The End of OZ, Hello New Zealand

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October 5th 2015
Published: October 6th 2015
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Hello all the way from New Zealand! This is the furthest away from home we'll ever be as we're currently roughly 11,500 miles away from Stanmore, Middlesex, HA7! Since the last blog, we've said goodbye to Australia after spending and thoroughly enjoying nine months there and have moved on to the North Island of New Zealand after arriving on the 30th September. Our plan in NZ is to spend a month here, travelling from top to bottom. Our method of transport is also our accommodation as we have rented a campervan for the month we are here. I'll get to NZ later on but will track back a couple of weeks ago to when we were in Queensland, Australia.

So, after finishing our trip on Fraser Island and the next day being a recovery day, we boarded our bus to Airlie Beach, from where we were going to do our next trip to a place called Whit Sundays. The bus was an overnight journey which lasted around twelve hours. As bad as it sounds, it wasn't actually too terrible of a journey and we arrived further north in Airlie Beach around mid-morning. By chance, our mates from Carlisle were also on our bus and on our Whit Sundays tour. The weather in Airlie Beach was perfect and we spent the day in the sun chilling by a beautiful lagoon. That evening, we went out and had a fairly decent night but nothing too amazing. Whit Sundays is a group of seventy-four beautiful islands off the coast of Queensland and our bus picked us up at 2pm the next day to take us the boat we would be boarding. The company we were doing the tour with had had some terrible reviews of people we had previously met who had already done the tour so we were a bit worried about that, but there were around sixty people in our group and we knew a fair few other people from meeting and making friends along the way so we were still expecting big things from the two night tour. We hopped on the boat in the afternoon (I had taken my travel sickness tablet!) and began the two hour boat ride to the island our resort was on. The weather was beautiful and no-one really wanted to get off the boat when we arrived. After being given our rooms (Yoni and I got put with two young German guys), we had a bit of chill time being heading down for dinner and drinks. The first night was a good laugh, with Yoni taking control of the drinking games by leading the horse-racing game we now love. The worst thing about these tours are the early morning wake ups and the next day was no different with the wake up being 7am. After a small breakfast, we boarded the boat and began making our way to another one of the islands. This journey was nothing like the first as everyone was hung over and tired. To make matters worse, the water was so choppy and bumpy. Anyway, that day still turned into an enjoyable one as we were taken to a beach named White Haven beach which is meant to be one of the best beaches in the world. We chilled at the beach in the afternoon, whilst in the morning, we had gone snorkelling. I've got to admit, the snorkelling was pretty average and wasn't the best of fun as we saw hardly any fish and the water was way too aggressive to enjoy it. However, that night was extremely funny. It started off with a good dinner, before Yoni and I had to go back and have a little power nap as we were both feeling shattered. We came back feeling fully refreshed and got back just in time for karaoke to start. We had a solid group of twelve people we were chilling with and the girls had all signed up the sing while none of the guys had. After laughing and watching others embarrass themselves, we were both extremely shocked and surprised when the woman in charge yelled out 'And next up are the London boys, Sam and Yoni singing Help!' Everyone had thought it would be a good idea to sign us up while we had gone to sleep without us knowing! Anyway, we weren't too upset about doing it and gave it our best go. We even got a few compliments on how good we were! We must have actually really enjoyed it as we went up again with our German room mates and sang a German song in English with them. That one wasn't as good as 'Help!' but we still enjoyed trying it. We left Whit Sundays the next day after having another really good trip. We made a solid group of friends and was well worth our time heading there.

We got dropped back to Airlie Beach in the afternoon and stayed an extra night there. The following morning, we got up, had a very quick breakfast and then got a cab to the coach station as we had another twelve hour bus ride. Again we were heading further north, this time to a place called Cairns. It was to be our last new place we visited in Australia before leaving. We arrived to very muggy evening weather and found our hostel. As soon as we got to the door, we knew this hostel was a mess of a place. They hadn't recorded our booking for a start and after a good thirty minutes of the night manager (who was clearly drunk) fussing around, he gave us our room. However, he couldn't find our key which meant only the master key would open the door which we weren't allowed to have. We were meant to be staying three nights in this hostel but quickly told him one night would be enough! That evening, we found a place to watch the Tottenham - Man City game and went to bed straight after that as we had to be up early for our snorkelling and scuba diving trip.

