Hi guys, as we are so far behind we are going to condense the last few weeks of New Zealand...
Starting from where we left, we went to Akaroa which is a small French settlement about 1 1/2 hours from Christchurch. Its a cute place with some really quirky shops and buildings and when we arrived there was a local cricket match on.
The drive there and back was through windy hills and it was hard not to feel sick! We spent the rest of the day in Christchurch and the evening with our new friends at the campsite. It was fun and an even later night!!
28/2/09. We left for Kaikoura and after 3 hours we arrived. It was raining heavily and there were storms predicted for the whole weekend -fun fun fun... We wend into town and checked the dolphin swim was on but no-one knew. We had a look around the shops and found a cool clothes shop and had a laid back evening.
01/03/09 We spent the night listening to the storm blow our tent around but it was still standing in the morning!! At 4 am it went quiet, the wind had stopped and we woke up to a clear sunny day. Hurray..
We got ready and left by 8am to the Dolphin swim only to be told it was canceled. As we were walking around we saw Kerstin and Andreas whom we met in Christchurch so we all went for coffee and drinks and spent the afternoon and evening with them. There was a stunning sun set that we watched from their motel. They were booked on the same dolphin swim and had decided to book in for a seal swim instead so we did the same.
02/03/09 Today we got up early again and met Kerstin and Andreas and we went swimming with the seals. It was brilliant. We then drove on to Nelson.
We spent the next couple of days doing the Abel Tasman walk, it's a rain forest walk along the north coast of the South Island - beautiful beaches, rain forest, sun.... We finished in Picton to catch the ferry over to Wellington, it's a nice trip through the Marlborough sounds.
We spent the weekend with Emma's old primary school friend,Phernne and her brother Guy, it was great to catch up after 16 years!! Wellington was nice, a quiet City. On the Sunday we went to Te Papa the Maori museum and spent the afternoon watching a Jazz Festival.
We left on the Monday to do the Tongariro Crossing however the weather wasn't looking too good. The next day when we went it was ok but 2 hours into the walk the heavens opened and the visibility was awful so we gave up and went back t the car - it was a shame as the Emerald Lakes and the Volcano are a must see - next time...
We carried on up to Rotorua, we had a few days here. On the Friday we went Zorbing, this Is where you get inside a big rubber ball with or without water and get pushed down a hill - strait and zigzag! Fantastic fun!! That evening we went to a Maori evening, we ate the traditional Hangi meal ( gorgeous ) and walked through the sacred woods and saw a performance of their traditional songs and dances. They also explained about the tattoos, weapons and instruments. Overall and Great night.
On the way up to Rotorua we got to see the thermal pools and mud pools as well as Huka Falls. We even got to spend an evening in a natural hot spring with a waterfall leading into the river. It was boiling hot and free!
On the way to Cambridge to see Phernne's parents, we went to the Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms. Magical, another must see!
We stayed with Carol and Peter for the weekend and on the Sunday we went to the Coromandel Peninsula to see Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. Hot water Beach is a natural beach and when the tide goes out there is an area where boiling water seeps up through the sand. You can dig small pools and you have a free spa pool! And they don't smell of sulfur!!
We left on the Monday to the Bay of Islands. We stopped of along the way at Whananaki, the most beautiful Doc campsite right on a secluded beach. The next day we went to the Bay of Islands, apart from this being the place of the Scared Signing of the Treaty between the Maori people and the British Empire, there wasn't much here. It was a beautiful area with cafes and pubs along the beach front but not what we were expecting!
After a couple of days we drove over to the other side of the Peninsula, we stayed in a Doc campsite and went for a walk in the woods in the evening to spot the Kiwi's as there were lot's here. We weren't expecting to see them as they move very fast and we could hear them, but we tagged on to a small group of people and after a 15min wait we got to see a female and she stayed close by for about 10 - 15 mins!! Fantastic!
We then went down to Auckland and had a day there, it's a big city! We got all our things together, cleaned our tent as we didn't want it taken off us arriving back in Sydney!!!
Then on Saturday left. Overall we had an amazing 6 weeks in NZ, so much to see and do, the scenery is breath taking and both islands are so different! An amazing place...
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