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Published: November 15th 2007
Successful Tim Tam Challenge!
And then there were 3....
After our stint in Ozzieland we hit the minty highway and ditched our backpacks in favour of a beautiful 6 berth campervan that we grew to know and love as "Manu"(the Mauri name for "Warrior", cheers Brenny) We hitched up our trousers and got stuck into life on the road as we seperated the "Grey Waste" (the used water from the shower) from the "Black Waste" (from the loo) and trudged through the most unpredictable weather and roads that we have ever met!
Following a road trip to Dunedin and visiting the Cadburys chocolate factory and renting bicycles we headed, laden down with an unmentionable amount of chocolate, on a detoured route to Queenstown. This aforementioned route includes a night in the metropolis of "Gore" (seriously, look it up on the net...www.tourism.net.nz/region/southland/southland---gore/), followed by a breakdown and torn fan belt, swiftly followed by a Hillbilly guided "safety escort" back to Gore to spend what felt like an eternity (but was actually less than 24 hours!)
Upon arriving in Queenstown, 24 hours later than hoped, we hit the town as we prepared to say goodbye to Yvonne and Christopher the very next day. The
Chez Yvonne, our very own beauty salon in the back of the camper!
next day was spent watching Laura and Yvonne jump off a cliff in the form of the "Canyon Swing"....a mind boggling bungy swing type thingy, see photos for just how mind blowing it was! We´re not sure Yvonne has totally recovered!?
And then there were four! Mopping up our tears from our beloveds departure we hit the road again and headed in the direction of the "Fox Glacier". We weren´t quite sure what to expect but after meeting up with our guide in the Pub the night before we were soon psyched up for the day ahead! The next morning, sore heads and wet socks in tow, we not so merrily layered up and headed out into the elements to embark on a 4 hour hike! And what a hike it was! There was sunshine, rain, sleet, hailstones, high winds and everything else that you can imagine possible each hour! We thought that Ireland had unpredictable weather...nothing in comparison to this! Trust us, it was mental. After freezing then sweating and jumping through glacial rivers, up ladders, down steps, on truncheons over a glacier and then back again we recieved our certificate of achievement/insanity and headed back to "Manu"
Our lovely little camper mascot!
for a much needed cuppa... followed by yet another 4 hour journey through mountains and waterfalls to "Punakaki" to see some blowholes and pancake rocks.
To cut this short, the blowholes and the rocks that you see in the pictures do just what they say on the tin, we reckon that our photos sufficiently prove this! And then we were off again, this time heading inland towards Nelson where we embarked on one of our favourite day trips yet....wine tasting! It was soo cool, we went to 3 vineyards and tasted a whole loada wine! We can safely tell you all that we now know our Pinot Noir from our Riesling and our 2005 straw coloured white from our deep bodied late vintage red...we dont really have to guess or pretend anymore, its great!
Our next stop was up to Roratonga where we had a date with Sharon Shannon and her band! We met two of the lads from the band out after the wine tasting in Nelson and they kindly invited us to their gig two days later up in the North Island. Being ladies of leisure we decided that there was a possibility of too much
Laura feeding the ducks on the day of the Earthquakes!
fun to let this pass so up we went on the 5 hour journey north! After hustling for tickets to a sold out show we hiked up our skirts again and showed New Zealand just what Irish music had to offer. The show was great but the craic afterwards with Sharon and the lads was what made it! Talk about an seisiun mor...we still owe Jillers for taking on the responsibility of driving us back to Rotourua the following morning! Lets just say the rest of us couldnt quite speak let alone drive!? Cheers Jillers!
Then came wild Rotorua where we eventually got weather that was good enough to do our Skydive! Yes, we did it, finally! Laura went to 15,000ft (oxegen mask in tow) and Linno and Fi went up and jumped from 12,000ft....em yeah... and Jillers went shopping! Due to an error outside of her control Linno (the dawg) got to go up twice...the second time for free as her cameraman messed up the first time! We also took a dip in the infamous sulphur pools. Now...we appreciate their apparent benefits to our skin but we were waaaay too busy trying not to puke to really notice
Just for Briano...
the glow that we left with! Stttttttinky! Rotten eggs!
The rest of our time in New Zealand consisted of the following (in no particular order):
· Saying a very sad farewell to our dearest Jillian who abandoned us for the High Life in San Fran! We still love ya though Jillers! And miss you lots too!
· Getting literally scared to death when "the locals were shaking our camper van, just for the craic", when it was actually an earthquake! And we didnt even have Garda Christy to keep us safe!
· Horse-riding in Glenorchy to view some of the filming ocations of the Lord of the Rings Movies.
· A traditional Mauri Historic evening of song, dance and grub.
· Relaxing on "She´s a Lady" (our first real sail boat, sails and all!!) with our hot skipper!
· A day trip to Cape Rienga to see the tip top of New Zealand.
· Sand boarding at 90 Mile beach (which is only actually 65 miles long).
· Chilling on the rooftop pool in Auckland.
· Horse-riding up to the Volcanoes in Paihia, Bay of Islands.
· Various Tim Tam challenges.
· Took a "personal day" where we stayed
Fi acting as ´SatNav´!
in bed all day and watched tv while listening to the rain outside.
· Having quite a giggle with Karen wishing her a Happy Birthday over the phone.
And we reckon that unless you have zoned out already, thats all you NEED to know! Our next installment will be the update from Latino Americano! (You can see how our Spanish is improving already!)
Ciao, tua amiga on tour........
Fi, Lin and Laura xxxxxxxxxxx
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