A few weeks ago, I got a very kind message from my Grandpa offering to pay for both Yoni and I to go and visit the Great Barrier Reef. We obviously gratefully accepted and booked in a tour where you could scuba dive as well as snorkel. We boarded our boat at roughly 8.30am. The crew were all really friendly and energetic and we could tell early on that the day was going to be a success. The boat ride however, was by far the most rocky journey we had ever been on. People were constantly throwing up! We both survived the ride though and the boat stopped off on the Reef after a two hour trip. We gave snorkelling a go first and it was so much better than the first time we had tried it. For starters, we could see loads of the Reef and plenty of fish. We also weren't getting sea water in our eyes and nose every thirty seconds. Plus, as a bonus, the water was lovely and warm. It got round to our turn to try scuba diving and we were in a group of four. The other two in our group didn't really take to it too well and struggled. Yoni also kept having problems after at first being okay with it. Anyway, our go was over before it really began and we hadn't got too deep under water at all. After a really good lunch, you could try a second dive for around 25 pounds. I thought I hadn't had a great go first up and knew I would enjoy it so paid the fee to go again. It was hugely worth the money! I was under the water for a good thirty minutes and saw so many different fish, loads of the really colourful reef and best of all, I saw two sharks! I really enjoyed it as it was nothing like I had ever tried before. After going snorkelling again, we got back on the boat and chilled in the sun. The last forty five minutes of the boat ride back were actually hilarious. One of the crew was singing and playing his guitar and was extremely funny. There were a fair few people on the boat from China who didn't really speak much English. Many of them were clearly tired and could not be bothered for his singing and playing. He was making all sorts of jokes about them without them knowing which was hugely entertaining for us and also funny as something like this would clearly never happen in England! The day was extremely pleasant and we got back around 5pm and checked into our next hostel. We had planned to stay with the Carlisle lads as it was the last night we would all be together before they headed home. So we wanted to make sure it was a night to remember. ...

We had been travelling with the three boys for around two weeks now and had really gotten on well with all three of them. So it was kind of sad that we were parting ways. We knew that the night was going to be a whole lot of fun but we didn't anticipate we would all end up going out for the night as girls! We were having a few drinks in our room when we opened the door after a knock. It was one of the hostel workers telling us about how it's ladies night tonight and girls get free champagne. Yoni and I are convinced she also said if we dress up as girls, we also get free champagne. Well, once the idea was in our heads, we thought we had to for a laugh! The girls in our room offered us their dresses and lipstick to wear which was very kind of them. Yoni and I were happy to go along with the idea but the three tough Northern lads were completely against it. We finally won them round and if you haven't seen the pictures on Facebook, I highly recommend you do so if you want a good laugh! When we entered the club, we assumed other guys would have dressed up as it was encouraged. However, when arriving at this massive club with probably 500-1,000 people, us five were the only men dressed as women! It was a pretty crazy night after that and no-one really remembers too much!

We got up the next morning and said goodbye to other three (who ended up missing their flight to Sydney and had to pay 300 pounds each for a new one!). The rest of the day for Yoni and I wasn't too interesting as we mainly chilled in the sun. It was however our last full in Australia as we had to be up at 4am for a flight to Brisbane from where we would be taking our flight to Auckland, New Zealand at 6pm. So, our last night in Australia was nothing overly exciting and I think we were in bed by 10pm. The wake up at 4am was obviously horrible but we managed and got to Brisbane by mid morning. The whole day was then spent at the airport bored and tired waiting for our flight. By the time it came, we had come to terms that we were leaving Australia for good which felt weird as we had been living there for so long. One chapter was ending whilst another adventure was only just beginning.

The flight went smoothly (was surprisingly over two hours) and we got out the airport in the late evening/early morning. It was quite a long process getting through passport control and with NZ being three hours ahead of Australia, it was all of sudden 2am when we arrived at our hostel. Of course, there had to be a drama though! When we getting off our stop for our hostel on the bus, Yoni realised someone had mistakenly taken his big main backpack. All his clothes were gone! Just our luck and at this time as well. Luckily, the driver was helpful and took Yoni's contact details so he could call him if any news of the backpack came his way. All we wanted to do was sleep and just as we were getting into bed, the driver contacted Yoni saying his bag has been returned and he will drop it off at 3.30am. So we had to stay up another forty five minutes waiting for him to return the bag. All okay in the end, but not the start we wanted to NZ!

We got up late in the morning and began our trip in New Zealand. It was mainly overcast and we spent the day in Auckland city sorting out a few bits and bobs. That night, for some reason, we were both completely shattered again and went to bed before midnight. So not the most exciting start to NZ. To be fair, although it's the biggest city in New Zealand, Auckland isn't the most exciting place. Our plan was to get out of Auckland after waking up but after visiting the travel agents, we were told we wouldn't be able to pick up our campervan until the next day. We did though, sort out all our activities we wanted to do while we were visiting NZ. We've booked to do some pretty crazy stuff: a skydive from 16,500 feet, a cliff jump from 300 feet, an eight hour ice hike in the mountains, white water rafting, black water rafting and a trip to an ice glacier. So New Zealand will definitely start to get more exciting soon!
Our last night in Auckland, we went all out and had a crazy, long night. Getting up early to pick up our van was not fun but we managed and we were finally on the road by lunchtime. We had our van! Again, please see Facebook for a picture of it, it's pretty cool and is full of graffiti with Batman being the theme of the van.

