Monday 9 May: we arrived in Wellington around 5 pm. I was staying in Base the next 4 nights, but was going to have dinner with Johan (Swe) and Carlos (Eng) first. Johan is a chief cook and he promised me that he was going to cook for me before he was flying out of Auckland the next day. First we walked to Downtown Backpackers which was a hostel very close to the ferry. When they were checked in we did grocery shopping and started cooking. Johan was making steak with mushroom/white wine sauce, roasted potatoes out of the oven and a salad with cucumber, tomato, feta, lettuce, avocado, red onion and carrots for us. Carlos and me helped with the cooking and were both watching Johan’s cooking skills all the time, because we are both not the best cooks. When dinner was ready I enjoyed my best meal in the last 4,5 months. When dinner was finished we did the dishes and Carlos and me went to Base which was in the city centre of Wellington. I had to check in in Base first and then we went to the Basement Bar. But because it was Monday there was not
much going on and Carlos went home. I stayed for a few drinks with a German girl called Sonja from the Stray Bus and went to bed.
Tuesday 10 May: Wellington is in my opinion the nicest city of the 3 biggest cities in New Zealand: Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, because of its history, architecture and it’s easy to get your head around it. It used to be the third biggest in population after Auckland and Christchurch, but a lot of people left Christchurch, because of the earthquakes and it became the second biggest. Wellington is also known for its earthquakes and is like Christchurch situated on a folt line. I didn’t sleep very well last night, because in the dorm next to me there were a couple of English people from the Kiwi Experience partying in their room until 4 am. When I wanted to take a shower the next morning the showers were smelling like vomit so I went down to the reception to make a complaint. They said they would clean the showers within the next hour, they would ask the security to tell the people from the dorm next to us to reduce their noise
and they gave me 4 free breakfast vouchers. I used one of these breakfast vouchers already that day and the breakfast consisted of thea, coffee, milk, orange jus, white or brown bread and cereals. After breakfast I asked a map at the reception and walked to the botanical gardens. Johan called me and we decided to meet up for guided tour in the parliament house at 1 pm. When the tour was finished Johan and Carlos went for lunch and I stayed longer to watch question time. After that I walked to the National Library of Wellington and passed the Railway Station, Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul, the Archives and the Westpac (Rugby stadium). When I arrived in the library I asked if they had free Wi-Fi and this was the case so I decided to come back on Thursday to go on internet. I walked back to the hostel (about 1 hour) through Bolton Street Memorial Park and on the way I bought a new jumper at Cotton On. After having noodles for dinner I met up with some people of the Stray Bus at Nomads at 7.30 pm for some last drinks, before they were flying out of
Auckland. We went to a Bar called the Library, but everybody left early because most had to catch the Stray Bus the next morning at 6.45 am. I went back to Base and went to Christian and Alan’s room for some drinks. Then we went to the Basement Bar again where they were showing the Master Series 1000 tennis tournament in Rome. After watching tennis I went to bed.
Wednesday 11 May: I woke up at 10.30 am, because I had to use my breakfast vouchers for 11 am every day. Then I walked to Mount Victoria for a great lookout over the city where I took some pictures. After that I walked to the waterfront, where I had lunch and after that I walked to the Te Papa Museum (NZ biggest museum). I stayed there between 2 and 5 pm and it was great. They had an exhibition about the colossal squid, other wildlife, the Maori culture, earthquakes and an art gallery. After that I walked to a 2 Degrees store (phone company) to ask if I could use my NZ credit in Fiji as well and how it was possible that some people didn’t get my text
messages. Unfortunately the office was closed and I had to come back the next day. Then I walked to the New World supermarket, where I bought egg fettuccine, minced meat and pasta sauce for that evening and the next day. When I came back in the hostel I had dinner and after that I had drinks with Christian and Alan again in their dorm. There were 7 guys/girls in their dorm and after the drinks we took the elevator downstairs. Suddenly we were stuck in the elevator and we had to wait half an hour before an engineer came to get us out. He had to pull us out from a hole in the roof of the elevator, because we were stuck between 2 floors and the doors couldn’t open. We almost felt like we were playing in a movie. We heard that during the week Wednesday was the best day to go out so we started in the Basement Bar, then went to a bar called Establishment and we ended in a club called Lotus.
