at the chance and some people avoided all eye contact and backed away hoping not to be picked on. Yoni and I were in the group of the latter. That was until, one of them pretty much forced as up and got us doing some funny looking hip shaking dance. That was fun but nothing on what was to come. After that, the very camp, very enthusiastic dance leader, announced we were to do the snake dance. Everyone got in a line, similar to a conga dance and the leader at the front does a dance move and everyone copies him. He constantly changes his move and everyone does the same. This was actually really fun. All I could hear the whole time was Yoni non stop laughing at how funny this would be if anyone saw this.

The next day was a really hot clear blue sky day. Further, the pebbles that were there the previous day had vanished and the beach was looking a lot more paradise like. That whole day all we did was relax in the sun, reading, listening to music and playing cards with two girls we'd made friends with. Early evening, the four of us kayaked to another part of the island and chilled there for a bit before heading back for a really good and filling dinner. There isn't too much to write about the following day as it mirrored the previous day. That is however, until dinner time when whilst eating our food, Yoni felt something going by the colour browny/black drop into his hair. There are lizards all over the ceiling of the restaurant and it didn't take a genius to work out what had happened! Very funny for me, very unfunny for Yoni. He had to run to the toilet and then the shower to go clean his hair! Our last full day on the island was spent like all the others and our last night we got to see the Fijian dance show again and this time thoroughly embraced it. We left the island just after lunch the next day and could have happily stayed longer if it wasn't so expensive. We got back to Nadi by dinner time, got a bite to eat and went to bed relatively early. Once again in Nadi though, we did end up with a crazy American in our room, this time a much younger guy from California who just would not speaking about nothing really. He was nuts too. We haven't met many Americans at all while we've been away but the ones we do seem to all be mad. I think we've learnt that they are just so different from us. So open and the ones we've met, annoying.

We're now down to our last two nights. Both to be spent in Nadi. We leave on the 8th at 4pm and arrive home at 12pm on the 9th. It's going to be a long long journey, but one we've accepted is to come. We're both mentally ready to come home now and can't wait to see everyone. I wouldn't say it's been a life changing year as we both return with the same goals and outlooks but it has without doubt been a truly remarkable year filled with so many memories. We haven't argued once and have lived under each others noses this whole time, so it's going to be weird not being tied together at every second when we get home. On the whole, we've had the time of our lives and have enjoyed any minute of it. Like I said, it's certainly been a year to remember.

'And In The End, The Love You Take Is Equal To The Love You Make' - that's a pretty good quote to finish on I think.


6th November 2015

Thanks for letting us hear about your amazing year!! Safe journey home and good luck for the next chapter! X
6th November 2015

end blog
what a wonderful blog again great to read. look forward to seeing you both. where did that last quote come from? it sounds familiar!!!!!!! love dad xx
6th November 2015

Home time
Fantastic from first blog to last. Gonna miss reading them but you coming home is better xxxxx

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