We started our journey by driving three hours north to near the top of the North Island to a place called Paihia. We were very tired by the time we arrived due to a lack of sleep the night before and the weather wasn't great. Paihia is a pretty beach town and during our time there, we saw three of the most clear and amazing rainbows we have ever seen in our lives. We found a campervan site to park up for the night. As soon as we sorted ourselves out, down came the rain. And it didn't stop. The whole evening it poured, thundered and lighting which meant we couldn't really do too much. We got up early the next day and went to a waterfall we were recommend to visit. We brought our breakfast with us and sat and had our wheetabix next to a waterfall. We were clearly very far away from home now and it felt like it. After breakfast, we drove most of the day heading East to a place called Hot Water Beach. We've been told numerous times that we'll see the most amazing scenery (more so in the South Island) during our time here and during that drive, we weren't disappointed. We drove through forests and mountains and saw some amazing views. Not only did we go past amazing scenery of grassy mountains and beautiful sea views, we also drove past hundreds and hundreds of farms filled with cows and sheep. So far, we have seen so many cows and sheep it is crazy!

Hot Water Beach is a beach where there is lava underneath the sand and if you dig into it, the water is boiling hot. So when you arrive on the beach, all you can see is hundreds of people sitting in little trenches they've dug to bath in the hot water. It's quite amazing and hard to describe but it was well worth going to. We tried digging our own hole but couldn't get hot water, so instead pluncked ourselves in someone else's hole they had dug. We chilled in the hot water for about two hours before heading back to our base. Again, that evening we chilled and got an early night. In the morning, we went on a hike we were told to do through a place called Cathedral Cove. The walk was around an hour and a half was we did it in the boiling hot sun. After we finished, we grabbed some lunch and started the drive to the next town we had been told we had to see. It was a town on the west coast called Raglan and was five hours away. As soon as we pulled into the town, we knew there was nothing much here. It's a world famous surf town so doesn't appeal to us. We spent a night there and that was one night too long! Again, we got an early night as the driving really does take it out of you. A 9am alarm woke us up the next morning and we quickly got out of Raglan to go south to another small town named Waitomo. One major difference between Australia and NZ is that most of the places here have Maori names while in Australia, the majority of the towns have English names. As we have no sat-nav and are using manual maps only, it can be very confusing looking out for road signs (example - we want to find Waitomo but see a place called Wahamoto!). Anyway, we got to Waitomo at lunchtime and were booked in to do our first activity - Black Water Rafting.

We really had zero idea what to expect of black water rafting but we were excited to see what the fuss was about. Most of the group we were in were Asians who all spoke no English. The other two people were from the US and the poor girl looked like Andy Pipkin from Little Britain (YC's shout, not mine!). But yeah, just our luck, not the best group we could have been given. Even so, we had a great afternoon. You're taken into a cave with waterfalls inside and navigate your way round the cave in a rubber hoop. The water was freezing and it's pitch black down there! You have a headlight but it's still very dark. Plus, the water is constantly streaming through making it a real challenge to go through the cave. The cave is famous for its glow worms which light up the cave. All in all, we had a lot of fun. Once again that evening we just chilled out as we had a busy day planned when we got up.

That day is today and first up, we drove a couple hours to a place named Mata Mata where we visited The Hobbiton which is a film set where The Lords Of The Rings and The Hobbit films were filmed. Although I had seen none of the films and Yoni only a few, it was still pretty interesting to view. The set had such a high attention to detail it was impressive. I think it would have been better if I had seen the films but even so, it was worth the visit. Then in the afternoon, we made our way to Rotarua where we went to a volcano site. This was actually really cool. You see all these lakes and pools which are all crazy colours due to the lava and thermal. We didn't really understand why they were such bright colours but it was still a good afternoon. Now tonight, we will probably have a few drinks as we're in a hostel which takes campervans too so there's a few other young people about to mix with. We're staying in Rotarua tonight as we're going white water rafting here tomorrow which should be amazing.

It's a busy three weeks ahead for us in NZ and we want to make sure we enjoy it to the max! See you all in five weeks!!


8th October 2015

end of oz and NZ
I know I am kept up to date with everything along the way but it's still great to read it all on the blogs , it's like reading an adventure story!
8th October 2015

end of oz and NZ
I know I am kept up to date with everything along the way but it's still great to read it all on the blogs , it's like reading an adventure story!

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