Thursday 12 May: I used the breakfast facilities in Base again. Then I walked to the 2 Degrees store to ask if I
could use my NZ credit in Fiji as well and how it was possible that some people didn’t get my text messages .The guy behind the counter told me that this was possible, because 2 Degrees is still a very young company and they don’t have agreements with all the providers around the world. He also said I could use my credit in Fiji although the rates would be higher. Then I walked to the National Library to use the free Wi-Fi there. I had a lot of things to do on the internet so I stayed there until 5 pm. Then I walked back to Base and had the same dinner as the night before. In the evening I watched the movie “ the Beach” with Leonardo di Caprio, packed my bags for next morning and went to bed.
Friday 13 May: I enjoyed my last breakfast at Base at 6.15 am and had a spare voucher that I gave to Sebastian (Ger). The Stray Bus to Auckland left at 6.45 am and would arrive in Auckland at 6 pm. We had 2 toilet-stops along the way as usual and stopped for lunch at the Park traveller’s lodge
in Tongariro National Park. There I met Johanna and Hein again and they joined us towards Auckland. When we arrived in Auckland I checked in in Nomads Fusion and then Johanna, Hein, Carlos, Peter (Eng), Karan (Ind) and me went for dinner at Velvet Burger next to our hostel. After that I brought Johanna to the bus stop where her airport taxi came and then I met up with Mandi in the hostel, because we decided to go to the Bay of Islands together for 2 days. We went to bed early, because we had an early start the next morning.
Saturday 14 May: Mandi and me got picked up at 7.30 am by our driver Lucky to go to the Bay of Islands. The Bay of Islands was not part of my Short Max Stray pass, that’s why I had to upgrade with another pass. When we arrived in a small place called Pahia in the Bay of Islands, we checked in around 1 pm at Base Pipi Patch hostel first. We didn’t have much time, because we were going on a boat cruise that afternoon at 1.30 pm to see dolphins, the islands and the hole in
the rock. We really enjoyed that cruise, because the scenery was amazing and we took lots of pictures. We came back around 5 pm and I met Hein, Christian and Alan in our hostel. So funny to see that you keep meeting the same people over and over again. I was really tired so I took a nap for 2 hours. Then I took a shower and joined the rest for a nice bbq. At dinner we met 2 Norwegian girls (Silje and Sandra) and 2 Dutchies (Peter and Martijn) and we had a few drinks after dinner before we went to bed.
Sunday 15 May: we had to leave at 1.30 pm again towards Auckland so Mandi and me decided to take a ferry to a small place called Russell. Russell used to be the capital of New Zealand before Auckland and was famous for whaling. When we arrived in Russell we walked around the waterfront, and found out that a lot of people were dancing and singing on the street. We took a couple of nice pictures and took the ferry back. Then we took the Stray Bus back to Auckland and we arrived around 4.30 pm.
Mandi and me did grocery shopping first and then I checked in at Nomads Fat Camel. We exchanged some pictures and after that Mandi went to a comedy show and I had noodles. After dinner I took the ferry to Devonport (a more historical part of Auckland and close to one of Auckland’s volcanoes). Alana (a girl I met in Sweden during my study in Malmo in 2005) picked me up from the ferry and we went for a drink at a wine bar called Dida’s. After 2 drinks she drove me around Devonport and showed me the beach, a volcano and a house that she owns with her brother. Then she brought me back to the ferry and I took a nice picture of the skyline of Auckland before I took the ferry. I walked back to the hostel and went to bed.
Monday 16 May: Mandi met me at the reception of Fat Camel at 10.15 am and we were picked up by a Stray Bus at 10.25 am for a free city tour in Auckland. We started at the Sky tower which is the highest tower in the Southern Hemisphere, then to went the waterfront and
to the Viaduct where you find some nice bars and restaurants. After that to the Speights Brewery ,where we did some beer tasting and we ended with climbing the Auckland Harbour Bridge where we saw some guys bungee jumping. Around 4 pm the tour was finished and I promised Mandi to help her with some souvenir shopping, because she was almost leaving Auckland. Mandi went home and I enjoyed a complimentary dinner at the hostel (Irish stu). After dinner I decided to go to bed early. I didn’t sleep very well the night before, because the beds where really bad.
Tuesday 17 May: I checked out and the Stray Bus picked me up at 7.30 am to go to Raglan, the most popular surf spot in New Zealand. We spotted some cows along the way and stopped at Bridal Veil Falls to look at the waterfalls. We had a supermarket stop as almost every day and our driver “Saltie” (with some help from a guy from San Fransisco called Derrick) decided to cook for us that evening and he wanted to cook bangers and mash. We all paid our driver 5 NZ dollar for dinner and I also bought
15 Tiger beers with John (Eng) and Derrick (5 each), because the next 2 nights we would be able to bring our own alcohol to the hostels (that doesn’t happen a lot in NZ, because most hostels in NZ like Australia have their own bar and any alcohol that you bring to the hostel will be confiscated). We arrived in Raglan around 1.45 pm and we had to check in quickly, because some of us wanted a surf lesson and they had to be ready at 2 pm. Me and some others had surf lessons in Australia before so we decided to rent a surfboard and wetsuit to improve our skills. It was fun to surf again after 3 months or so and I found out that it was quite tough to get back in to it. The sand on the beach in Raglan is black and the water is much colder than in Australia. After 2 hours of surfing finally I was able to stand up again and to surf some waves all the way to the beach. When we came back in the hostel we had dinner (bangers and mash) and John and I played 2 games of
pool. After that we watched the movie “The Green Mile” with Tom Hanks and drunk a few beers. Finally we went to bed.
Wedneday 18 May: we left Raglan at 8 am and made our way towards Waitomo, famous for its caves and glow-worms. After doing a guided tour there we continued our way to Maketu, where we stayed with local Maori. We had a “Hangi” meal and learned about Maori traditions and modern day Maori in their purpose built marae (meeting house). Our driver already decided in the bus that the oldest guy on the bus (me) was going to be the chief and that meant that I was the leader (responsible) of our group. After dinner I had to tell the group to take their shoes off and then we entered the marae. The Maori tribe performed a war dance for us and after the dance the leader of their tribe would give me a challenge by putting a token on the floor (a leaf). I had to pick it up, but I wasn’t supposed to step over it or let it drop and had to look in his eyes at all times, because otherwise it would
be an insult and then the Maori tribe would attack us. The Maori man that organized the whole thing was 72 years old and he told me that the faith of my tribe was in my hands and if I made a mistake with the challenge we would leave Maketu the same evening and then we had to find accommodation in Rotorua. You can imagine that I was a bit nervous, but in the end everything worked out perfectly well. Then the boys had to learn the Haka (dance from the All Blacks) and the girls learned the Poi (Maori dance with a ball on a rope) and both groups had to show the dance to each other. Then we had a few drinks and went to bed.
Thursday 19 May: we left at 8 am after having toast with marmalade, cereals and tea for breakfast and headed into Rotorua for its smell (geothermal areas). Then we went rafting the highest commercial waterfall in the world. The waterfall was 7 meters high and our raft flipped over so we had to swim back to our raft. We got really wet and had to swim in the fast moving water
of the rapids, but it was so much fun. After that we went to Haku Falls to take some pictures and then we went for a swim in a hot spring. Really relaxing! We arrived in Taupo around 3 pm and drove straight to the Skydiving centre where I was going to do my first skydive. I decided to for 12.000 feet and to go in the same plane as Charlie. Sandra (Nor) took some great pictures, so I didn’t have to buy them, because with every activity in NZ you can buy pictures but they are really expensive. The skydive was fantastic, one of the best things I have ever done. The scenic flight itself was amazing for the view over the biggest lake in NZ (Lake Taupo), Mount Doom (Lord of the Rings) and Mount Ruapehu.I can’t describe the adrenaline you feel when you hang outside of an airplane at such a height. The free fall was amazing and when the parachute opened my instructor told me that I was able to control the parachute myself. When I landed we had to take our gear of and then we took a limousine back to our hostel called Urban
Retreat in Taupo. We decided to go for a meal deal with the whole group and that was chilli con carne. I also did my laundry and we went out with the whole group and our driver to the Element Bar (Base).
Friday 20 May: we left a 9 am and drove around Lake Taupo where we stopped to take some pictures. We followed our way to the Central Plateau, then headed down a windy road into the most remote part of the North Island. Our destination was Blue Duck Lodge, a 9.000 acre high country farm that is both a working farm and an environmental and conservation leader. The activities we could do that day were jet boating on the Whanganui river, horse riding or hunting, but I was so tired of the last days that I decided to chill out, so after checking in I went to sleep for 3 hours. Blue Duck Lodge was a really nice hostel, because everything was made out of wood and the matrasses where really thick. I only went out for noodles in the evening and then I worked on my blog for a while before I went to bed.
Saturday 21 May: we had to wake up really early and departed at 6.30 am. We made our way to the active volcanoes and dual World Heritage area of Tongariro National Park. Today we had the chance to do what is rated as one of the world’s best one day walks- the “Tongariro Alpine Crossing” We arrived at Admit Centre, where we could hire our equipment for the day and I needed a fleece long sleeve, hats and gloves. We all went in a bus and the bus took us to the start of the crossing. The crossing was great and we saw Mount Ngauruhoe (also known as Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings) and Mount Ruapehu. When we came back we had to bring our gear back to Admit Centre and then the bus drove us to our beautiful alpine lodge where we would spend the night. We checked in, had a bacon and beef burger for dinner and then we went in the hot tub.
Sunday 22 May: I decided to extend my stay in this beautiful hostel and to take the stray Bus the next day to Auckland. The beds (matrasses) where very comfortable and
the hostel had a huge kitchen, restaurant, bar, widescreen TV and a hot tub as I mentioned before. I woke up early to book another night accommodation and to say goodbye to the people from the Stray Bus, because I had been travelling with them since Auckland. I also said goodbye to my favourite driver in NZ so far, “Saltie”. He was really funny, new a lot about the country and arranged everything for us. I skyped with my mother, called World Ticket Centre to see if I could change my flight to Fiji (want to leave earlier, because I have seen everything I wanted in NZ and want to have a bit more time in Fiji). They said I had to call back the next day, because there was nobody there who could change my booking. I watched NBA basketball, sorted out my pictures, worked on my blog, had noodles for dinner and watched the French Open (Grand Slam Tennis Tournament in Paris) in the evening. That night we were woken up at 2.30 am, because of a fire alarm. Luckily it was false and we went back to bed.
Monday 23 May: because of the false fire
alarm that woke everybody up in the middle of the night, the reception decided everybody could check out one hour later the next day. So I woke up at 10 am, checked out at 11 am and went on the internet for another hour before the Stray Bus left to Auckland at 12 pm. “Saltie” drove very fast and only took one toilet stop along the way, so we arrived in Auckland at 4.30 pm. I decided to stay in the YHA City hostel, because both Nomads hostels (Fusion and Fat Camel) I stayed in before were not great. I also didn’t want to stay in Base again, because I already stayed there so many nights in Australia and New Zealand. Both Norwegian girls (Sandra and Silje) joined me and after dropping our backpacks I went to a Flight Centre and STA travel to see how much a one way ticket from Auckland to Nadi (Fiji) would cost me. If it would be cheaper than changing my flight to a different date (175 euro) I would have done that, but it turned out to be more expensive. After having noodles for dinner, Sandra, Silje and me went to the cinema
to Pirates of the Caribbean 4. After that Silje went home and Sandra and me went to a 24 hour sports bar to watch the French Open till about 3 am. When I came home I called World Ticket Centre again and I asked if I could fly out the next day and they said I could and send me a pay link. Then I went to bed.
Tuesday 24 May: I woke up at 9 am, because I had to check out at 10 am and would normally fly at 1 pm and that meant I had to be at the airport at 11 am. In the morning I checked my email again and I found out that World Ticket Centre sent me an email that said that they couldn’t change my ticket in the end and that they would transfer the 175 euro back to my credit card. Then I had breakfast with Sandra and Silje and went back to bed again. They went to Waiheke Island just outside of Auckland with the ferry. I slept until 4 pm, went for a run for 1 hour, came back in the hostel, did my laundry, went to the
supermarket and had noodles for dinner. At 8 pm World Ticket Centre opened again (10 hours time difference) and I asked them if they could book me on a flight to Fiji on 25 May. They said they couldn’t make any changes in my booking anymore, because Quantas had taken over my ticket, since they made a change in my flight before between Melbourne and Christchurch. So I called Quantas and they were able to change my ticket to 25 May. Then I went to the Albion Sports Bar again to watch the French Open and saw Nadal beating John Isner in a long 5 set match. When I came home at 4.30 am, Sandra and Silje had to wake up, because their flight was leaving at 7 am. I said goodbye to them and went to bed.
Wednesday 25 May: I woke up at 9 am, checked out before 10 am, took the 10 am airbus to the airport and arrived at the airport around 10.30 am. I checked in at Air Pacific and bought some new headphones with my last NZ dollars at Duty Free. My flight left at 12.55 pm to Nadi.
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